Press Advisory

ADVISORY: The Push for Quality Pre-School Education

Featuring Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY) and Robert P. Casey (PA)

Please join The Center for American Progress Action Fund for an event on Wednesday, August 25th, 2007 from 10:30am – 12:00pm with Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY) and Bob Casey (PA) as they present the highlights of their recently introduced pre-kindergarten bills.  A Q&A and panel session with experts from the field will follow.

Across America, too few children begin kindergarten ready to learn; an unacceptable number of these students are low-income and minority. Recognizing the impact of high-quality early childhood education on school readiness and future academic success, the Center for American Progress Action Fund has promoted greater access to quality early learning opportunities for youngsters from birth to age five.

In August of 2005, the Center for American Progress released its education task force report “Getting Smarter, Becoming Fairer,” which called for universal, high-quality pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds beginning with the low-income and minority children who need it most. Almost two years later, the Center released “From Poverty to Prosperity,” the final report of its poverty task force. The report also called for high-quality preschool as well as the expansion of the child care tax credit and guaranteed child care assistance to low-income families.

As advocates, educators, policy leaders, and businessmen strive to create an education infrastructure that will prepare all students for the challenges and demands of the 21st century, the expansion of early childhood learning experiences must be included.

Keynote Speakers:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)

Featured Panelists:
Carol Brunson Day, President and CEO, National Black Child Development Institute
Harriet Dichter, Deputy Secretary, Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Pennsylvania Departments of Public Welfare and Education
Libby Doggett, Executive Director, Pre-K Now

Moderated by:
Cynthia G. Brown, Director of Education Policy, Center for American Progress Action Fund

Introduction by:
John Podesta, President and CEO, Center for American Progress Action Fund

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Program: 10:30am to 12:00pm
Admission is free.

Center for American Progress Action Fund
1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
Map & Directions

Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center

RSVP for this Event

For more information, please call 202.741.6246.


Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was elected to the United States Senate by the people of New York on November 7, 2000, after years of public service on behalf of children and families. She is the first First Lady of the United States elected to public office and the first woman elected independently statewide in New York State. A strong advocate for New York, Sen. Clinton works with communities throughout the state to strengthen the economy and expand opportunity. The senator supports a return to fiscal responsibility because she knows that wise national economic policies are essential to protect America‘s future.

Sen. Clinton serves on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; the Environment and Public Works Committee; the Special Committee on Aging; and she is the first New Yorker ever to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. Clinton was born in Chicago, IL, on October 26, 1947. She is the daughter of Dorothy Rodham and the late Hugh Rodham. Her father was a small businessman and her mother a homemaker. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School. She is married to former President William Jefferson Clinton. They have one daughter, Chelsea.

Sen. Clinton is the author of best-selling books including her autobiography, Living History; It Takes A Village: and Other Lessons Children Teach Us; Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets; and An Invitation to the White House as well as numerous articles.

Senator Robert P. Casey is a new U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania focused on changing the direction in Washington. From expanding access to health care to preparing our children for the 21st Century to reducing our dependence on foreign oil to preserving our environment to protecting Americans at home and our interests abroad, Bob Casey knows that we face many challenges.

In his short time in the U.S. Senate, Bob Casey has already joined the debate on one of his top priorities: increasing access to health insurance for children. This issue is not only one that is close to Senator Casey’s heart, it also runs in the family. The late Governor Robert P. Casey signed into law the children’s health insurance program on which the federal law is modeled.

Casey serves on five Senate committees: Foreign Relations; Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; the Special Committee on Aging; and the Joint Economic Committee.

In eight years as Pennsylvania Auditor General and two years as State Treasurer, Bob Casey compiled a record that focused on making government more accountable and responsive to the needs of Pennsylvanians. He has been a fiscal watchdog who made nursing homes safer, child care more affordable and government more accountable. He led the fight to reform Megan’s Law to better protect Pennsylvania communities and children.

Casey and his wife, Terese, were married in 1985 and live in Scranton with their four daughters: Elyse, Caroline, Julia and Marena. Casey is the eldest son of the late Governor Robert P. Casey and his wife, Ellen. Throughout his public career, Bob Casey has been guided by the legacy of his father, and the principle that: “All public service is a trust, given in faith and accepted in honor.”

Carol Brunson Day is currently the President of the National Black Child Development Institute after serving as the CEO and President of the Council for Professional Recognition from 1985 until 2004. The Council is a Washington, D.C.-based association that serves as the home of the Child Development Associate National Credentialing Program as well as the National Head Start Fellowship Program. Dr. Day was also the liaison for the international exchange between the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy and the early childhood community in the United States. In addition to her impressive scholarly contributions to the field, Dr. Day is recognized as a leader in the field of early childhood education.

Dr. Day sits on numerous national boards and has spoken at conferences and programs across the United States and internationally. She has authored over 25 publications on subjects such as professional development, diversity and multicultural education, and cultural influences on development, with a long history of interest and expertise on African American culture and heritage.

Dr. Day received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from the Erikson Institute in Chicago and a Ph.D. in Education from Claremont University in Claremont, California.

Harriet Dichter is deputy secretary, Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Public Welfare. The Office of Child Development and Early Learning was created by Governor Rendell as part of a new initiative linking the Departments of Education and Public Welfare to bolster early education and care for Pennsylvania children. As the head of that office, Ms. Dichter leads state efforts to raise the priority level for early learning. She currently serves on the Pew Trusts National Task Force on Assessment and Accountability in Early Childhood and on the Council on Accreditation for the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Previously, Ms. Dichter has led successful efforts, through appointments in the public, philanthropic, and non-profit sectors, to increase and improve service systems in maternal and child health, early learning, youth development/after-school programs, and health insurance/public benefit programs. Ms. Dichter is an author of Financing Child Care in the United States: An Expanded Catalogue of Current Strategies, published by the Pew Trusts and the Kauffman Foundation, as one of the earliest efforts to focus on expanded financing for early care and education. Ms. Dichter received her undergraduate degree at Yale (summa cum laude) and her law degree at the University of Pennsylvania (cum laude).

Libby Doggett, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of Pre-K Now where she directs the organization’s efforts to educate state policymakers, the media, and the general public about the potential of pre-k to improve outcomes for young children. Prior to joining Pre-K Now, Dr. Doggett worked for the National Head Start Association, where she directed the HeadsUp! Reading program, an innovative, credit-bearing course designed to provide early-childhood professionals the skills needed to help young children learn to read and write. Funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Heinz Endowment, AT&T, and a number of states, the program used satellite television and the Internet to bring college-level training to early-childhood professionals nationwide.

Upon coming to Washington, D.C., in 1995, Dr. Doggett worked in the U.S. Department of Education, where she served as special assistant to the director of special education and as executive director of the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council, coordinating multiple federal services for infants, toddlers, children with disabilities, and their families. While at the Department of Education, Dr. Doggett also worked on the America Reads Challenge and helped lead the Children’s Health Insurance Program outreach team in building a coalition of local school administrators dedicated to making children’s health-insurance enrollment a regular part of school business.

Dr. Doggett’s public-service record predates her tenure in Washington. In her home state of Texas, she served as the executive director of the Arc of Texas, the largest voluntary organization for persons with mental retardation and their families in the Lone Star State. She also helped found and then chaired the Disability Policy Consortium, a coalition of 20 Texas disability advocacy organizations.

Dr. Doggett co-authored the first book written on child care and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Honors for her leadership on children’s and disability issues include an appointment to the Texas Commission on Children and Youth, the Governor’s Trophy from the Governor’s Committee on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities in Texas, and the Friend of Early Childhood Intervention award. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas in early-childhood special education.

Cynthia G. Brown is Director of Education Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund and served as Director of Renewing our Schools, Securing our Future National Task Force on Public Education, a joint initiative of the Center and the Institute for America‘s Future. Brown has spent over 35 years working in a variety of professional positions addressing high-quality, equitable public education. Prior to joining the Center, she was an independent education consultant who advised and wrote for local and state school systems, education associations, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and a corporation. From 1986 through September 2001, Brown served as Director of the Resource Center on Educational Equity of the Council of Chief State School Officers. She was appointed by President Carter as the first Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education (1980). Prior to that position, she served as Principal Deputy of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare’s Office for Civil Rights. Subsequent to this government service, she was Co-Director of the nonprofit Equality Center. Before the Carter administration, she worked for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law, the Children’s Defense Fund, and began her career in the HEW Office for Civil Rights as an investigator. Brown has a Master’s in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a B.A. from Oberlin College. She serves as Chair of the American Youth Policy Forum Board of Directors and on the Boards of Directors of the Hyde Leadership Public Charter School and the National Association for Teen Fitness and Exercise.

John Podesta is the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund and visiting professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center. Podesta served as chief of staff to President William J. Clinton from October 1998 until January 2001, where he was responsible for directing, managing, and overseeing all policy development, daily operations, congressional relations, and staff activities of the White House. He coordinated the work of cabinet agencies with a particular emphasis on the development of federal budget and tax policy, and served in the President’s cabinet and as a principal on the National Security Council.

From 1997 to 1998 he served as both an Assistant to the President and deputy chief of staff. Earlier, from January 1993 to 1995, he was Assistant to the President, Staff Secretary, and a senior policy advisor on government information, privacy, telecommunications security and regulatory policy. Podesta previously held a number of positions on Capitol Hill including: counselor to Democratic Leader Senator Thomas A. Daschle; chief counsel for the Senate Agriculture Committee; chief minority counsel for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks; Security and Terrorism; and Regulatory Reform; and counsel on the Majority Staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Podesta is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Knox College.