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Public Policy Notes & Updates

September 24, 2014

As the Montessori Public Policy Initiative gears up for another busy academic year, we want to keep the state groups and advocacy coalitions abreast of the work that’s been done and our organizational structure moving forward.

Through the significant work that was undertaken by MPPI consultants Christine Lowry and Kimberlee Belcher-Badal on behalf of the initiative last year, we were successful in supporting many states with their advocacy goals. We want to express our gratitude for their hard work and dedication as they move on to other endeavors now that their contract period with MPPI has ended.

In the coming months, the MPPI will undertake a needs-assessment of the initiative in an effort to identify and prioritize the issues in the states; identify how the MPPI council can help support the work of the states working at a grassroots level; determine how to best use shared resources with the two national organizations to support the states; and continue to examine the best structure for providing a high-level of legislative and policy guidance to ensure that Montessori is well represented in each state.

We will continue to update the state groups and advocacy coalitions via the listserve and respond to inquiries and concerns as we undertake the needs-assessment process. The vision of the MPPI is that “through coordination and collaboration with national organizations and state coalitions, the MPPI will support and advance the implementation of high quality Montessori through advocacy action.”

Please feel free to direct questions or concerns to any of the founding members of the MPPI Council:

Richard Ungerer, AMS
Bonnie Beste, AMI/USA
Sharon Damore, AIMS

June 10, 2014

In the most recent issue of Montessori Life (Summer 2014, Vol. 26, No.2), AMS executive director, Richard Ungerer, asks some key questions as the Montessori community begins to understand the real importance of engagement in support of high quality Early Childhood and K – 12 education by a variety of stakeholders, including Montessori educators, teacher educators, administrators, and parents.

We know empirically, as well as from the growing body of research, the value of fully implemented Montessori education for children and their families. In the current landscape of educational public policy, accountability is the foundation of each and every federal initiative and proposed legislation. How does our community fare in that climate?

Now is the critical time for each of us to engage in these discussions and to take action in support of recognition of the Montessori teacher credential, of the validity of the Montessori curriculum, and of the outstanding value and benefits of our prepared environments as they reflect our philosophy of the developing and growing student and the importance of responding to the needs of the “whole child.”

It is up to each of us to educate our policy makers, our state agency managers in the Office of Early Education & Care and the state Departments of Education, and those families who do not yet know what Montessori education can offer to their children.

There are now 25 states with Montessori groups. Most are in their infancy; some have been doing the work of advocating for years. All need your energy, your enthusiasm, and your support. Join your state group to find out what you can do. The most-up-to date contact list can be found on the Montessori Forward website. If you do not see your state listed, contact Christine Lowery, coordinator for the Montessori Public Policy Initiative.

Starting a state group is an exciting, rewarding, and enjoyable way to become involved.

—Christine Lowery, Montessori Public Policy Initiative Coordinator

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