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SAMPLE CONNECTICUT LETTERS TO THE EDITOR


Personalize these and send to your local newspapers. Check for your local papers at the CT Press List. Be sure to check submission guidelines of each paper. For more help, go to the Advocacy chapter of Prepare Tomorrow’s Parents’ Guide, which includes working with media, at www.preparetomorrowsparents.org/guide5.pdf, or contact Prepare Tomorrow’s Parents at info@preparetomorrowsparents.org or 561/620-0256.


Connecticut Coalition for Child Development Education


To the Editor:

Recent work and study with involvement from the Department of Children and Families, the Connecticut State Board of Education, and the Coalition for Child Development Education find that in our public schools there is very little education about child development or parenting being taught to our youngsters. While in school our Connecticut students learn about frogs, trees, and cells, but have little or no education about what the human child requires to be safe and healthy or what parenting skills are needed to protect and raise a healthy child.

This coming month is Prepare Tomorrow's Parent's Month - from Mother's day to Father's day. We ask residents to write then and again in December to Commissioner of Education Mark McQuillan, Gov. Jodi Rell and their legislators and ask them to take steps to make sure all Connecticut's students get education in child development, child safety, and parenting skills. Not only can this help prevent child abuse and neglect, but it can improve the life of the next generation of children and the quality of our society.

The Commissioner's address is 165 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106; email mark.mcquillan@ct.gov. The governor's address is 210 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106; email: governor.rell@ct.gov


To the Editor:

Governor Rell is to be commended for trying to make preschool available to more children to give them a better chance of succeeding in school and in life. However, even if we have universal preschool in this state, we will still not be addressing the most crucial period in the development of the child's brain and his emotional and social development, the period from birth to three. The way a parent or caregiver acts towards a child during this period and responds to his needs determines his ability to love and trust, his emotional stability, and his readiness for school. Parents need to know what a child's emotional, social, and intellectual needs are and how to respond to them appropriately at various stages of his development from birth to three, or else, according to research, the result can be a child who lacks empathy, is out of control, has psychological problems, or becomes a delinquent or even a criminal.

Most children are not in preschool during these first three years, and they spend the majority of their time with their parents. But many parents don't know the social, emotional, psychological and intellectual needs of children from birth to three, how to best address them because no one has ever taught them about this. If we want to combat the delinquency, violence, drug abuse, and school behavior problems that plague our society today, we need to teach all parents these things.

Fox six years bills have been submitted by the Connecticut Coalition for Child Development Education calling for education in child development and parenting skills as part of the curriculum, but they have died in committee. The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education passed a resolution calling for this education. Acting Commissioner George Coleman and former Education commissioner Betty Sternberg favored providing child development education to as many students as possible. In 1997 the State Department of Education in a comprehensive plan for implementing the Early Childhood Agenda in Connecticut said 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. It's thirteen years later and still nothing has been done about this.

I ask the governor, the Commissioner of Education, the Education Committee and the legislature to take action as soon as possible to provide education in child development to all our students to prepare them for the most important job they will have in their lives --the job of raising their children.


To the Editor:

Parenting is the most important job most of us will ever have because it determines the character of the next generation and the character of our society. It is time we gave our young people the information and skills that will help them become capable parents and help them raise responsible, kind, successful children. This can be done by making sure that all our students receive education in child safety, parenting skills and child development sometime before they graduate from high school.

The Connecticut Coalition for Child Development Education and the national organization, Prepare Tomorrow's Parents, have designated the month between Mother's Day and Father's Day as Prepare Tomorrow's Parents Month, and are urging residents in the state to write to the governor, the state commissioner of education, and local superintendents of schools advocating for preparing the next generation of parents through parenting education in schools for children and teens.

Parenting education works to prevent child abuse and neglect, violence, and teen pregnancy; and to decrease behavioral, emotional and substance abuse problems in the next generation of children.

Many of our students (especially boys) who graduate from high school today don't know that shaking a baby can cause brain damage and even death, how to manage a difficult toddler or what emotional abuse or neglect are. When they become young parents, they may feel incompetent, helpless, and angry. Their lack of knowledge and frustration can lead some to physically or emotionally abuse or neglect their own children.

There is a wealth of knowledge available about child development, the psychological needs of children and how to meet them, good child management techniques, and the responsibilities of parenting. But this information doesn't get to most parents. National surveys revealed that only 5 to 30 percent of parents take any kind of parenting class. This is why this information must be provided as part of the curriculum in public schools where it can reach all students before they become parents. Offering an elective high school child development course is not enough. A recent survey by New Haven school psychologist Bob Margolies found that only 8 percent of students statewide take this course. (You could take out this paragraph if needed for word number limits.)

New York State has already made parenting education a requirement for graduation. California and other states are trying to do so. The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education has passed resolutions favoring it. It's time our state commissioner of education took some action on this issue. Write to State Commissioner of Education Dr. Mark McQuillan at 165 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106 mark.mcquillan@ct.gov, and Gov. Jodi Rell at 210 Capitol Ave. Hartford, CT 06106 governor.rell@ct.gov, and tell them.



To the Editor:

Studies have shown that education in parenting skills and child development can help prevent child abuse, and delinquency, violence, psychological problems, and even substance abuse in children and teens. However, parenting information must be given to people when they are future parents and still in school, or most of them will never get it. Surveys have showed that only from 5 to 30 percent of parents ever take a parenting class, and less than half read anything about parenting. This course cannot be just an elective or most students won't take it. A state survey found only 8 percent of students took the elective child development/parenting course.

What we teach our children determines the future of our society. There is a wealth of information available about child development, the psychological needs of children and how to meet them, good child management techniques, and the responsibilities of parenting. Certainly we owe it to our young people to give them this information, which is just as important as math, science, or English. New York State has already made parenting education a requirement.

The Connecticut Coalition for Child Development Education and Prepare Tomorrow's Parents have designated the weeks between Mother's Day and Father's Day Prepare Tomorrow's Parents Month. They urge Connecticut residents to write or email Gov. Jodi Rell and to Commissioner of Education Dr. Mark McQuillan this month asking them to make sure education in child development, child safety and parenting skills reaches all our students. This is a vital area of our children's education that society has overlooked.

Governor Rell's address is 210 Captol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106 (email: governor.rell@ct.gov). Commissioner of Education Dr. Mark McQuillan at 165 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106 (email: mark.mcquillan@ct.gov)


To the Editor:

A Southington man was arrested last year and charged with shaking or injuring his 5-month old child according to the Meriden Record-Journal. The child was treated for head injuries at MidState Medical Center and then brought by helicopter to the intensive care unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Said police sergeant Lowell DePalma, the incident seemed to be caused by "a combination of anger and frustration."

Taking care of a baby can be extremely stressful. When a fretful baby keeps crying and a parent doesn't know what to do, he or she may do the worst possible thing and in frustration shake the infant. Shaking a baby can cause brain damage and even death. But a lot of parents don't know this. And incidents like this are not unusual. Every month or two we read about them.

To save infants lives we need to teach all our young people what to expect when they become parents and how to manage children from birth through the preschool years. They also need to learn the importance of responding to a baby's cries promptly and recognizing and responding to its needs adequately. Research has shown this early nurturing care is essential for a baby to learn to love, trust, and develop empathy for others in later years. Parents also need to know good ways of guiding preschool children's behavior, ways of setting limits without physical punishment, how to keep children safe, and good ways of teaching the social and emotional skills they will need to succeed in life-things like respect, responsibility, self-control, kindness, motivation. There are effective ways of teaching these things. The only way to reach all parents is to teach this material to potential parents--young people who are still in school.

The Connecticut Coalition for Child Development Education and Prepare Tomorrow's Parents, a national organization, have designated the month between Mother's Day and Father's Day Prepare Tomorrow's Parents Month. They are asking everyone to write or email State Commissioner of Education Dr. Mark McQuillan, 165 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106 (email: mark.mcquillan@ct.gov); and to Gov. Jodi Rell, 210 Capitol Ave., Hartford, 06106 (email: governor.rell@ct.gov) and ask them to make sure all our students receive education in child safety, parenting skills and child development. We owe it to them and we owe it to our society


To the Editor:

Parenting is the most important job most of us will have because it determines the character of the next generation and the character of our society. It is time we gave our young people the information that will help them become capable, knowledgeable parents and help them raise responsible, cooperative, successful children. This can be done by making sure that all our students receive education in child safety, parenting skills and child development some time before they graduate from high school.

The Connecticut Coalition for Child Development Education and Prepare Tomorrow's Parents, a national organization have designated the month between Mother's Day and Father's Day Prepare Tomorrow's Parents Month and are urging residents to the state to write to the governor, the state commissioner of education, and local superintendents of schools advocating this.

Studies have shown that parenting education helps prevent child abuse and neglect, violence, teen pregnancy, and decrease behavioral, emotional and substance abuse problems in the next generation of children. Many of our students (especially boys) who graduate from high school today don't know that shaking a baby can cause brain damage and even death, have no idea what to do when a baby cries, or how to manage a difficult toddler or what emotional abuse or neglect is. When they become young parents, often they feel incompetent, helpless, and angry. Their lack of knowledge and frustration can lead some to physically or emotionally abuse or neglect their child.

There is a wealth of knowledge available about child development, the psychological needs of children and how to meet them, good child management techniques, and the responsibilities of parenting. But this information doesn't get to most parents. National surveys revealed that only 5 to 30 percent of parents take any kind of parenting class. This is why this information must be provided as part of the curriculum in public schools where it can reach all students before they become parents. Offering an elective high school child development course is not enough. A recent survey by New Haven school psychologist Bob Margolies found that only 8 percent of students statewide take this course.

New York State has already made parenting education a requirement for graduation. California and other states are trying to do so. The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education has passed resolutions favoring it. It's time our state commissioner of education took some action on this issue. Write to State Commissioner of Education Dr. Mark McQuillan at 165 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106 (email: mark.mcquillan@ct.gov) and Gov. Jodi Rell at 210 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106 (email: governor.rell@ct.gov) and tell them this.


The Connecticut Coalition for Child Development Education, formerly the Connecticut Coalition for Parenting Education is comprised of approximately 40 people and 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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