On Tuesday, February 28, our Community Building staff joined HACAP and Youth Achievement AmeriCorps for Day on the Hill in Des Moines. They met with Senators Rob Hogg and Liz Mathis to advocate and discuss preschool education legislation, including early childhood reading initiatives. These initiatives are important components of our Reading into Success, RED Ahead, and Youth Achievement AmeriCorps programs.
UWECI staff advocated for the following:
- Longer preschool day funding: Advocated for providing children with more learning opportunities and allowing parents to work a full day.
- Dental and vision screenings: Advocated against a bill removing the requirement for children to have dental and vision screenings before school. More importantly, we are against language in the bill prohibiting screenings taking place on school property. In many cases, schools hosting screenings do not fund them. Removing the requirement for screenings does not achieve any specific result. The outcome could be undiagnosed hearing and vision problems in elementary students.
- Summer works: We want legislators to understand that while the state pilot did not show growth in reading skills during the summer, many non-state programs did achieve success (specifically Kids on Course and a program in Council Bluffs). While we do not support the retention law, we do not want legislators to mistakenly think summer programs cannot achieve growth for students.