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SAMPLE LETTER TO EDUCATION COMMITTEE MEMBERS IN THE CONNECTICUT LEGISLATIVE


Connecticut Coalition for Child Development Education

May 1, 2007

INSERT NAME AND ADDRESS

Dear _______:

I am writing to ask you to take action on a very important issue--making sure all or children get information on how to care for children from birth to school age to help insure their healthy social and emotional development and school readiness. Such education should include child development, child safety, and parenting skills.

No matter how well a person was raised, they cannot remember how they were cared for in the crucial years from birth to four. If they have had no younger siblings, they may know absolutely nothing about caring for a child during these years. Yet these are the years when the way a child is raised determines what neural pathways in the brain become predominant and whether the child will develop the ability to love and trust, emotional stability, and readiness for school or become a person who lacks empathy, is out of control, has psychological problems, or even becomes a criminal.. It is irresponsible of our schools not to provide information on child development and safety and effective parenting skills to all our young people because studies have shown such knowledge can help prevent child abuse and neglect, and decrease behavioral and psychological problems, violence and delinquency in the next generation of children.

In 1997 the State Department of Education in its comprehensive plan "Blueprint for Action: Implementing the Early Childhood Agenda in Connecticut" said that schools should review all curricula "to ensure that a program of responsible parenting is offered in a manner that reaches all students at different periods in their school career…Curriculum should include such issues as early childhood development, health needs of children, healthy pregnancies, identifying and choosing quality child care, financial obligations of parenting and the long-term responsibilities of parenting." (p.56) It is thirteen years later, and still nothing has been done about this.

An organization called The Connecticut Coalition for Child Development Education has been trying for nine years to get such information provided to all our students, but its proposed bills have died in committee. Former Education Commissioner Betty Sternberg and former Acting Commissioner George Coleman were in favor of child development education for all students, but took no action on the issue. We hope that in your role on the Education Committee, you will understand and work to bring this important area of instruction to all our students. It is vital not only for their future as parents and for the welfare of their children, but also for the future of our state and society.

Sincerely yours,


The Connecticut Coalition for Child Development Education, formerly the Connecticut Coalition for Parenting Education is comprised of approximately 40 people and fifteen organizations dedicated to bringing education in child safety, child development and parenting skills to all Connecticut students sometime before they graduate from high school. Members include Yale psychology professor Edward Zigler, who helped launch Head Start, Yale child psychiatrists Kyle Pruett and James Comer, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, the Mental Health Association of Connecticut; the Connecticut Child Advocate, pediatricians, psychologists, social workers, parents, and other state residents.

Nine years of coalition experience with the legislature and Commissioners of Education indicate the need for a groundswell of public support to bring about action. For more information and to get involved, contact Joan Barbuto, Coordinator of the Coalition, at
joanbstone@aol.com or 203/269-1946.


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