Reclaiming the Promise From Early Ed to Higher Ed

Melanie Zinn, who runs the home based HoriZinn Early Learning Program, and Ben Johnson, president of Vermont AFT, discuss the legislative session, particularly education related legislation. After years of grassroots organizing early educators and their allies finally won legislation that recognizes the right of home-based child care providers to unionize and negotiate subsidies with the state. Now, early child-care providers in Vermont will have the opportunity to vote in an election to prove their majority and win a stronger voice through their union, Vermont Early Educators United. Providers can then develop proposals, elect a negotiation team and sit down with the administration as equals and negotiate a contract that improves the lives of early educators and the families they serve. Early childhood educators, mostly-women, are typically the lowest paid providers, who take care of, and educate, our children, providing services to low-income Vermonters. Ben also discusses the need to improve public funding of higher education in Vermont and relieve college students of the obscene levels of debt they are facing.