Senators Cano, Gallo host ninth annual
Rhode Island Education Summit
STATE HOUSE — Senator Sandra Cano, Chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, and Sen. Hanna M. Gallo, Senate President Pro Tempore, hosted the ninth annual Rhode Island Education Summit yesterday at the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center in Providence.
The theme for this year’s summit was “Early Childhood Education: Exploring what providers and families need to support our youngest learners.”
“It’s no secret that many families face tremendous difficulties in finding care for their young ones — and even greater difficulties in paying for it,” said Senator Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket). “It is imperative that we understand that quality child care is key to a thriving and robust economy. Not only do parents need safe, affordable, high-quality child care to keep our economy functioning, but businesses lose money when they can’t find staff or when their employees don’t show up to work.”
In recorded opening remarks, Sen. Gallo (D – Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) noted the importance of the summit’s focus on early learning. “For many years, I worked to make sure that all students – regardless of where they live – have access to the benefits of full-day kindergarten,” she said. “Pre-k programs are just as valuable. They provide more time for children to develop their cognitive, social, and emotional skills, which is why expanding their availability all over the state is critical.”
Sen. Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, also offered opening remarks. The keynote address was delivered by Marcia Cox Mitchell, senior director for early childhood of the Bainum Family Foundation.
In the first session, speakers Jamie Colvard, director of state policy for Zero to Three, and Veronica Manfredi, co-founder and director of Over the Rainbow Learning Center, led a discussion on early learning and childcare from birth to age three.
In the second session, speakers Lauren Hogan, managing director of policy and professional advancement for the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and Khadija Lewis Khan, executive director of Beautiful Beginnings Child Care Center.
The participants returned for a report on each of the group discussions before Senator Cano gave the closing remarks. The summit will be broadcast on Capitol Television, which can be seen on Cox Channels 15 and 61, on Full Channel on Channel 15 and on Channel 34 by Verizon subscribers. The meeting is also be available on demand at http://rilegislature.gov/CapTV/Pages/default.aspx.