Act 166 Stakeholder Feedback Report Update

In January 2017, the Agency of Education (AOE) and the Agency of Human Services (AHS) tasked Building Bright Futures (BBF) to facilitate a statewide process to receive feedback on the proposed recommended changes to Act 166, Universal Pre-Kindergarten. In early March 2018, BBF presented a report of their findings to the legislature.

BBF Deputy Director, Carolyn Wesley, walked the SAC through the report, which included a summary of key themes, categories of broad alignment, and a section on nuances, diversity of opinion, and promising ideas.

Executive Director Sarah Squirrell shared that the gathering of this feedback was a great opportunity for BBF to exercise our duties and powers under Act 104 to convene early childhood stakeholders and advise the administration and legislature on early childhood policy issues. She stated that it felt like the right process for BBF to be taking at this time, and she shared that the House Human Services and House Education committees were told that any specific questions they may have can be directed to the State Advisory Council (SAC).

Reeva Murphy, Co-Chair of the SAC, who was present for the testimony, shared that there was pressure for BBF to present a recommendation based on the feedback from its state councils. She applauded Carolyn and Sarah for being an unbiased, listening ear, while ensuring that any recommendations would go need to go through the SAC.

David Young, South Burlington Superintendent and newly elected SAC Co-Chair, suggested setting aside time to have further discussion as a council on changes to Universal Pre-K and what, if any, action the council might want to take.

Rep. Mike Mrowicki said that of the things he took away from the report is wanting to know more and have things slow down in order to process how the system is currently working before making changes. “Before we take another big step, let’s first evaluate what we’ve done,” he stated.

David Young said that he would welcome the opportunity to spend more deliberate time in talking about, and helping advise, on this issue. Sarah said she would look into ways to carve out time in April for a remote discussion of Universal Pre-K.

Building Bright Futures is excited to see the State Advisory Council so eager to embrace its role as advisor to the administration and legislature on early childhood issues.

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