SECA & NAEYC Reports
Pam Parmenter, MA Ed. (FLAEYC Executive Board President)
First, let me say thank you to the FLAEYC Board for sponsoring my trip to the SECA Conference in Lexington, KY. I was proud to represent our affiliate both in the Affiliate meeting on Wednesday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm and in the Presentation of State Flags which preceded the opening keynote on Friday morning at 9:00 am. Sixteen state flags were marched down the center aisle one-by-one and then placed in stations surrounding the stage. The Flag Ceremony concluded with the presentation of the flag of the United States of American and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Next in the Opening Ceremony came presentation of awards. Florida was well represented on the stage as the 2018 President’s Award went to Dr. Pamela C. Phelps of Florida. This award is presented to a state advocate who has made contributions at the state level in the field of advocacy that supports children and families. Next was the 2018 Phil Acord Award, established in 2017 to honor the work of Phil Accord of Tennessee and to recognize outstanding contributions by men in the field of early childhood education. The awardee was David Lawrence, Jr. of Florida.
The keynote speaker, Maurice Sykes, was exciting. He talked to us about Leadership in Closing the Achievement Gap. He stated the gap is real, starts early, is persistent, but most importantly is reversible. He explored root causes of the gap, and then strategies for how high-quality programs led by progressive and transformational staff can reverse the gap through knowledge, skills, and courage.
I attended several other presentations including the feature on Friday afternoon by Don Monopoli of The Learning Station (again another Florida representation), and the Public Policy Luncheon presentation by Ikeoma U. Iruka, Ph.D. on “Solidifying Our Villages.” Her premise is that neither poverty, race, religion, nor zip code should determine a child’s trajectory, opportunity, or eventual life success, and that we must provide equitable access and opportunities for all children.
We are proud to be the Florida SECA Affiliate.
Executive Director of Early Childhood Education
The Sky Family YMCA
It was a privilege to make the trip to Washington DC as a member of the Florida State Team to advocate for early childhood education. Early childhood education is a passion of mine. The NAEYC Public Policy Forum 2018 was a wonderful opportunity to let Capitol Hill know just how important quality child care is to children and their families.
It also allowed us to shine a spotlight on the low wages that early educators deal with. These low wages create a high turnover in the field and affect the quality of care. It was an honor to be part of the 300 voices strong that day. I know that we will all continue to fight for all children and their educators.
Picture Credit: Elizabeth DiGiacomo and Megan Oates attended the NAEYC Public Policy Forum, representing FLAEYC