ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Governor John Kitzhaber wants Oregon to take a different approach to early childhood education.
The governor spoke Thursday morning at the Early Childhood Care and Education Conference at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
The event is geared toward child care providers, early childhood educators and parent educators, among others.
Governor Kitzhaber told the audience the state has an opportunity to leverage the budget crisis into something profoundly important to the lives of our kids. "We need a few places that are going to step up and provide leadership for that, and I think Douglas County is one of those places," he said. "You have the leadership, and I think you have the commitment to get it done. But, it's going to take all of you."
Kitzhaber says the legislature has focused on the Early Learning council with Senate Bill 909, which establishes the Oregon Education Investment Board to reach education outcomes established for the state.
The governor says getting the children started at a young age is important. "We recognized that investing in the success of early children is a foundation for long term success. It's the foundation for reducing downstream costs in public safety and costs in our social service system," said Kitzhaber.
The governor says they've already hired a director for the Early Learning Council and are ready to go forward.
He adds that the success of the program depends on the ability to overcome the status quo in Oregon and be willing to try something different.
The summit also featured Ross Thompson, a Professor of Psychology from the University of California Davis, speaking on child development, and Rob Grunewald, an economist with the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank talking about investments in young children.