In case you have wondered where PNR disappeared to, it has taken an indefinite hiatus. Since 2007 and after roughly 200 weekly issues, Her Wonderful Loveliness (HWL) felt the need for a break. Though it may not be readily apparent to the Gentle Reader, PNR actually was a delightful, yet very labor intensive undertaking. Pooped and concerned about quality control, I suspended publication prior to the holidays and tilted my cupped ear to the wind, expecting to hear protesters in the streets demanding their PNR. None came and I interpreted the quiet to mean lack of interest, and that’s okay, too. To every thing, there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.
So, with this issue, staff is jumpstarting a new means of regular communication to keep members looped together with information and some attitude all rolled into a quarterly newsletter. Here, then, is the latest list of stuff you should know.
- The Roundtable was honored in March with the 2011 Community Service Award presented by The Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children (http://vaeyc.org) in recognition of our “significant contribution to young children and the issues which affect them.” Chair Steve Voigt, President and CEO, King Arthur Flour, accepted the award on behalf of the entire membership and reaffirmed our collective belief that even in difficult economic times it is vital for the state, like individual businesses, to invest in human capital. The award was presented during the March 16th Early Childhood Day in Montpelier.
- Earlier that same day members of the Roundtable’s Health Care Task Force, chaired by Steve Voigt, met privately with Governor Shumlin and Anya Rader Wallack, point person for health care reform efforts. During the meeting members shared concerns relative to reform costs, value, and risk assessment. Because the proposals are fairly simplistic yet implementation is complex, the degree of anxiety from members ranges from moderate to extreme. The Roundtable will continue a series of meetings with Rader Wallack to develop a commonly accepted fact set that could be a helpful communication tool for members and the public as the state goes forward. The reform train has indeed left the station, and the role the Roundtable can best play is to examine our current state versus future trends, and evaluate possible impacts. If members are interested in being involved with this diverse Task Force, please email [email protected].
- That same week the State Board of Education heard a presentation by Lisa Ventriss and Mary Barrosse Schwartz (PreK Vermont) about the Roundtable’s current legislative efforts that focus on increasing access (S.53) to and quality of early child care and education programs. Relying on the latest research citing brain development and the lasting long and short-term effects of high-quality preK programs on both at-risk and middle class children, the team sought to secure a more proactive level of engagement on the issue by the Board. Included in Goal #4 of the Board’s current strategic plan is a strategy that states that it will “support early childhood education efforts”, however, to date the Board has not publicly engaged on the issues.
- Well, it finally happened…we threw a party and nobody showed up. That’s exactly what happened when the Roundtable hosted a Legislative Reception on March 17th in Montpelier. Not only was there an extremely poor showing by members (thank you to those who did attend), but the entire 150-member House chamber was kept ‘on the floor’ by the Speaker to debate the jobs bill and, so, the only legislators who attended were from the Senate. Good thing, too; we needed a few more votes on our bill so that it could be categorized as a landslide. Fortunately, the uneaten food was able to go to the local food shelf.
- April 13th (Wednesday, 11:30am – 5:00pm) – 6th Annual Invention to Venture (I2V) Conference at the University of Vermont. Click Here for more details and to register.