Wilson County Parents “Beyond Grateful” for Tennessee Pre-K

How does Pre-K impact the lives of the children and families that participate? A group of Wilson County parents recently wrote letters to Lebanon Special School District leaders with their enthusiastic description of how the experience has advanced their children’s development and prepared their children to succeed when they attend kindergarten.

“My kids attending her class drastically impacted every part of [our twins’] lives and it is even more evident now that they are in Kindergarten,” wrote one parent. “They are both in the top percentages in their class and in the advanced reading groups. We are beyond grateful that our children were able to attend Pre-K and the positive influence from Mrs. Mandy (Pittman) on their education is immeasurable.”

This Lebanon parent, in a note to the Castle Heights school, said that Pre-K helped children overcome the separation anxiety that can come from being a twin.

High quality early education has been repeatedly shown to help children, especially economically disadvantaged children, close skill gaps and become “kindergarten ready,” both academically and emotionally.

Kristen Griffin, whose daughter attends Coles Ferry, echoed this sentiment regarding her daughter, Raegan.

“Raegan would come home most days bragging with excitement about what new project they were working on, the new sounds and shapes she recognized and all the fun activities they had done to make learning fun,” Griffin wrote to Lebanon School District officials. “She went in a great kid but came out an even greater kid with more confidence than ever and a passion for learning in the classroom. Going into kindergarten this year, she is reading above average and is excelling in math. We couldn’t be happier with our pre-K experience.”

Dr. Penny Thompson is instructional coordinator and director of Pre-K for Lebanon Special School District. She’s thrilled with the accolades from parents as they affirm the district’s high quality early education program.

“This response speaks highly of our teachers and program,” Thompson said. “We have teachers working effectively with students and their families so that children are successful in their educational career. Our program supports teachers, students and families. That approach facilities the excellent education that these students are getting.”

A Vanderbilt study in 2015 confirmed what Tennessee Pre-K teachers had been seeing for years: children are better prepared for kindergarten by attending Pre-K, academically and emotionally.

“Before Pre-K, my daughter was not used to being around children her age,” wrote Alejandra Vega-Rojas. “Being in pre-K with children her age taught her how to express her feelings, sharing and caring for others. It taught her how to be more independent. Most importantly, it prepared her for Kindergarten. My daughter attending pre-K was such an important start for her education.”

Tennessee’s voluntary Pre-K program serves approximately 18,000 children — roughly 42 percent of disadvantaged four-year olds — a number which has remained stagnant since 2007-8, even as wait lists in some districts continue to grow. Parents understand the value. A TQEE poll in September found that 94 percent of parents think voluntary Pre-K should be made available to all four-year-olds.

Kelly Norton’s children have seen the benefits, too.

“I started working with him when he was three years old because it was recommended for him to attend a pre-K program. He was behind, developmentally, and his pediatrician thought pre-K would be the best course of action,” Norton wrote. “I could tell my son was making progress, but at some point, something just clicked with him. He started to communicate with everyone at home better. He would tell me what he wanted. He would tell me about his day. He would tell me about his classmates, he even went so far as asking to go to birthday parties and friends’ houses. I believe that my son being in the pre-K program has a lot to do with his progress.”

And now that her second is in the same program, she’s experiencing the same results.

“My daughter has been attending pre-K for three months now. Since she started, I have noticed her verbal skills getting better and her making friends. This was a big deal to me as she has always been very shy and timid,” Norton wrote. “I believe this program is a wonderful thing for young children. On an educational level, this is such a phenomenal program, as they do the testing to make sure kids are developmentally on track and then address any issues a student may have. This pre-K program is the best foundation for any child.”

Great Pre-k Teachers Turn Play Into Powerful Early Learning

About two minutes into a conversation with Lenoir City Schools teacher and Preschool Program Director Melody Hobbs, you start to realize how much she has invested in learning how preschoolers work.

“I love the four-year-old mind. I mean, it’s not three and it’s not five. Right?” Hobbs says with a laugh. “I mean, it’s just so … four. They’re naturally inquisitive, they’re curious and they want to learn more. It’s such an explosive time for child development. All those early years are, so I say that in the context of what is exploding when children are four, but they’re beginning to put ideas together in their play, in their writing. They are being able to think about things they’re reading about and living them out, and building relationships, problem solving. They have a wonder about the world around them.”

Hobbs has immersed herself in the four-year-old mind for almost a quarter of a century now. As part of a pioneering Lenoir City Schools program that began serving pre-K children in the early 1990s, she has seen first hand what works and what doesn’t. She knows that having the preschool program in the same building as the elementary helps kids transition into a school setting. She knows how it aligns the kids with the kindergarten program, even though it’s a different environment. And she knows that play can be a powerful gateway into learning.

“Of course, we all know that environmental print is everywhere around and kids are so susceptible to be able to quickly identify, ‘That’s McDonald’s and that’s Burger King and that’s a Wendy’s logo,’ right? I mean that’s all this kind of environmental print,” Hobbs says. “What we’re hoping to really establish with young children is that they have ideas that can be written down and that those ideas can be written down in a way that can be read by other people. Children need to practice scribbling or painting big strokes on an easel to get those muscles ready to write those letters or also to begin to make letter-like formations that are mock letters. That would be a next step. Then maybe scribble marks.

“I have one of these great artifacts that this child — and it’s like three scribble marks on a piece of paper, okay — he came to me and he was like, ‘Alright ma’am, I see you ordered a sausage and pepperoni pizza and you wanted it delivered to this house.’ In his play he was writing down an order and an address and then going back and reading it, right? So, all of those kinds of ideas. We know all of that needs to take place in order to establish a firm foundation for what we would consider conventional reading and writing.”

Through this play, he is building early literacy skills by representing letters, words and ideas in print. At this stage, it does not matter what the print looks like as much as the use of print in an appropriate activity. This is the first step to becoming a proficient writer.

Kindergarten teachers see the benefit. Whether it’s the social/emotional component or just kids being able to concentrate on what the teacher wants them to do, preschoolers are able to be more “settled in their surroundings,” Hobbs says.

When kindergarten teachers spend less time acclimating students to school, being in a group, and engaging in a classroom, they get to spend more time teaching valuable skills aligned to important learning standards.

“I think what we, as a whole preschool, really provide for kids is the curiosity and the wonder of learning, to be a learner and to wonder and to question and to think. We were hoping that preschool is providing kids with problem solving abilities, to think outside the box, to see from someone else’s lens. I mean, all of these are kind of soft-skill social-emotional skills that are so critical for 4-year-old children, but yet are really those learning dispositions that we hope children tend again to acquire.” We know that critical thinking and problem solving are essential skills not only for success in school but also in work and life. These carry children through on whatever path they choose.

And sometimes that means just expanding on the playground.

“Certainly environments do matter and teaching does matter, but back in the day we used to have this old saying called ‘follow the child’s lead.’ What that meant was, whatever the child was interested in I would follow it,” Hobbs says. “The kids came with their hands cupped, you know about 10 kids around that found this daddy-long-legs spider, ‘Look what we found!’ Well, we’re talking about environment. Okay, and we’re talking about how plants and trees and animals and insects and people and land forms all make up environment. ‘Look what we found in our environment,’ they were saying that. Oh this is lovely, now we’ve got some language that we’re using, right? A big word, environment. What is it? Why, it’s a spider! Yes, it is a spider. Let’s look at this spider. Let’s look at his body parts. Let’s look at how many legs he has, how many legs, what makes him a spider and how is a spider different then from other insects? So, that whole opportunity, in the moment, following children’s leads, that’s good teaching.”

Through this play, children are not only nurturing their inherent sense of curiosity – vital to all learning – they are mastering critical literacy and science standards. They are acquiring new vocabulary words and discovering the multiple phases of the biological life cycle. When children are able to develop these concepts through meaningful experiences they not only retain the knowledge longer, they are also able to apply it to multiple contexts and situations. That is how standards are mastered and extended!

When in doubt, follow the four-year-olds.

Thanks for showing us how, Melody!

Mike, Lisa and the TQEE team

Beyond ”Thank You”

We found this great article from PBS and thought you’d appreciate the useful tips and info – including how to make a gratitude jar!

According to the Harvard University Healthbeat, “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

For young children, gratitude looks like consistently saying “thank you” to others, making thank you cards, and identifying things that make them feel thankful, such as a favorite toy or a visit from grandma.

Here are three quick and easy ideas on how to teach your young child to be thankful, and pave the way for their healthy, happy future!

  • Model Gratitude
  • Make a “Gratitude Jar”
  • Share “3 good things” Each Day

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Lisa, Mike and the TQEE team

I did it!

Sometimes a picture says a lot.

Hunter is building a tower out of colored blocks with his mom and his friend Tevri at home. It’s a photo that was years in the making, in part because of his involvement in one of Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee’s most successful development programs.  The “I did it” badge he’s wearing reflects the confidence and accomplishment Hunter has experienced through his family’s participation in the program.

After she became pregnant, Hunter’s mother Tyne was referred by a friend to Healthy Families Tennessee, a home visiting program that provides weekly support for parents from pregnancy through when their child enters kindergarten. That’s how she met Tevri, a PCAT visitor.

“[Tevri] would just come once a week and she would go over where I should be at in my stage of pregnancy and just help me get ready for the baby,” Tyne says. “And then after Hunter was born, she would still come by on a weekly basis and teach me about his milestones.”

As Hunter got older, Tevri would mark his progress on everything from word acquisition to motor skills, often working with Hunter outside, drawing shapes with sidewalk chalk and mastering colors. The program provides what Tyne calls a “full spectrum,” helping her son master everything from letters and numbers, to recognizing emotions, to how to deal with them effectively.

Healthy Families is an evidence-based home visiting program (EBHV) that provides support during one of the most important periods in a child’s life, birth to age 5, when 80 percent of brain development occurs. Getting the right start is crucial, because healthy brain development is essential for later learning and health. Research on home visiting program shows it improves maternal, newborn and child health, reduces child maltreatment, improves parenting skills, improves school readiness.  And these programs are backed by compelling proof of a strong ROI: it gets returns of up to $5.70 in taxpayer savings for every $1 invested through reduction of costs for remedial education, child protection and criminal justice.

The program also gave Tyne and her spouse effective coping techniques, something she says she never learned growing up.

“We learned a lot of stuff as a family, but also my husband and I learned a lot as a couple,” she says. “The main focus was on being a healthy family as a whole, but it also helped me and my husband because, I’m sure you know, husbands and wives have stupid fights over stupid things.”

Hunter’s success in the program will lead to his graduation in December. Tyne says he’s currently on the letter “G” and in the advanced part of his daycare class, in part because of the leg up that Healthy Families Tennessee and Tevri gave him. As he approaches his fourth birthday, the Paw Patrol-obsessed Hunter even likes a little homework.

“It’s crazy, I know,” Tyne says. And then you begin to realize why he got the “I Did It” button in the photo.

The program has had such an impact that Tyne has even become an advocate for PCAT, speaking before the state legislature about her experiences.

“I actually highly suggest it to any of my friends that I know that are going to have a baby,” Tyne says. “I recommend it any time that I can because the benefits that we have received through Healthy Families have just been amazing, and I honestly, I don’t know where I would be at without the program.”

Today, Tennessee only supports programs like this in about half of our 95 counties.  We can do better!  Stay tuned for emails that let you know when and how to share your voice of support with our elected leaders!

By Mike, Lisa and the TQEE team

Congratulations Governor-elect Lee!

TQEE congratulates Bill Lee on his election victory and stands ready to work with the new governor and the Tennessee General Assembly to improve the state’s public education system.

“Throughout the campaign, Bill Lee expressed a commitment to prioritize education for the success of our citizens and communities, and we are excited to work with him to build a plan that starts with improved early learning outcomes,” said TQEE Executive Director Mike Carpenter. “With the majority of Tennessee’s students already behind in English and math by third grade, it’s clear we need to make some changes to what’s happening before then.”

“All Tennesseans want better education outcomes,” said Miles Burdine, president and chief executive officer of The Kingsport Chamber and TQEE board member. “They support a robust system of quality education for children from birth to third grade to build on reforms that are working, and to accelerate progress so that we can help all Tennessee kids get a smart start in life.”

Statewide support is mounting for stronger early education policy as a strategy for overall system improvement and student outcomes. Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) recently called for the formation of an early education caucus comprised of legislative house and senate members.  Last month, 27 West Tennessee county and municipal mayors announced formation of an early education coalition as a priority to improve education outcomes and workforce development.

TQEE, Tennessee’s leading early childhood education policy and advocacy organization, urges Gov.-elect Lee to adopt a more concentrated, comprehensive early education policy agenda that incorporates these priorities:

  • Engaged and empowered parents. We advocate for policies that engage and empower parents through evidence-based home visiting programs, parent-teacher partnerships in child care and elementary schools, and school-community partnerships that expand families’ access to local resources.
  • High-quality, affordable child care. High quality, affordable child care is critical to support the 300,000-plus Tennessee children under age 6 with working parents. Child care directly impacts current and future workforce development, as well as family economic stability. We back policies that set high standards for teaching, learning and outcomes, recruit and retain high-quality teachers, and anchor state reimbursement rates to actual cost of quality.
  • Excellent early grades teaching. To boost student outcomes in third grade and beyond, instruction from pre-K to third grade must be better aligned with best practices and how young children learn. We support improved instructional materials, investments in training for early grades teachers and principals, and expanded pre-k where quality is demonstrated in existing classrooms.
  • Stronger accountability and continuous improvement in early ed. Tennessee has limited statewide data on early learning from birth to second grade. To maximize investments in public education, Tennessee should commit to a birth-5 early learning data system, developmentally appropriate methods to measure and improve instructional effectiveness in pre-K to second grade, and better support for early grades teachers to use student data to improve learning outcomes.

Some of these policies are being applied in various Tennessee communities with increasingly positive results and should be expanded statewide in future years as part of a fundamental effort to improve overall student proficiency.

A recent statewide survey conducted by TQEE reveals that Tennesseans overwhelmingly support a new priority for early education. Key findings from the Sept. 12-16 survey include:

  • 92 percent of Tennesseans say that a quality educational experience from birth to third grade provides individuals with the necessary building blocks for all learning;
  • 94 percent want Tennessee’s Voluntary Pre-K program expanded as an option for all 4-year-olds; and
  • 93 percent support increased state funding in programs that could ensure all Tennessee children are proficient in math and reading by third grade.
  • 90 percent believe child care has a major impact on children’s kindergarten readiness, and policies to improve child care in the state has wide, bi-partisan support.
  • Nearly 70 percent say they would have a more favorable opinion of policymakers who support programs and policies to improve early education.

In recent weeks, leading state legislators have begun advocating for the formation of an early childhood education caucus to spur urgent action and advance evidence-based, high quality policies to strengthen early education programming.

27 Tennessee Mayors…and Growing…Join Early Childhood Coalition

Expressing concern that a majority of Tennessee third-graders are not proficient in reading and math, mayors from across rural West Tennessee have formed a coalition to support the advancement of early education.

“It is a fact of life that to attract good paying jobs to our area, we must have a skilled workforce. What many people don’t think about is that building those workforce skills starts with development early in life — through learning to read, solving math problems and learning how to get along with others.” — Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris

The Jackson Sun last week featured a story on 27 rural West Tennessee mayors who have joined the Mayors’ Early Education Coalition supported by TQEE.   Here’s a link to the article.  https://www.jacksonsun.com/story/news/local/2018/10/30/west-tennessee-mayors-join-early-childhood-education-coalition

The coalition calls for state policies that support initiatives like the Read to be Ready early literacy programs, more training and coaching for early grades (pre-k through 3rd grade) teachers, and improving quality and expanding Tennessee’s pre-k program.

West Tennessee area mayors presently part of the organization include:

  • Barry Hutcherson, Chester County
  • Benny McGuire, Obion County
  • Bill Rawls, Brownsville
  • Brent Greer, Henry County
  • Brett Lashlee, Benton County
  • Chris Young, Dyer County
  • Dale Kelley, City of Huntingdon
  • David Livingston, Haywood County
  • Eddie Bray, Henderson County
  • Jake Bynum, Weakley County
  • Jeff Griggs, City of Lexington
  • Jill Holland, City of McKenzie
  • Jimmy Harris, Madison County
  • Jimmy Sain, Hardeman County
  • John Carroll, Perry County
  • Jon Pavletic, City of Ripley
  • Joseph Butler, Carroll County
  • Julian McTizic, City of Bolivar
  • Kevin Davis, Hardin County
  • Larry Smith, McNairy County
  • Mike Creasy, Decatur County
  • Robert King, City of Henderson
  • Roger Pafford, City of Camden
  • Skip Taylor, Fayette County
  • Tim David Boaz, City of Parsons
  • Tom Witherspoon, Gibson County
  • Wes Ward, City of Linden

Thanks to all of you for supporting Tennessee’s youngest learners!

With gratitute,

Mike, Lisa and the TQEE team

24-7-365 Childcare Supports Families in 21st Century Work World

How do you support a child? The answer is a little different now than in 1872, the year a group of women from Chattanooga churches opened a food and clothing pantry for orphaned girls.

The Chambliss Center has seen its mission change from pantry to orphanage to shelter to group home and finally, today, to a unique round-the-clock childcare center. But at the heart of every change was that they could meet the needs of children and parents.

“We really cater to those families who need maybe nontraditional hours also to those families who couldn’t afford to pay a traditional market rate kind of childcare,” says Katie Harbison, vice president of the Chambliss Center for Children. “All of our fees are based on the family’s ability to pay. So, it’s not just for the parent, of course, it’s also for the child to make sure they’re getting the highest quality early childhood education possible.”

In 1969, the year the then-Children’s Home began offering 24-hour-a-day childcare, late-night might have meant a parent working a second shift manufacturing job. But today, Harbison says that it could mean any number of things, from odd hours to a job that stretches into the evenings.

“We have a lot of parents that just need, later into the evening. If you think about working retail — the mall closes at nine and so they’re able to pick up somebody by 10 o’clock,” Harbison says. “Or, waiting tables, you work the dinner shift and you might be open until midnight, or one, or two in the morning. So, you really limit your income options when you limit which jobs you can take, which is limited by what childcare hours you can get.”

Expanding options for parents means the potential for a better quality of life for the family. It might allow a parent who works a traditional nine-to-five job to then pick up some additional work after the first job ends. It could also mean taking a second shift job that pays more.

“Those kinds of things, when you allow parents to have those additional opportunities, you can potentially change their financial situation and the future of that family,” she says.

And at Chambliss, the kids can receive the same kind of care and programming at odd hours that a parent might expect from a traditional daycare situation — circle time, nap times, meal times and outdoor times. Each year, their licensed, highly rated program (Three Star, the highest given by the state) graduates almost 70 children to public kindergarten classes. In addition to educational supports, Chambliss also helps identify any developmental delays a child might have and nursing students provide health screenings.

Early intervention, Harbison says, is crucially important.

“It’s the difference in night and day,” she says. “If you can catch a delay in a child that’s eight months old instead eight years old you have changed that child’s school career, and potential work career, and the rest of their life. A lot of delay, the earlier you catch them, the quicker they can be dealt with and these kids can potential go into kindergarten without any sort of delay. I’m sure you all know the statistic that 80% of brain development happens by the age of three. And so, not only is that important to educate a child before three but it’s also important to find that delay before three so you can quickly fix it, and then the brain can develop normally for the rest of the child’s life.”

And while the center also provides some social services for parents, it’s the educational part that Harbison believes is key to these children’s lives.

“These are parents who have a lot going on and so time is not something that is plentiful,” she says. “So, we wanna make sure that the children coming from these homes are getting the highest quality early childhood education possible because we know that that education is what’s going to help them be on track for kindergarten, which is what is gonna potentially change their future and could take that family out of the cycle of poverty.”

Starting at Home: Improving Early Learning Via Home Visits

Jennifer Pignolet of the Memphis Commercial Appeal wrote a terrific article last week describing Porter Leath’s home visiting program and its impact. Read her article HERE.

We’ve also written a blog post about a family served through Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee’s early home visiting program, which you can read HERE.

Home visiting professionals visit families in their homes to coach parents on how to support their child’s healthy development as well as offer connections to additional community resources and services to meet their child’s health, developmental and learning needs.

This evidence-based solution has repeatedly proven to strengthen bonding between mothers and infants, improve parenting skills, reduce abuse and neglect, improve health of parents and babies, and ready children for their school years. There is also considerable evidence that home visiting generates strong ROI: investments in home visiting programs reduce negative societal impacts immediately and in the long run, in turn saving taxpayers substantial money by providing a return of up to $5.70 for every $1 invested.

Under the Haslam Administration, Tennessee has been supportive of home visiting administered through the Department of Health and supported by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. This year, Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) and Senators Becky Massey (R-Knoxville) and Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) led legislative approval for an additional $1.4 million in recurring funding to boost the annual home visiting budget to $3.4 million.

The preservation and expansion of these vital programs is essential for Tennessee’s most vulnerable children and families, but there are still far too many families with no access to help. At the current level of funding, Tennessee is able to provide home visiting services to only 1.7% of the children who would qualify for services. And of the 95 counties in Tennessee, 45 counties have no home visiting services at all.

Adding to the urgent need for expanded home visiting is the efficacy of home visiting services to combat the negative consequences of the opioid epidemic. Arguably, no state is affected by the opioid scourge more than Tennessee where last year nearly 1,000 babies were born addicted to the drugs and where there are more opioid prescriptions in our state than there are Tennesseans. The opioid crisis affects every Tennessee community, causing damage to families and posing dangerous risk to the healthy development of young people. Expanded home visiting can be a potent complement to Governor Haslam’s Tennessee Together plan to fight opioids because it can mitigate ACEs stemming from the trauma of substance abuse and strengthen bonds between parents and their children.

As we highlighted in newspapers across Tennessee this past April, investing in home visiting is smart policy for Tennessee. TQEE and our coalition members are engaging General Assembly leadership and will work with Governor Haslam’s successor to advocate support for high quality early childhood programs, including evidenced-based home visiting, as a priority.

Mike, Lisa and the TQEE Team

Nashville-Area Foundation Leader Joins the Call for New Focus on Early Education

Tara Scarlett, President and CEO of the Scarlett Family Foundation, this week joined a large and growing number of Tennessee leaders calling for greater focus on improving early education, birth through 3rd grade .  In a guest column in the Tennessean, as well as in the Williamson Herald, Scarlett noted, “Low proficiency in third grade is a clear indication that the quality of children’s learning prior to third grade requires significant improvements.”

“Learning begins at birth. The brain develops more in the first 5 years than at any other time during a person’s life,” she noted.

Scarlett joins other business, civic and elected leaders from across Tennessee who have recently called for making early education a priority for the state.  In the past 30 days or so we’ve seen calls to action from:

As a member of the TQEE board of directors, Scarlett called attention to our policy priorities:

  • Engaged and empowered parents. Parents are children’s first and most influential teachers. We advocate for policies that engage and empower parents through evidence-based home visiting programs, parent-teacher partnerships in child care and elementary schools, and school-community partnerships that expand families’ access to local resources.
  • High quality, affordable child care. High quality, affordable child care is critical to support the 300,000-plus young children in Tennessee with working parents. Child care directly impacts current and future workforce development, as well as family economic stability. We back policies that set high standards for teaching, learning and outcomes, recruit and retain high-quality teachers, and anchor state reimbursement rates to actual cost of quality.
  • Excellent early grades teaching. To boost student outcomes in third grade and beyond, instruction from pre-K to third grade must be better aligned with best practices and how young children learn. We support improved instructional materials, investments in training for early grades teachers and principals, and accountability for results.
  • Stronger accountability and continuous improvement in early ed. Tennessee has limited statewide data on early learning from birth to second grade.  To maximize investments in public education, Tennessee should commit to a birth-5 early learning data system, developmentally appropriate methods to measure and improve instructional effectiveness in pre-K to second grade, and better support for early grades teachers to use student data to improve learning outcomes.

Thanks Tara!

By Mike, Lisa and the TQEE team

Pop Quiz for Gubernatorial Candidates

The candidates for governor debated this past Tuesday in Kingsport, and the Tri-Cities community sent a message they want Early Education at the top of the agenda.

The Kingsport Times News ran a front page article on the day of the debate citing local leaders urging the candidates to make early education a priority.

Beth Rhinehart, CEO of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce said, “Recruiting new businesses to our region depends on a skilled workforce. Development of essential workforce skills begins in the earliest years of a child’s life when the brain is developing the most.”

Likewise, Dr. Amy Doran, Early Childhood Coordinator of Kingsport City Schools noted, “It was heartening to hear in the first debate that both Mr. Lee and Mr. Dean acknowledge early education as the foundation. My work with high-quality teachers and programs in Kingsport City Schools has shown we need more, not less early education.  I am looking forward to hearing more about their plans for our community’s young children.”

“Communities in the Tri-Cities area – like all Tennesseans – want better education outcomes,” said Miles Burdine, president and CEO of The Kingsport Chamber . “They support a robust system of quality education for children from birth to third grade to build on reforms that are working and to accelerate progress so that we can help all Tennessee kids get a smart start in life.”

Thanks you to Beth, Amy, Miles and the Kingsport Times News for helping amplify local perspectives on the importance of prioritizing high quality early education in Tennessee.

 

#supportearlyed

 

by Mike, Lisa and the TQEE team

 

 

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