"Together, all things are possible."

Cesar Chavez



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. However, we see funds provided by The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, as an unprecedented opportunity to stabilize the child care that is currently available in DC and make the investments 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 is 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.

Making funding for early childhood education a priority makes economic sense. 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.

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 & Spaulding

"I'm no longer accepting the things I cannot change...I'm changing the things I cannot accept."

Angela Davis

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There are nearly 50,000 children with cases open in the District’s child support system, more than the number of students enrolled in DC Public Schools. Yet only two in five of these children received any child support payments in 2011. DC Appleseed is advocating for the District to adopt policies to improve the likelihood that children will get the financial support they need and deserve. This includes better establishment and enforcement of child support orders and efforts to help parents find and keep jobs that pay a family-supporting wage.


Staff Contact: Neil Richardson

Pro Bono Partners: Crowell & Moring LLP and Kilpatrick Townsend LLP

"Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another."

Bishop Desmond Tutu



DC Appleseed continues to advocate for strategies that will reduce the District’s reliance on litigation to resolve special education disputes, in order to help special education students get the services they need and get them more quickly. Our most recent effort focuses on improving the likelihood of success for special education students who are transitioning into or out of non-public schools.


Staff Contact: Neil Richardson

Pro Bono Partners: DLA Piper; Gary Ratner, Citizens for Effective Schools, Inc.; King & Spalding LLP; Steptoe & Johnson LLP

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