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Day on the Hill: Making a Difference in Early Childhood and Rural Education

As a former early childhood public school prekindergarten teacher in rural South Carolina, I have always engaged in advocacy for better educational policies. I have been engrossed in issues such as reduced recess, teacher professional development policies, parent access, and teacher training since I was in the classroom. I continue to serve as a point of inspiration as a 13-year veteran teacher educator at a historically black college and university (HBCU). Such personal connections and identified issues led me not only to serve on the AACTE Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy but also to engage in AACTE’s “Day on the Hill.”

AACTE’s Government Relations and Advocacy Committee is as way for me to provide support, experience, and advice in an area that I feel honored to have some expertise in—early childhood teacher education—to affect change at the highest level of the United States Government through the AACTE community. I have always said, “I trust my leaders, but they always need to have access to all of the information and the right information to make a comprehensively informed decision.” I lay that same claim to politicians and other policy makers and enforcers. This committee has given me much additional excitement because I not only see changes happening, but also, I believe that my small, humble contributions help make a difference.

AACTE’s Day on the Hill stands as yet another opportunity for me, along with my colleagues, to engage directly with our representatives and senators on the federal level but also to give excellent clues as to how to trickle such advocacy down to our state, county, and local policy making to affect even more change. Even though I enjoy the workshops, seminars, and work sessions, talking to the staff of my own state senator and representative allows me to share whatever expertise I can provide as a citizen and educator to ensure effective teachers are properly trained and are placed in all learning environments for young children—especially rural school classrooms where I got my start.

Reginald H. Williams, assistant professor of early childhood education at South Carolina State University, is a member of the AACTE Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy.

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