A Wise Person Once Said…

speak outHere is a collection of some our favorite quotes, quips, comments, and op-eds on why increased focus on the early years is the answer to so many of the questions we struggle with as a society.

Play is the highest form of research.
– Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize winning physicist

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
– Fredrick Douglass, American social reformer, writer, and orator

Our children are waiting for someone,
A hero who’s ready to fight.
To end decades of injustice,
To know and to do what is right.
And what I am saying is shocking,
But what I am saying is true.
The hero children are waiting for,
That hero, it’s me and it’s you.
– excerpt of poem Waiting for Whom? by Geoffrey Canada, educator, founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone

Education is not a preparation for life. Education is life itself.
– John Dewey, American philosopher

The public school system is like a novel that begins in the middle. It brings kids in at the age of 5 or 6. But what happens in the earlier years of life helps determine how children engage in the school system…If we’re to do something serious and positive about helping the K-12 system reach its true potential, that something must involve paying attention to what happens before kindergarten.
– Craig Ramey, Professor of Health Studies, Georgetown University

Partnership Board Members Speak On Behalf of Early Learning

Crime Prevention Begins in the Cradle
by Chiquita Singletary
originally published in The State, December 11, 2011
Richland County tops the charts among S.C. counties in positive ways such as household income and adult education attainment. We can be proud of such facts.
But the county also tops the charts in dark and troubling areas. Read

Testimony given before a public hearing of the S.C. Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children | September 20, 2011
Several Partnership Board members and community partners spoke on behalf of Richland County First Steps and the efficacy of its programs. Transcripts of their comments below:

Allen Carter | Richland County DSS

Tameika Isaac Devine | Columbia City Council

Laura Hart | Partnership Board Member; Attorney

Kevin Swick | Early Childhood Education, University of South Carolina

Janet Tapp | Partnership Board Member; DHEC

Penny Tolson | Partnership Board Member; retired educator

Missy Wall-Mitchell | Partnership Board Member; School District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties

Billy Wiggins | Nurse Supervisor, Lexington/Richland Nurse Family Partnership Program

The Worst of Times, the Best of Times
originally published in Free Times, October 5, 2011
In recent weeks, we have seen and heard a plethora of information and analysis of the 2010 Census data. Much of it has focused on increased poverty in the United States…Read

Are We Just Kidding About Our Kids?
originally published in Free Times, September 7, 2011
“Who in South Carolina is for kids and who’s just kidding?” was the pointed and poignant question posed by Baron Holmes, the South Carolina state project director of Kids Count, upon the release of the SC Kids Count 2011 report. Read

When Will S.C. Get Mad Enough to Change?
originally published in Columbia Star, September 2, 2011
Each year about this time, following the release of the latest Kids Count report, the print and electronic media offer their annual reaction…frankly I’m sick and tired of this Groundhog Day ritual. It’s time to stop it. Read

Zais Will Have S.C. Trailing Mongolia
originally published in The State,June 6, 2011
Once again our elected leaders are declining to help our state, and in this case our children, because they don’t want to accept funding from the big, bad federal government (led by President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan). Shame on them. Read

Draw a Line in the Sand
originally published in The State, February 28, 2011
Seems like it always takes crises to bring about fundamental change, whether personal, business or public policy. South Carolina is not alone in the fiscal crises it faces; there is plenty of company. We must make some tough choices about the fundamental purposes of government. What we choose may be different than what other states choose. We have to do what’s best for South Carolina. Read

Ready to Learn?
originally published in The State, September 27, 2009
School’s back in session. In Richland County, that means close to 5,000 new students have entered the educational pipeline at kindergarten. Will they succeed? How many start out behind and never catch up? How many will drop out? Read

The Verdict Is In…Early Education Is Essential…and Has a Significant Payoff
originally published in The State, January 22, 2006
The verdict is in and the judge has spoken: “The child born to poverty whose cognitive abilities have been largely formed by the age of six, in a setting devoid of the printed word, the life blood of literacy and other stabilizing influences necessary for normal development, is already behind…” Read

Why We Must Stick with First Steps
originally published in The State, March 23, 2003
With the change in administrations, everyone is asking, “What’s going to happen with…?”Any answer given is usually just an opinion because no one really knows yet, including the new governor or even the state Budget and Control Board. Read

Comments made before the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children
September 20, 2011
I’m Rick Noble, CEO of Richland County First Steps. I’m here to tell you: it is the worst of times for young children, those most at risk of failing to succeed in school. The worst of times because we have never, in our history, had more children at risk. But it is also the best of times because we have never had such precise and specific knowledge regarding what it takes to successfully remove the many barriers to school success. Read

Other Voices From Around the State

Shore Up First Steps for the Good of the Children | The Island Packet (Hilton Head)

  About School Readiness

On Blueberries and Education