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Doctors, Cops, Teachers: Press New Gov To Help NY's Youngest Kids

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 By Michael Clifford/Eric Mack, Contact
December 13, 2006

Albany, NY - Doctors, cops and teachers are joining parents, elected officials and others to call on Governor-elect Spitzer to "put his money where his mouth was" during his campaign -- at least, when it comes to early childhood education. Spitzer has advocated more resources for early learning, and a new coalition wants him to establish a statewide commission focused entirely on this topic.

Among those who gathered at the State Capitol to make their wishes known was Albany County Executive Mike Breslin, who believes New York's education funding should start "in the very beginning."

"Start from (ages) 0-5 for the education and development of children, so we identify the problems earlier, in the most critical period of their lives."

According to Breslin, if the state had one authority on early childhood education, it could streamline services.

"Rather than health and mental health and all the other different disciplines, we could get an early identification of their difficulties and an overall identification of all their difficulties."

Karen Schimke, president of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, says such a commission would improve education starting at the top.

"(It could) focus in sort-of an oversight way, to be sure every single dollar is spent as efficiently and effectively as possible."

Schimke cites the statistic that half of learning happens before kindergarten, but adds that New York spends 95 percent of its education resources on schooling for children's later years.

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