State Lawmakers Focus on Early Learning Through Fellows Program
DENVER—Twenty-three state legislators and legislative staff from 14 states have been selected as Early Learning Fellows by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Now in its third year, the program exposes fellows to the latest research and state policy ideas during a yearlong series of webinars and meetings on how best to make sure young children get a positive start in life.
“I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with colleagues from around the country on an issue so important to our future,” said South Dakota Senator Deb Soholt (R), a 2013 fellow. “The rich information learned at last year’s meeting was immediately put to use in my state, and the contact with NCSL and other experts truly deepened my knowledge of early care issues.”
The fellows were nominated by state leadership and selected based on their interest and commitment to a wide range of education, health, human services, state budget and other issues as they relate to early learning. In addition to exploring new research and policy ideas, lawmakers and staff will learn and strategize about federal initiatives, including the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge and the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting grants. This year’s efforts will build on the accomplishments made during the last two years by giving fellows the latest informational tools on brain research, economic findings and evidence-based programs.
“The Fellows program is a great opportunity for NCSL’s members to learn from each other, as well as to take advantage of the wealth of research on early learning conducted in recent years,” said William Pound, executive director of NCSL.
The 2014 Early Learning Fellows program kicks off May 15 and 16 in Denver. The fellows will meet four times, culminating in a final gathering focusing on best practices and the latest science Aug. 18 and 19 during NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Minneapolis. Program expenses are covered by a grant from the Alliance for Early Success. For more information, please visit www.ncsl.org/fellows.
NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.