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Early Childhood Education

Advocacy for Birth-to-Three Legislation

One of the most effective strategies for achieving equality of educational opportunity is making sure that education for every child begins in early infancy. This strategy is the foundation for DC Appleseed’s advocacy for early childhood education.

In 2017, we advocated for the visionary legislation that requires the city to provide early childhood education for babies from 0-3. This law was modeled on the District’s successful universal pre-K for 3- and 4- year-old children.

Making sure the 0-3 law is adequately funded has been a challenge for Appleseed and the 45 other organizations we are working with in the Under3DC coalition ( In early 2021, we welcomed funds provided by The American Rescue Plan Act as an unprecedented opportunity to stabilize the child care that was currently available in DC and begin to make the investment we need to develop an early childhood education system that is strong, high-quality, affordable, and accessible.

One of our most urgent early childhood education needs has been better compensation for teachers, whether their jobs are in traditional public/charter or community-based programs, and whether they work with preschool and pre-k children or with infants and toddlers. Early childhood education teachers have a crucial impact on children during the years when their principal human development takes place. 

Importance of Compensation for Teachers

DC Appleseed was an enthusiastic participant in the campaign, during the spring and summer of 2021, to dramatically increase funding for early childhood education in the DC Budget. Because of our successful advocacy, compensation for thousands of early childhood workers is being increased, and more teachers are being hired. Early childhood education will become available to all infants and toddlers in DC, regardless of their parents’ income. Making early childhood education universal brings greater economic and racial equity to our city.

It makes economic sense for early childhood education to be a priority for DC. Our city’s early education and care community - which has long operated on razor-thin margins and inadequate pay - has been one of the sectors most heavily burdened by the pandemic. It is good for business when working parents can rely on quality early childhood education for their kids.

Successful Campaign for Increased Funding

Research on Enhanced Training for Teachers

DC Appleseed is also involved in research that is exploring the impact of enhanced training for early childhood education teachers. The purpose of this training is to make it possible for teachers of children under three to identify early signs of disability and to facilitate interventions that will make it easier for children to learn.


Staff Contact:

Neil Richardson

Pro Bono Partners:

King & Spalding LLP

Quality education for every child

should begin in infancy.

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