Last Thursday, April 2nd, the Early Childhood Policy Council (ECPC) held its first meeting to discuss the council’s goals as well as plans around the Governor’s Master Plan for Early Learning and Care (MPELC). The ECPC is comprised of 27 members from diverse backgrounds and perspectives – appointed by the Governor, Legislature, Superintendent, and committees. More information about members can be found here.
The meeting began with an introduction by the Chair and California Surgeon General, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, who started the conversation by sharing information about how the state is responding to the current COVID-19 crisis and how our current reality will likely impact the MPELC process.
Next, Kris Perry, Deputy Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency for Early Childhood Development, provided onboarding of ECPC members. As part of this, she explained the ECPC’s purpose, which is to:
- Advise the Governor, the Legislature, and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction on state early learning and care policy;
- Prepare a formal public annual report; and
- Provide specific recommendations on all aspects of the statewide early childhood system, including: equity, accountability, opportunities, and ways in which the MPELC and Blue Ribbon Commission recommendations can be updated and improved upon.
A bulk of the meeting was spent discussing the goals and plans around the MPELC, including opportunities for input from Early Learning stakeholders across the state. Throughout the meeting participants were allowed to share public comment. Early Edge California shared its hope for Dual Language Learners and their families to be embedded throughout the MPELC, as well as for it to incorporate supports for the Early Learning workforce. Our team also took the opportunity to share its recent DLL Policy Platform and Workforce Policy Paper, which outline key recommendations in these respective areas that can be used to guide the MPELC development. The meeting organizers also presented a survey they have compiled to receive feedback around challenges and opportunities related to the three key areas that the MPELC will be addressing:
- Equity – highlighting that every family should have access to high-quality early learning and care and being attuned to meeting individual needs of families as they relate to access and opportunity gaps.
- Family-Centered Design – envisioning a system that is informed and guided by family perspectives.
- Caring about Caregivers – emphasizing the critical importance of the Early Learning workforce.
MPELC deliverables by October 2020 include:
- A Framework that addresses equity, access, inclusion, and costs.
- A Blueprint for financing operational details to make the plan a reality.
- Tools and resources for communities to understand and adopt the plan – and feel confident it meets their needs.
Upcoming Meetings: The ECPC is scheduled to meet four times per year. The remaining meetings for this year are set for June 8, August 24, and November 16, 2020. Whether meetings will be held in person or virtually will depend on the current health recommendations at that time.