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AZ Candidates To Tour Program Focused On Early Childhood Education

PHOTO: Organizations such as the Child Crisis Center are calling on Arizona's political candidates to increase funding for programs that support early-childhood education and other services that benefit young kids. Photo courtesy of of the Pima County Public Library.
PHOTO: Organizations such as the Child Crisis Center are calling on Arizona's political candidates to increase funding for programs that support early-childhood education and other services that benefit young kids. Photo courtesy of of the Pima County Public Library.
October 20, 2014

MESA, Ariz. – Political candidates in Arizona are being asked to make early childhood education a top priority, and organizers hope that seeing programs that help children up close will help that process.

Christine Scarpati, CEO of the Child Crisis Center in Mesa, says candidates for governor, superintendent of public instruction and several legislative seats are expected to learn more about her organization's MyChild'sReady program during a tour today.

"Our social workers actually go into the home and provide mentoring, parenting skills, in such a nice supportive nonjudgmental way, to help parents understand things like how important it is to read to their babies, to interact with their babies," she explains.

Scarpati says the MyChild'sReady program helps children by providing early childhood education, which research shows can be critical for later academic success.

She says the hope is that by interacting with families who benefit from the program, the political candidates will see firsthand how critical it is to increase funding for programs that benefit children and families.

"Elected officials or folks who are hoping to be elected officials, understand the need for early intervention, for education, for early learning readiness,” she states. “Because prevention programs in our state were cut years ago and they have not come back to the degree they need to be."

Scarpati maintains more funding for early childhood education could help Arizona improve its ranking of 49th in the nation for the percentage of 3 and 4-year-olds participating in preschool. A report released last week shows the Grand Canyon State has cut funding for K-12 schools by 18 percent since 2008. Only Oklahoma and Alabama have made deeper cuts.


Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ