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Kavanaugh now expected to meet his accuser at an open hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. Also on the Tuesday rundown: An Albany rally calls for a million solar households; and #GetCaughtReading – a weeklong campaign for readers of all ages.

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For the Children: Dancing Babies & Play Dates with First Daughters

PHOTO: New Yorkers will join in a national campaign today, with a “virtual day of action” on behalf of federal support for early childhood education. Blogging, tweeting and posting will be done on behalf of those too young to engage in social media. Courtesy Zero to Three.
PHOTO: New Yorkers will join in a national campaign today, with a “virtual day of action” on behalf of federal support for early childhood education. Blogging, tweeting and posting will be done on behalf of those too young to engage in social media. Courtesy Zero to Three.
June 5, 2013

NEW YORK - This month is the culmination of a drive to let the Obama administration and Congress know there's widespread support for the president's plan to spend some $75 billion enhancing the future for America's tiniest citizens.

In New York and around the nation, the message is to support funding for early childhood care and education.

Already, the National Women's Law Center has seen that 30,000 letters were sent to the White House. The group's director of child care and early development, Helen Blank, said many were from children.

"We had someone who asked for a play date with Sasha and Malia," Blank said. "We got someone who wanted to play basketball with the president. Just an extraordinary outpouring of support."

In addition to President Obama's push for pre-kindergarten for all, his initiative includes investments in services for families of infants and toddlers. Betty Holcomb, co-chair of Winning Beginning NY, said about 100 groups around the state have signed a letter in support.

"Civic groups, business groups, United Ways, an Urban League. We even got an auxiliary of an America Legion post upstate," she said. "Just broad, broad support."

Holcomb said countless studies have shown that investing in early care and education saves communities, states and the U.S. economy in the long run.

"Everyone is speaking up about how this would help and support healthy development and education for the children in their community," she said, "and there is just enormous, enormous unmet need for these services."

The national organization Zero to Three is planning what it calls a "Virtual Baby Rally," a Google Hangout-type event broadcast on YouTube, bringing together people to speak for the youngest Americans. The group's director of government relations, Pat Cole, was asked if those once-popular Internet "dancing babies" will be involved.

"Well, I had thought about the E-Trade babies," she said, "but I hadn't thought about the dancing baby. But yes, we would like to have people visualizing whole crowds of babies jumping up and down because someone is focusing on their needs."

In the Empire State, Winning Beginning NY says 10 events are planned to show that there is widespread backing for investing in getting America's toddlers off to a good start in life.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY