How did Portland win the Universal Pre-K? We started with the basics

Policymaking, like multi-colored, splatter-coated Jackson Pollock painting, is a confusing art. But when you get the balance right, it’s invaluable and worth a closer look.

About a year ago, something remarkable happened in a corner of my country – Multnomah County, Ore., Which includes the city of Portland. We Done Get the right balance. After nearly a decade of organizing, advocacy, planning and hand-wringing, we all passed preschool for the initiative. And just no activity काळजी carefully and thoughtfully designed to keep families with minimal support in front of the line and build childhood educators on par with their K-12 counterparts. We hope it will now serve as a potential model for free, universal preschool programming in the United States.

Our initiative, approved by voters in November 2020, addresses some of the most difficult parts of racial inequality and “trilama,” sometimes called achieving high standards for children, affordable housing for families, and affordable salaries for teachers.

We aligned quality standards with state elementary education systems, then proceeded by restricting suspension and expulsion in preschool (which affects black and brown children unequally) and providing behavioral development support to childcare providers and parents. We tried to protect the supply and cost of children from birth to 3 years of age by providing grants to child care providers who provide those slots. And we preferred family care (also called home-based) supplies that are unevenly low-income and non-white. (Many universal preschool programs in the US, despite their best intentions, leave out these critical factors and teachers, families, and young learners suffer.)

To say that we are proud of those strategic actions would be an understatement. But we didn’t get there because research showed the way or policymakers had insights. As a new report on our victory shows, our success can be attributed to something more basic and essential that many people miss.

Back to the basics

Researchers at the Portland-based research and strategy firm Dialogs in Action (DIA) interviewed 44 people involved in Multnoma’s preschool for all effort. His next report, “The path to success, ”Which was released in September, shares the key to victory; Lessons learned; And what happened when crisis, conflict, and epidemic all came together?

As an architect of the initiative myself-supporting tremendous grassroots, parent-led efforts-it’s interesting to take a far-sighted view of what’s happening in real-time to measure voters and win campaigns.

When I say that our effort focuses on the most basic and essential elements, I am talking about racial equality, community / parental voice, and our commitment to grassroots alliance building. But baking into these ingredients can be said to be easier said than done – or worse, planned and never preferred, if not completely ignored. Either way, research confirms that How Our focus made a real difference in strategy and victory.

For example, we asked from the very beginning आणि and indeed in our nine years of effort “” what is good for all our children, especially those who are now out of opportunity? ” This provided us with a clear shared value for aligning different life experiences, different perspectives and different perspectives on the table.

In the early days of the effort, it was a progress for the group to collectively review the group and show that children of that color, whose mother tongue was not English and / or children experiencing poverty should be our priority. These children had lower third-grade test scores and were more representative of our homeless and hungry population in other indicators of high need. This priority population, confirmed by our collective charter vote, set the course for a focused effort that would ultimately serve all children in our community, but first serve those with the least opportunity and the least assistance.

Laying the foundation

Our final victory was not an overnight success मी I personally worked with parents and community-based organization leaders for more than nine years before we won the initiative last November.

Initially, research on the benefits of universal elementary education and care was clear, but as different players we lacked a collective mission, focused strategy, and shared strength. One of our first charges was to come together and create a “big WE”, as I like to say, that brought us together under the same umbrella and worked for the common goals of our childhood. It was necessary to lay the foundation for our strong strategy and endurance to achieve a big victory.

Another fundamental element of our success is not only the power of money or position but also understanding and taking advantage of all the various resources at our fingertips.

I participated in this effort as a foundation / philanthropic leader Social enterprise partners, The financial resources and brain power provided by my organization have never been considered more important than the experiences and perspectives of others. Petra, the mother of Latina who participated in the task force as the chief representative Parent Accountability Council, Brought forward family experience; Andrea, Executive Director Family Forward Oregon Negotiation strategy brought victory and advocacy muscle experience; And countless others brought social networks, information, or political power.

By casting a broad network of who joined and how they joined, we were both able to develop strategies that would work for families that would one day, hopefully, enter the early childhood education system and win campaigns in such a way that community-wide victory, not just one policymaker’s. .

Continuous optimization

The long arc of our progress was not simple or linear. It was never a matter of a person’s work or a politician’s signature. There were moments when it felt like it could die because so many other communities are at the center of priority.

Until about a year before we sent our initiative to voters, two different universal preschool efforts were underway in Multnomah County, going on parallel tracks, but leading different groups with different origins and goals. This naturally created a conflict between us that threatened to destroy the chances of any group winning a universal preschool. The epidemic and community outcry for racial justice before the election may or may not derail our efforts, but instead it has become a reason to move forward. Researchers called it “Adaptations with the Way”. I have come to tell you that adaptation was the only consistency in our efforts, and I must underline and emphasize the importance of a diverse, dedicated player focused on strategy as well as professional, consistent accessibility to move the goal forward. Participating players.

Of course, our work is not done yet. Victory was sweet, but success will come only when our program is implemented with integrity and when we see clear evidence that it is truly meeting the needs of families and schools in our community. That work has already begun.

In the meantime, we hope that many more communities in Multnomah County will focus on what we have already achieved and develop our comprehensive policies for the benefit of children, families and teachers. However, the final victory will be yours Methods Imitation and improvement in the field of early childhood education or other policy – not only helps children, families and teachers, but they raise unheard voices, make everyone a partner of victory and otherwise build relationships between people with no purpose or promise to work together.

As fine art appreciates over time – like the Jackson Pollock Origins – those benefits continue to divide us as a community. I know they will be for other communities as well.

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