Reimagining Early Edge California 

Dear Colleagues,

Thanks to your hard work, Governor Brown and legislative leaders heard our message loud and clear this budget season: California’s young children need and deserve high-quality early learning opportunities. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s new Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Care and Education sets the stage for moving towards a system in which our children from birth to age 5 have the early experiences they need to be successful in school and in life. We look forward to working with the Assembly, the Senate, Governor Brown, and new leadership at the federal, state, and local levels to realize this vision. 

As we celebrate these positive steps forward, I also have news to share about Early Edge California. In the coming weeks, Early Edge will embark upon a process to reimagine the way the organization engages in early learning advocacy. California has a moment of opportunity now to create an early learning system that narrows the achievement gap and improves outcomes for young children. We know this promise can only be realized if programs are of high quality.

And at the heart of quality are interactions between babies, toddlers, and preschoolers and the adults who teach and care for them. To ensure our youngest learners reach their full potential, we must advance policies and investments that are informed by on-the-ground practice and research on what works, and develop innovative, new approaches. We must accelerate efforts to support early educators’ preparation, training, and ongoing professional learning so they have the knowledge and skills they need to advance our children’s learning and development. California leads the nation with its richly diverse communities, including the largest population of dual language learners. In addition to this asset, we also face the challenge of the highest child poverty rate in the country. Both of these mean there is an urgent need for change.  

Early Edge has been privileged to work with many of you already on this front. We’ve partnered with research and policy institutes, practitioners, and implementers in early childhood, TK-12, and higher education to inform the conversation on what it takes to improve quality in California’s early learning system. We’ve initiated a new Superintendents Advisory Council on Early Learning to inform, test, and develop recommendations to strengthen our early learning system and understand implications at the local and regional levels. We’ve led policy and advocacy to strengthen our early educator workforce, and look forward to leveraging new momentum from recommendations of the “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8” California implementation group and the Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s Child Development Permit Advisory Panel. And we continue to defend TK and support its implementation, most recently through a new partnership with the New Teacher Center on our annual TK conference, which drew more than 350 participants.

We look forward to our continued partnership with our core funders, thought partners, and all of you as we engage in this next effort to achieve quality through more focused work on advancing great teaching and learning in the early years. We will continue to keep you updated in the coming weeks and months.

I will lead Early Edge through the strategic planning process and will then transition out of my role as President to spend more time with my family when a new leader is in place. I remain committed to advancing early learning opportunities and am excited about Early Edge’s new direction.

I am proud of the role that Early Edge has played in the past decade, working with all of you to advance a quality agenda expanding opportunities for our youngest learners. Thank you again for all that you do for California’s children, and I look forward to our continued work together. 


Deborah Kong Signature

Deborah Kong Photo

Starting the Path to School Success
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