One of the things that energizes me is talking to people who do early childhood education for a living.

These folks are so passionate and impactful that it just revives me and I’m reminded of what an opportunity we have if we can make early childhood a higher priority.

/thread/ Image
That’s how I felt in Iredell County this weekend when I visited their Partnership for Young Children, which runs their local NC Pre-K and Smart Start.

These folks are just unreservedly good and crucial people and we don’t spend nearly enough time spotlighting their work. Image
In our discussion, we kept coming back to the role they played during the pandemic.

When we were hit hardest last year, child care workers were one of the groups who carried our country on their backs. Image
And yet, over half of early childhood educators get paid so little that they qualify for government assistance.

While I was there I spoke with Shana. It turns out, we had met before.
A few years ago, she came to Raleigh to advocate for early childhood education and at that time told me about the difficulty she was having with a persistent toothache because seeing a dentist was too expensive.
Now - with that issue resolved - she told me what the last year has been like for her as she worked every day to find ways to connect with young children during an incredibly stressful time for them, and often through a computer screen.
We already know that nurses and grocery clerks and bus drivers are some of our pandemic heroes.

Let’s just make sure that child care workers are on that list, too.
We’re going to talk later this week about the importance of early childhood from the standpoint of kids and their parents, but I wanted to start with a focus on the educators because they’re so often overlooked as an essential piece of the progress we need to make.
This week, I’m filing a bill in the state Senate titled, “Go Big for Early Childhood Education.”

It involves scaling up NC Pre-K and Smart Start to reach far more children than we currently do, but it also involves giving a raise to our early childhood educators.
One more thing:

When we started our town hall in an outdoor amphitheater in Statesville later that day, I began by telling the crowd about my trip to their county’s Partnership for Children.

And here’s what I said: Image
“I just want to report back to you, you have some extraordinary people working here in your community, who are doing *everything they can* for kids, and over the last year have done a large part of carrying this economy on their backs...
... The amount of compassion and care that they’re using to give y’alls kids the best start possible is remarkable. Y’all are the beneficiaries of some amazing people who are doing great work for young kids, and I just wanted to tell you that before we talk about anything else.”

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More from @JeffJacksonNC

8 Apr
Truly awful stuff:

A bill filed in our state legislature this week (SB514) would require that teachers report in writing to a student’s parents if they’ve “exhibited symptoms of gender nonconformity.”

So, the length of their hair? The colors they're wearing?

Read for yourself: Image
Can you imagine the chaos this would create in high schools across our state if it became law, the constant discussion among students and teachers about which student’s dress and behavior crossed the legal line into the mandatory reporting of "gender nonconformity"?
Imagine the leverage this would give high school bullies, how they could use this law to threaten to out certain students to their teachers.
Read 10 tweets
3 Apr
In the state legislature, I serve with many members who are fully convinced the last election was stolen.

But - just as important - I serve with many members who know it *wasn’t* stolen but would be fine using that myth as cover to pass laws to help them win elections.

And that’s what’s happening across the country.

A bunch of state legislators who know better are using the myth of the stolen election as cover to give themselves more power by taking it away from you, the voters.

This is about voter turnout. Not voter fraud.
Last week, we talked about the need to renew the Voting Rights Act based on the history of North Carolina’s state legislature abusing its authority to cement the majority party’s power.
Read 11 tweets
1 Apr
We've held 15 town halls and absolutely no one has said:

"Hey Jeff, I want our next senator to keep the filibuster intact even if it means no progress on voting rights, minimum wage, broadband, or climate."

What I *am* hearing is:

"Don't cave to McConnell."

Loud and clear.
I think we all know that McConnell's incentives are to just use the filibuster to try and block everything he can.

If that happens, then no one can call it a tool that produces compromise - it's just a weapon that grinds everything to a halt.

And we can't allow that.
As a specific example, using the filibuster to block voting rights legislation that is needed to protect voters of color from the wave of suppression bills we're seeing is literally Jim Crow behavior.

We'd be foolish to say, "Well, darn, guess that's just the way it goes."
Read 4 tweets
10 Mar
BREAKING: A bipartisan deal on school reopening has been reached.

The two sticking points had been whether districts would be able to respond in the event of an outbreak and whether middle/high schools would resume in-person schooling in a way that allowed for social distancing.
That’s why the last bill was vetoed.

It wasn’t about whether to reopen - it was about how to do it safely.

Today’s deal strikes a balance:
All elementary schools will be required to operate under plan A, which is full in-person instruction with lots of safety precautions. *Note: The majority of elementary schools in the state are already doing this.*
Read 18 tweets
9 Mar
Busy day in Union County yesterday.

Our first town hall was in-person at a local park.
Folks gave their thoughts about disability awareness, veteran’s health care, and gerrymandering.
Then I drove over to Main Street in Monroe, parked outside the courthouse, put my laptop on my trunk, and did a virtual town hall with another 50 people.
Read 12 tweets
28 Feb
I spent the morning at a vaccination event for teachers and school personnel.

It was a massive operation with lots of moving parts, but I just want to tell you about one piece of it.

In the picture, you can see Georgina filling a syringe with vaccine from the vial.

That's her designated job at these events: fill syringes.

She's excellent at it, and her skill is absolutely crucial.


Because, given that she's done it thousands of times, she's learned how to get six or even seven doses out of a vial that officially contains only five.
I watched her work for several minutes.

Basically, she's perfected the art of getting every last drop.
Read 7 tweets

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