Looming federal budget cuts another reason to support early education bills
Pearl City, Hawai‘i -- More than a dozen state lawmakers signed up to participate in an event this week coordinated by the Good Beginnings Alliance to bring legislators into their district preschools.
“With the state Legislature considering several bills establishing a state-funded school readiness system for Hawai‘i 4-year-olds, we invited lawmakers to see firsthand how an early learning experience can make a difference in a child’s life,” Deborah Zysman, executive director of Good Beginnings Alliance, said at a news conference announcing the event in partnership with Read to Me International and the Rotary Club of Honolulu.
Final committee meetings are being held this week at the Legislature before the halfway point of session when bills cross over to the other chamber.
Currently, Senate Bills 1084 and 1093 are poised to pass out of the state Senate. Tomorrow, Senate Bill 1095 comes up for final decision-making before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
“We thank the Senate for its leadership in moving these important bills through the legislative process,” Zysman said. “We also thank House Education Committee Chairman Roy Takumi for his leadership in supporting our preschoolers and we are confident that the House will also support the bills that cross over from the Senate.”
Representative Takumi was one of several lawmakers reading to preschoolers across O‘ahu today. He visited Keiki Care Center of Hawai‘i in Pearl City and was greeted by school owner Cheryl Cudiamat.
The books, “Goodnight Moon” and “My Lucky Day,” were donated to the project by Read to Me International and the Rotary Club of Honolulu, respectively.
“We’d like to thank Read to Me International President Lynn Waihe‘e, Rotary Club of Honolulu President Nancy Pace and former Good Beginnings Alliance Executive Director Liz Chun for their continuing support of Hawai‘i’s children.”
Zysman points to an event like the looming federal budget cuts that are set to take effect on Friday and which will impact thousands of furloughed federal workers as another reason why Hawai‘i needs to join the other 39 states in providing state-funded preschool.
“We know that when families experience economic trauma, preschool becomes less affordable for them and, in many instances, parents agonize over whether to pay for household necessities such as rent and food or for preschool tuition,” Zysman said.
Zysman said Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s School Readiness proposal and President Barack Obama’s plans for federal investment in early education are vehicles through which our children could have a more secure early education experience.
“The bills at the Legislature are about making early education accessible for children and affordable for their parents,” Zysman said.
See the attached list of lawmakers participating in Read Aloud week. For more information on the status of the bills go to www.BeMyVoiceHawaii.org.
Good Beginnings Alliance is Hawai‘i’s leading independent voice advocating for the rights of the whole child: safety, health, and education. The grassroots, public will-building campaign, Be My Voice! Hawai‘i, is committed to ensuring every child has access to quality preschool so they can succeed in school and in life. www.bemyvoicehawaii.org