Mencare Too

Experiences of United States and Canada in recruiting men to work in Early years

Senator Jean Shaheen

In the past few weeks United States President Barack Obama has included a significant amount of money for Early Childhood Education in his Economic Stimulus Bill.

Head Start, a government sponsored early childhood program for infants to five year olds, will receive an additional $2.1 billion US Dollars to be used to create additional slots for children. Of that money, $1.1 billion will be used to expand existing services for infants and toddlers and is expected to create as many as 50,000 new jobs.

Here is our challenge: how can we ensure that a representative portion of those jobs go to men who want to be in the early childhood profession?

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Highlight Agenda on Early Education and Support for Unprecedented Investment in Early Learning.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius highlighted the Obama Administrations blueprint to improve and strengthen early learning programs, and announced their support for efforts in Congress to answer the Presidents challenge to invest 10 billion dollars in the Administrations early learning reforms. The proposed Early Learning Challenge Fund will advance a standards and outcomes-driven framework to improve the quality of early childhood programs across the country.

In March, as President Obama announced his agenda for improving educational outcomes from cradle through career, he challenged states to develop a cutting-edge plan to raise the quality of their early learning programs. Show us how you wll work to ensure that children are better prepared for success by the time they enter kindergarten. If you do, we will support you with an Early Learning Challenge Grant that I call on Congress to enact.

Legislation reflecting the Presidents plan was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this week by Congressman George Miller, the Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. The Senate is expected to consider its version of the bill following the August recess.

Reacting to todays announcement by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan, President Obama said. With this unprecedented investment and challenge, we will significantly raise the bar in our nations early learning programs. Thanks to the extraordinary leadership and collaboration between the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, we are taking exciting new steps to ensure the educational success of a new generation of Americas children.

During remarks to education and health care stakeholders, Secretary Duncan said, We need to challenge ourselves to do better for kids. We know that the years prior to kindergarten are critical in shaping how children learn and succeed in school. The Presidents Early Learning Challenge Fund will undoubtedly be a major step forward.

We know how important early childhood is to long-term health and successful development Secretary Sebelius said. The Early Learning Challenge Fund reinforces the Presidents commitment to improve the quality of early childhood programs across the country and ensure more children get the care and education they need. Giving our children a strong start in life is one of the best investments we can make in Americas future.

The Presidents Early Learning Challenge Fund would create a unique and unprecedented collaboration between the U.S. Department of Education and the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and would incorporate two key funding elements:

The proposed Fund will encourage states to set a high standard of quality across all of their early learning programs, ensure that a greater number of children participate in high-quality programs, and deliver the training and support needed to ensure that more children are prepared with the cognitive, social, and emotional skills necessary for kindergarten success.

Ron Blatz Canada

Club 2-10 is a national effort to help people understand the issues and invite them to do something about it. Canadian centers are challenged to commit to having a minimum of two male staff and work towards 10% by 2010. The program has been well received with over 50 centers signed up so far. If you would like more information about Club 2-10 contact Ron Blatz.