Since the establishment of the Department of Early Learning back in 2006, we’ve seen a lot of growth in awareness about early brain development and the importance of getting it right in the early years. The recent passage of the Fair Start for Kids Act is a historic investment in both early learning and child care, and it’s a great example of how our understanding about the importance of early childhood has advanced over the past few decades.
First Lady Susan Hutchinson and I have a strong commitment to protecting children, strengthening families and improving outcomes. We share the belief that every child in Arkansas deserves a safe and stable nurturing family every day.
Literacy is a top priority because we know that so much of our success in K-12 hinges on building better readers. In the past, we’ve had an environment of “too little, too late” when it comes to helping kids before they pass the third grade, which is recognized as a milestone for reading development.
Child care workers and teachers are critical workers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, families have faced many challenges – including child care access. We know that if we wanted to keep essential workers, teachers, law enforcement and many other essential employees and their services functioning, we needed to ensure access to child care.
We have many schools in our state that are doing incredible work, from Frederick Douglass Elementary in Seaford to Etta Wilson Elementary in Newark. Our focus is to ensure every single child is successful. This is the most important work we do as a state, and I will do everything in my power to continue to support children, educators and families.