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I always look forward to June—it’s the month to celebrate Father’s Day, the arrival of summer and Early Learning Advocacy Day.

This June, California’s Early Learning Advocacy Day convened more than 350 early learning advocates from across the state—including teachers and providers, parents, business leaders and others—to the state Capitol to advocate for high-quality early care and education programs. Participants met with more than 100 state legislators and staff members to share their stories about how high-quality early learning programs have benefited California’s children, families and communities. You can view photos and download materials from the event here.

With the California state budget process in full swing this month, Early Learning Advocacy Day could not have been better timed. As many of you know, this past May, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed budget revision included cuts to the state’s early care and education system. At a time when families are already struggling, cuts to California’s early care and education programs would further weaken the social safety net for our children and undermine the fundamental infrastructure of the state’s early learning system.

However, thanks to advocates like you, last month both the state Senate and Assembly Budget Committees rejected the governor’s May revise proposal and its significant cuts to early care and education programs. However, our work is not done. In this time of unprecedented fiscal crisis, it is more important than ever to showcase the strength of California’s coalition of early care and education supporters. Early Learning Advocacy Day, hosted by the California Association for the Education of Young Children and Preschool California and co-sponsored by 60 organizations, gave early childhood supporters an opportunity to speak with one voice and tell legislators that in these tough economic times, high-quality early learning programs are a critical long-term investment for California.

Earlier in the day, supporters heard from an impressive lineup of early learning speakers, including current State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, Santa Clara County Superintendent Charles Weis, State Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Larry Aceves and Donita Stromgren of the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network. Guest speakers Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, Assemblymember Julia Brownley and Senator Carol Liu reiterated the importance of California’s early care and education programs and asked advocates to remind their legislators that “our children are worth fighting for.”

If you were unable to attend Early Learning Advocacy Day, you can still take action by participating in our Virtual Early Learning Advocacy Day. Send a letter to your state legislators to express your support for high-quality early learning programs for California’s youngest learners.

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