Governor Calvo signed two proclamations this morning that remind the Legislature of important initiatives that need their support.
Governor pushes for maternity ward at ceremony for Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies month
The Governor again pushed for legislative support to modernize the maternity ward. He asked senators to give him financial authority at the proclamation of October as Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Month. The senators are considering a bill that calls for borrowing to modernize the ward. The Governor is asking senators to authorize him to find other ways to pay for the modernization.
Head Start Awareness month brings universal pre-K initiative to light
About 30 minutes later, Governor Calvo made a push for another critical policy — universal pre-school (pre-K). “As we proclaim October as Head Start Awareness Month, it’s important for senators to put words into action and pass Sen. Yamashita’s universal pre-school bill.”
Governor Calvo, in his 2014 state of the island address, laid out a major policy initiative to allow every four-year-old to go to school, regardless of their parents’ income level. This universal pre-K program required two action items: first, an appropriation of money that gets the program off the ground; second, a law that permanizes the program.
Senators urged to pass Yamashita’s pre-K legislation
The Legislature recently adopted the Governor’s budget request dedicating $4 million to fund the start of universal pre-K in public schools. Superintendent Jon Fernandez and his team immediately went to work to map out the first schools that will offer the program for all four-year-olds, regardless of income level, etc. Sen. Yamashita’s pending bill will codify the program, making it a right for four-year-olds to learn in a structured setting in public school pre-school. That bill has languished in the Committee on Education.
Head Start began five decades ago in the country, and on Guam
The Head Start program on Guam and in the nation celebrates its 49th year anniversary. Beginning in 1965, Guam was one of the first communities in the nation to adopt the Head Start program – one year after then-President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the War on Poverty.
It was designed to bridge the gap in education between middle-class, well-to-do families’ children, and children of low-income families.