I believe that creating opportunity for children is one of local government’s most urgent responsibilities.
Not only to promote inclusion and equity, but because our world’s challenges are too complex to be solved without the contributions that every child could one day make, given the chance.
That is why I have worked so hard to support MCPS and Montgomery College, and also to expand our programs for low income children to gain access to high quality pre-k and afterschool programs. By providing a stronger start for kids we can help close the opportunity gap from the earliest age.
Two years ago I proposed and my colleagues at the Council agreed to support a significant expansion of pre-k by making many Head Start pre-k programs full day rather than 2.5 hours per day. Two years in, we are continuing to expand on that approach, as this year MCPS will launch new regional pre-k programs for students impacted by poverty as well as make more part-day pre-k classes full day, at high poverty schools in Germantown, Olney, Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, and Rockville.
To be eligible for Head Start, a family’s income level is at the federal poverty level — $16,400 per year for a family of 2 or $25,000 for a family of 4.
For these families — many of whom rely upon public transportation and may have less flexibility in their work schedules — having access to a full day pre-k program can make a huge difference.
After school programs are also an important part of the puzzle. Years ago many families might have been able to provide their own solutions but today we must ensure that affordable options are available for everyone. I have worked to expand our after school programs, starting with our lowest income schools.
My passion for these issues comes not only from my experience as a parent in Montgomery County today but also as a kid. Growing up in Oakland, CA, a community with high poverty, inspired me to dedicate my career to progressive change and helping all people achieve their potential.
Strengthening early education and after school programs is one important way to do that. I hope to continue this work in my next term on the Council — but I need your support to keep going.
I hope I have earned your vote in the June Democratic primary. Please consider sharing this message with friends who might be interested.