ABPPC... It takes a village to change the system
Any education system is complex--and early childhood education is no exception. Families see one thing, and classroom teachers see another. And a family with a typically-developing child has a different experience from a family of a child with autism. A local employer may think of preschool as the thing that allows their staff to come to work everyday without distraction, while a kindergarten teacher relies on preschool to build key pre-literacy skills. For a director, it is a small business as well as a place to nurture kids. And funders (federal, state, local, private…) may all have slightly different priorities, too. This is why ABPPC is essential: it takes ALL of us to even see the full system (much less to change it for the better)!
We are excited to launch this new website and blog, as Buncombe County leaders (along with state and national leaders) are pointing more attention and funding to early education--especially preschool. We want more ways for families, teachers, and community members to learn how early education systems and funding work, and for their voices and stories to be CENTRAL in decision-making that affects them.
The Background: In January of 2021, Buncombe County Commissioners announced a commitment to invest in preschool, and identified “kindergarten readiness” as the overall driver. From January to June, a sub-group of the county’s Early Childhood Education and Development Committee studied and narrowed that goal. They decided to focus efforts on building capacity to expand NC Pre-K, the state-funded, high-quality preschool program for 4-year-olds. But they also realized that NC Pre-K doesn’t meet all families’ needs. NC Pre-K is a “school-day, school-year” program, which makes it hard for parents who work full-time. Most sites don’t offer transportation, either. And even though research shows preschool can reduce “achievement gaps” between races and income levels, there is a lot of work to be done with our local Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) families to be sure preschool investments advance racial equity in our community.
The work: Buncombe Partnership for Children (the convener of ABPPC) is partnering with Buncombe County to develop recommendations for expanding NC Pre-K that work for families and preschool providers. ABPPC is essential to this work, since it broadens the conversation to many more community members, early childhood professionals, and families. ABPPC meets regularly as a full collaborative, and also has working groups that do research, brainstorm ideas, and design specific plans and project costs. There are many ways to get involved that fit different schedules and interests, so contact us to plug into this important work!
The blog: Through this blog, we will provide regular updates and share specific opportunities to get involved in this planning process and in the larger community discussion. Subscribe, and you’ll get one or two emails a month notifying you that a new post is up. And you'll be able to stay up-to date and get opportunities to be part of the conversation.