A Legacy of Education


Last week, Idaho lost one of its biggest champions of Early Learning.

Governor Cecil D. Andrus, Idaho’s only four-term governor, spent many years advocating and fighting for high-quality early learning. He established part-time, voluntary kindergarten during his tenure which he has been known to say was his “top achievement” as governor.

I was fortunate to meet and get to know Gov. Andrus within my time here at Idaho AEYC.  We had many conversations about how to move preschool here and he was always willing to speak out in support of state investments.  In 2015, he offered to co-host a symposium called Early Learning in Idaho: Finding Common Ground.  He brought together non-partisan partners which included Boise State University Andrus Center for Public Policy, University of Idaho’s McClure Center for Public Policy and various members from organizations and the business community across Idaho who were interested in discussing solutions for investments in high quality early learning.

Idaho AEYC was fortunate to be at the table for the planning and participated in the symposium.  It was a wonderful event that really helped set the stage for large scale discussions across the state.

Every time I would see Gov. Andrus, he would smile a big smile, point his finger at me as he often did and say, “Beth, you keep fighting that fight for early childhood education! We need you to keep doing what you are doing and one day you will get it!”

Because no one would ever think to say “no” to Governor Andrus, that is exactly what we will continue to do. We will keep fighting for high quality early learning opportunities for all young children in Idaho. I’m sad that we won’t have his big voice as we continue down this path, but we will certainly have his spirit to help guide us towards success.

Beth Oppenheimer
Exectuive Director, Idaho AEYC

New Research Finds Parents and Early Childhood Educators Coming Together On a Unified Message to Invest in High-Quality Early Childhood Education

Parents and educators of all political beliefs support a system of shared responsibility to finance high-quality early childhood education that prioritizes investments in the profession

WASHINGTON, DC – Results from new research released today by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) identify opportunities to ensure that parents and early childhood educators are on the same side of defining and demanding high-quality early childhood education. This research, conducted by a bipartisan team of FM3 and Public Opinion Strategies, and generously supported by the Richard W. Goldman Family Foundation, explores three critical and interrelated issues:

How parents and educators think about quality in early childhood education;

How and whether their understanding of quality influences their choice of an early learning program, either as a place for their children to be cared for and educated, or as a place of employment; and

How their personal stake in the issue of early childhood education translates to their appetite and capacity for civic participation that advances the issue.

“We know that families and early childhood educators support each other, and share a commitment to ensuring the best for children,” said Rhian Evans Allvin, NAEYC’s CEO. “Yet our underfunded system means that families and educators can sometimes find themselves on different sides of issues related to the balance of affordability, quality, and compensation in early childhood education. NAEYC is proud to present new data that delves deeper into these complex and longstanding issues, offering important lessons on messaging and advocacy related to our collective work to advance the profession and deliver on the promise of high-quality early childhood education.”  

Research results show that both parents and educators themselves consistently put teachers and staff at the top of their definitions of quality. Nine out of ten educators and six out of ten parents agree that quality means having teachers who “inspire the kids” and promote positive social and emotional development. Parents also recognize the need to support the educators who are supporting their children: 76 percent of parents consider having teachers who are well-compensated as being extremely or very important in choosing an early learning program for their child.

“This research demonstrates that parents understand quality, need convenience, and are constrained by affordability in making their child care and early learning choices,” said researcher Dave Metz, of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, or FM3. “Across political persuasions, parents feel a primary responsibility for supporting the care for their own children, but also look to federal, state, and local governments to contribute their fair share in order to capitalize on the well-known public benefits of investing in high-quality early childhood education.”

The research also demonstrated that, based in part on their understanding of the need for increased public funding, educators and parents are willing to “get involved in the political process and advocate” for expanding access to high-quality early childhood education. For educators in particular, the strongest messaging to promote engagement comes around the growing awareness of the impact of early learning; the respect that voters have for early childhood educators; and the need for educators to advocate for themselves instead of letting others do it for them—the precise purpose and vision of the collective Power to the Profession initiative.

To view the full results of this survey, visit the Advancing the Profession: Market Research section of this webpage on Power to the Profession.


This research was conducted by bipartisan team of FM3 (D) and Public Opinion Strategies (R). The online educator survey included 1,654 NAEYC members who work as educators serving children from birth to age 8, conducted February 15-27, 2017, with the demographics of survey respondents meant to broadly represent the NAEYC membership. The online parent survey included 1,202 parents of children up to age 16, conducted October 17-24, 2016, and demographic quotas were set to reflect the diversity of American parents.

Children's Champions Update

Summer is a great time for relaxing, swimming, and catching up with friends and family; of course, it's also a great time for Congressional hearings, organizational resources, and new campaigns.

What is Congress up to these days?

There are two important hearings in the House of Representatives happening on Thursday, July 13:

1.      At 10:00 am, the House Education Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education is holding a hearing about "opportunities for state leadership of early childhood programs." You'll be able to watch it live here.

2.      Six and a half hours later, the FY2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill is scheduled to be marked up in subcommittee.

It's critical that the Appropriations Committee members hear from you!

·         Dial Senator Crapo: (202) 224-6142

·         Once you're connected, tell the staff person who answers the phone: "Hi, my name is _______ and I'm a constituent of Senator Crapo. I hope my Representative will support a significant increase in C-C-D-B-G, because child care is so important to helping children get the good start that they need, while helping their parents go to work. Thank you."


On the other side of Capitol Hill, Republican Senators are working on the Better Care Reconciliation Act, their proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that, by 2026, the bill will cause 22 million people to lose health coverage overall, including 15 million people losing Medicaid. A recent analysis found that would include over four million children.

We hope you will ask Senator Crapo (202) 224-6142 and Senator Risch (202) 224-2752 to #ProtectOurCare and reject cuts that are critical to our nation's support for our current and future workforce, and the health and well-being of the families, schools, and communities in which our children are cared for and educated.

Great Connections, Memories, Laughs and Learning

This past May, we had an amazing time at the Idaho AEYC Professional Development Institute!

Hundreds of early childhood professionals throughout Idaho had the opportunity to advance their education, professional learning and knowledge of high-quality early childhood education.

They also had the opportunity to make great connections and network with colleagues from across the state.

Our keynote speakers were incredible!

Rhian Evans Allvin, the CEO of NAEYC, inspired us to embrace early childhood education as a true profession.  Josh Hutchinson helped us to learn about the impact traumatic stress has on our youngest children. And finally, Dr. Drew, engaged us to recognize and practice the power of play in all early learning environments (see video).  I know that many of you left inspired and excited about the future of early learning in Idaho.

Here is what a few of you had to say:

     “The presenters were excellent!”

     “The conference was amazing and I appreciated the keynotes.”

     “The variety of workshops was great! Quality was great!”

     “Energizing! Very organized and professional!”

     “Practical and useful information I can take back to my classroom.”

In the field of early education, we know these opportunities are rare and only available when communities come together and support events such the Idaho AEYC Professional Development Institute.

Idaho AEYC is committed to advancing the early learning profession across Idaho. We are dedicated to providing the best professional development opportunities to our members and early childhood educators.

We will continue to advocate for children, families and the early childhood workforce. Our goals are big and our journey is long but we know that together, all children in Idaho will thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential.

Thank you again for those of you who attended this year’s Professional Development Institute and for all the great connections, memories, laughs and learning that took place. (And for those of you who couldn’t attend, we hope to see you next year!)

To learn more about Idaho AEYC and the work we do on behalf of early learning on our Impact page.

Beth Oppenheimer
Exectuive Director, Idaho AEYC


Our Voices Matter

This Thursday, March 30, please raise yours by joining NAEYC, Child Care Aware of America, CLASP, NAFCC, NBCDI, NWLC, YWCA and ZERO TO THREE for a national call-in day for child care.

Every member of Congress has the opportunity to make funding requests during the appropriations process. There is an upcoming deadline for these requests, and while we're all working hard to demonstrate the need for overall discretionary funding levels that allow for sufficient investments in critical programs for children and families, we are also having a call-in day to focus specifically and especially on child care.

We hope you will join early childhood educators and advocates across the country in calling your Representatives on Thursday. You will ask them to ask the Appropriations Chairman to increase funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant by $1.4 billion in the FY 2018 appropriations bill.

Without this additional $1.4 billion, states will not be able to implement the important reforms contained in the CCDBG Act of 2014 while maintaining the current number of children served. Already, there has been a significant decline in the number of children served, with 373,100 fewer children receiving child care assistance in 2015 than in 2006. Congress needs to hear about the importance of funding a strong foundation for child care and early learning through CCDBG.         

Take Action!

Call 202-224-3121 for the Capitol Switchboard or find your representative here. Find the suggested script here.

And don't forget - if you need a boost to help you make that call, check out how to call your reps (when you have social anxiety) and learn why calling is better than emailing.  

Please join us on Thursday and make sure your elected official hears your voice, loud and clear! #powertotheprofession 

Spring into Idaho AEYC

Dear Idaho AEYC Members –
After a long winter, spring is just around the corner. Spring is the perfect time to reflect and revisit our goals, vision and purpose. As we move into spring, we at Idaho AEYC continue to work towards our vision that all young children thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential. Our goals to support high quality early learning, the profession, organizational advancement, organizational excellence and leadership and innovation are the driving force of what we do every day.