Jumpstart’s national office houses many departments that are important to you and your work, such as the Education and Research department that develops the curriculum you deliver to children and the Evaluation department that measures the impact you are having in your classrooms. In addition, Jumpstart has a Policy and Government Relations department that also advocates for you and the children and families you engage!
The Policy and Government Relations department works on nationwide policy and legislative changes that positively impact the children Jumpstart serves as well as Corps members like you and Jumpstart alumni. This department raises up the voices of the millions of families without access to affordable high-quality early education, college students weighed down with student debt, early educators fighting for equitable pay and benefits, and national service volunteers who are making an impact in our cities and communities, bringing their stories to our elected leaders from city halls to state legislatures and all the way to Congress.
In the last issue of the Corps Member Newsletter, you learned about Jumpstart’s four core policy principles. In this issue, we’ll share with you just a few examples of what the department has worked on recently within each area.
1. Accessible high-quality early childhood education
In February 2018, Jumpstart held an event at the Massachusetts State House for lawmakers and their staff to learn more about the high-quality early learning opportunities provided to thousands of young children in Massachusetts through Jumpstart, as well as the experiences and skills possessed by our Corps members. At the event, the audience heard from a Jumpstart alumnus from the University of Massachusetts Boston, a center director from one of Jumpstart’s partner preschools, a parent of a child in Jumpstart programming, and a campus leader from one of our university partners. Each of the panelists shared stories about their experiences with Jumpstart and the impact they’ve seen the program have on themselves and their communities. Attendees learned about the gains made by Jumpstart children and were encouraged to advocate for legislation that will support Jumpstart in Massachusetts. This great Jumpstart event even received coverage in the Boston Globe!
2. A professional, stable, and well-compensated early education workforce
Jumpstart joined in with several national partners including the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the National Women’s Law Center, and Moms Rising to collect over 43,000 signatures from individuals nationwide on a petition supporting the Child Care for Working Families Act. The bill, if enacted, would not only improve quality for and access to child care and preschool, but would also significantly raise wages and professional development opportunities for early educators. Jumpstart continues to work to educate our members of Congress about the significant needs of the early education workforce in terms of wages, benefits, and training and supports legislation that moves the field forward.
3. Affordable higher education that incorporates valuable workforce training opportunities
As Congress debates and drafts a new federal higher education law, Jumpstart has been actively engaged in the process in a bipartisan manner. Jumpstart has urged Congressional leaders to support and expand programs that benefit Corps members and future early educators and create innovative solutions to the student debt crisis. Jumpstart’s priorities in the higher education process include expanding Federal Work Study, protecting Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and guaranteeing free public community college for all students.
4. A commitment to national service
Every year, Congress is required to write and pass a budget to fund federal agencies and programs, including the AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs through the Corporation for National and Community Service. Jumpstart regularly encourages members of Congress to support and expand AmeriCorps and Senior Corps to allow even more students and seniors to enjoy the life-changing impacts of Jumpstart.
Still curious for more details about Jumpstart’s Policy and Government Relations department? Learn more about our work here.