BALTIMORE – Gov. Martin O’Malley said Wednesday he would “like to convene all of the various networks of early childhood education and early childcare” in what would be called the Forward Ahead Summit on Early Care and Education.
O’Malley made the announcement for the summit, planned for next year, during a meeting on early childhood education and care issues hosted by Maryland Family Network, along with other organizations.
“I think this summit will give us an opportunity, the people willing, to lay out an agenda for the next four years so that we can continue to improve outcomes for children and make sure that more and more of our children are ready to learn at 5,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley, who is running for re-election against Republican former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, also mentioned measures taken during his first term to address early childhood education and other related issues. He cited increased investments in childcare subsidies and a 20 percent increase from five years ago in children who were assessed as “fully ready to learn” when they started kindergarten.
The summit could help address the concerns voiced by some who attended the meeting.
Janis Dorr, vice president of the Central Maryland Association for the Education of Young Children, and a Baltimore pre-kindergarten teacher, appealed to O’Malley to be “a hero” and address ongoing obstacles in early education.
In her experience in public pre-kindergarten, Dorr has seen class sizes increase and said the curriculum focuses too much on strict academics and not enough on social and emotional development.
“I hear all this talk about improvements … and yet somehow it doesn’t reach Pre-K in Baltimore City,” Dorr said.
– By Capital News Service’s Lindsay Powers