Impact of Early Learning

Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. on Ch. 5.1


This month, PUBLIC SQUARE continues the discussion on how to improve child well-being in New Mexico, with a look at the impact of early learning, on Thursday, November 20 at 7:00 pm on Channel 5.1, hosted by Megan Kamerick. Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE is provided in part by a new, 2-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Numerous studies indicate that there are many long-term effects on children who attend quality preschool or pre-kindergarten programs (Pre-K). Those include gains in achievement and social emotional development, less grade repetition and special education, and increased high school graduation rates.

New Mexico was ranked 25th in access to pre-kindergarten programs by the National Institute for Early Education Research. Nationwide, New Mexico has been one of the most aggressive states in boosting funding for early childhood programs.

However, advocates say there are still big gaps, with a little over half of eligible children not in Pre-K or preschool programs. Will they fall behind and stay behind?

In this program, PUBLIC SQUARE brings together parents, teachers, advocates and people who run early learning programs. Community and state leaders include Pat Dee with U.S. Bank, who is convening business leaders on this topic, as well as State Senators Linda Lopez and Craig Brandt, and Jami Jacobson, executive director of curriculum and instruction, Albuquerque Public Schools.

Quotes From PUBLIC SQUARE Participants:

“The needs are so great, the poverty is so high we are in a dire situation. If we’re talking about protecting the future, the future is going down the tubes.”
Veronica Garcia, executive director, New Mexico Voices for Children

“Brain development starts in the womb and we need to have students — who are coming into school so that we can help them be successful — who have healthy brains.”
Jami Jacobson, executive director of curriculum & instruction, Albuquerque Public Schools

“I think people don’t understand the connection between economic development and early childhood learning. It’s probably the wisest money we can spend early on in a child’s life.”
Pat Dee, community relations executive, U.S. Bank

“There’s consensus that we do need and should be focusing on early childhood. But the devil is in the details.”
Linda Lopez, State Senator

“Our community, and our state, is not organized from a child- and family-centered perspective.”
Lois Vermilya, director, University of New Mexico Family Development Program

Community Participants

Marisol Atkins
VP Operations and Program Development – United Way of Santa Fe County
Former CYFD Deputy Secretary

Annittra Atler
Adobe Acres Elementary School Principal, Early Childhood Educator

Dr. Veronica C. Garcia, Ed.D.
Executive Director, New Mexico Voices for Children
Former Cabinet Secretary of Education

Betty Lansdowne
Consultant, Center for Development and Disability, Preschool Special Education, Christina Kent EC Center Board Member
Preschool Special Education Consultant to School Districts in New Mexico

Joy Losey
Director, Covenant School of Rio Rancho President of New Mexico Child Care & Education Association

Karina Munoz-Ramos
Mother of two

Raquel Roybal
People for the Kids Board Member
Mother of 4

Dona Sosa
Pre-K Teacher at Bel-Air Elementary School
Taught kindergarten for 10 years

Lois Vermilya
Director, UNM Family Development Program
Co-Chair ECAP (Early Childhood Accountability Partnership)


Senator Craig Brandt
Rio Rancho School Board (4 yrs)
Member Senate Education Committee

Pat Dee
Community Relations Executive, U.S. Bank
Volunteer – Albuquerque Reads (Kindergarten reading tutoring program)

Senator Linda M. López
Single mom

Jami Jacobson
Executive Director, Curriculum & Instruction, Albuquerque Public Schools

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