The District of Columbia is seen as a national leader in early education. But that has not always been the case. DC has come a long way in the past 25 years, and our city’s improvement in this area of education is largely due to one of the city’s many trailblazers, BB Otero.
Now running a consulting practice, Otero Strategy Group, and serving as a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and special assistant to Montgomery County, MD Executive Marc Elrich, BB still works in the early childhood space. And, she is one of Under 3 DC’s most trusted advisors.
Before starting her business, BB served four years as Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. Prior to that, she founded and led CentroNía, a nationally recognized child and family services organization that has served more than 2,400 children and their families over the past 30 years. As part of this work, she also developed DC Bilingual Public Charter School and multiple child development sites throughout the Washington region.
BB shared four key ideas about the current state of early education in the District and how to move closer to realizing Birth-to-Three for All DC as a fully funded and implemented law.
- The District needs to stabilize and grow the current supply of seats for our youngest children, our babies, particularly because the pandemic has had a devastating impact on providers’ ability to remain open.
- In updating the cost model, the District should take into consideration the added costs of health requirements adopted during COVID, as these will be part of the long-term program models.
- In coordination with providers, use the federal relief funds in creative and innovative ways that set the stage for the next 10 years.
- Heavily investing in the workforce pipeline and compensation are critical if we are to reach any level of universality as the B3 law envisions.
Our community will heed BB’s wise counsel as we move toward the beginning of a District budget season that will focus on putting DC back on track for life after COVID.
There is one thing we all know for sure–DC’s economy won’t recover without childcare. #ChildCareIsEssential