Our priorities: As simple as ABC—but not as easy

It’s simple, really.

We aim to ensure all of D.C.’s youngest citizens are provided the opportunities they need to be prepared for school and the workforce.

It’s simple, but not easy. How do we imagine we will get there? Well, think of it as working on our ABCs.

A) Birth to Eight

We’ll promote quality programs for every child from birth to eight years old. To date, the District has focused on K-12 reform, PreK (ages 3 and 4) reform, and is now moving towards comprehensive birth to three programs.

All of these efforts are focused on equipping the child with the skills to achieve the desired outcomes needed to be successful during his or her next educational experience.

But, what would happen if we instead envision that the education of a child in the District would start at birth and continue through at least age eight (though ideally, it would continue through college entry).

With a focus on a child until s/he reaches age eight, we can help ensure learning experiences that promote and ensure the continuum of a seamless education, where a child in the District can transition from a child care center to a quality PreK program to kindergarten. These smooth transitions, and ensuring that every child is prepared at these early stages—and through age eight, or approximately third grade—is a proven strategy to bolstering the odds of success later on, even in college.

B) Quality

We will work to help ensure that young children have access to the quality services they deserve.

Whether a child lives in ward 1, 5, 7 or 8, every child and their family in the District should have access to the highest quality early education opportunities.

DC Action for Children will articulate and support quality programs—as defined by sound research and best practices—and advocate for the resources that these programs need to function at the highest level.

To this end, we will work in partnership with key decision makers to plan and inform the delivery of quality services.

C) Advocacy

It’s an election year. When I think about all of the District’s citizens engaged in voting as a way to have their voice heard, I am reminded that two-year olds can’t vote. Who votes for the needs of a child who is two or in the second grade? Do parents ask them which candidate they would support? Do their teachers?

Who is elevating their voice? Who is taking into account the voice of D.C.’s youngest citizens? DC Action for Children is.

And we hope you’ll join us.

The reasons that we should do this may be clear, even simple, but making it happen will not be easy.

We imagine a city in which all children can flourish, grow and learn to be all they can be! We look forward to working with you to make this happen.

To help make our vision a reality, join us! As a first step, sign up for our e-newsletter. HyeSook Chung is DC Action for Children’s Executive Director.