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Latoya Williams was concerned about her first paycheck after Hurricane Irma.

She couldn’t go to work for seven days because the early childcare center where she teaches was closed because of the storm and its after-effects.

“Whatever I make is what I make,” said Williams. “I have no supplemental income. It really would have been hard and tight."

Like most hourly employees, Williams doesn’t get paid if she doesn’t show up to work— even if the reason is an act of nature. The economic impact of Irma could have a devastating affect on individuals who work hourly jobs.

For years, President Obama has been a vocal booster of early childhood education. In his past two State of the Union addresses, he has called on Congress to help fund preschool for every child in the country.

"Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child's life is high-quality early education," Obama told Congress in January.

Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

Florida’s legislative session is months away, but educators and politicians are already talking about making early childhood education a priority.

 

“Early childhood is viewed as childcare, and not early childhood education, which it really is,” says Dr. Susan Neimand, director of the School of Education at Miami Dade College, which runs a nationally recognized early learning center called Education Station.

“We know that the brain starts developing from the time the child is in the womb—and the proper attention for that is not given,” says Neimand.