Collaboration for Early Childhood

1. What are your views on the role of your board in achieving the goal of assuring access to high-quality, affordable, early childhood care and education and support to parents for all families? 

I am running on a racial equity platform, and one of the pillars of that platform is addressing the Opportunity Gap. Many people have asked me why - if I'm focused on the Opportunity Gap - I'm not running for school board. I passionately believe that it takes a village to nurture our children, and that it is absolutely the role of the board to prioritize the health, safety, education and success of our youth. Numerous studies have shown that early childhood access to resources is a critically important factor in the overall success and development of any given child. I believe the Village Board should take a more active role in connecting the dots of services and programs available to families, such as the offerings of the Center for Childhood Collaboration. The Village Board plays a crucial role in making sure the CCC service is funded adequately, that parents and new families are aware of the CCC's role and service, and that other taxing bodies are utilizing and connecting with CCC's services.

2. If elected, would achieving the vision of an integrated and high-quality early childhood system as outlined in the chart below be a priority for you as a policy maker? If yes, then what steps would you propose to further this plan as a priority? If no, then what items do you view as higher priorities and why? 

Yes, this vision is a priority for me as a citizen and would be a priority for me as a trustee. I believe the village can take a much more active role in community education - strategic public service information campaigns around the importance of early childhood resources, and making sure that folks are aware of those resources. The Village board needs to encourage community members to utilize the CCC's resources. I also believe the village can and should dedicate more funding towards this vision, and create specific goals and metrics that can be achieved to unlock additional future funding, in coordination with CCC's executive direction and Board. Ultimately, success of this public-private partnership should result, many years down the line, in a reduction of the opportunity gap, and full preschool attendance by all children of Oak Park.

Arti Walker-Peddakotla