The Start Kids Deserve: Childcare and Early Learning Solutions

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Numerous research studies have found that developmentally appropriate learning gives young children the start they need to thrive at home, in school, and as they grow into adults. Yet, for many families, enriching childcare and preschool are out of reach.
Join us as we discuss the lack of access to childcare and early childhood education, the pocketbook issues that cause many young families to struggle financially, and the high-stakes decisions parents have to make when choosing care. We'll also suggest steps that lawmakers and employers can take right now to help all kids become their best selves.
Sign up now to learn about the current state of early childhood education and add your perspectives!

Our Panel

Andrea Paluso is the co-founder and Executive Director of Family Forward Oregon and Family Forward Action, nonprofits working to advance economic justice for mothers and caregivers. She has master's degrees from Columbia University in social work and public health and a work history in public policy and nonprofit program management. In 2015, Andrea was a recipient of President Obama's Champions of Change for Working Families award. She is also a mother to two kids ages 10 and 12.
Carmen Rubio joined Latino Network as the Executive Director in 2009, where she and her team work to advance the Latino community in education, leadership, and civic engagement in Oregon. Prior to this, Carmen served on staff for former Multnomah County Commissioner Serena Cruz Walsh, former Portland Mayor Tom Potter, and Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish.
Carmen currently serves on the boards of All Hands Raised, University of Oregon Alumni Association, and Social Venture Partners Portland. She also serves as a member of the State of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission and the Pioneer Courthouse Square Board of Trustees. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from University of Oregon and completed two years of graduate studies at the University of Washington, School of Communications. In 2015 she earned a certificate from the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University.
Donna Schnitker has been working in the early childhood field for over 35 years, the last 24 as a Head Start Director. Donna started as a childcare provider in Idaho and then migrated to Burns where she worked for Harney ESD. In 1993, Harney ESD applied for the Head Start program and Donna was selected to be the director. She has been the director of the Head Start program ever since.
Donna has a Master’s Degree in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education and an Administrator’s License from TSPC. In addition, She has served as the PIC (Public Information Committee) chairman for the past 23 years and has served on several committees in Salem representing the Oregon Head Start Association. Most recently she was appointed to the Early Learning Council.


Raahi Reddy, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program director at Metro, has been a community leader, policy advocate, and educator for more than 20 years. As a faculty member at the University of Oregon’s Labor and Education and Research Center, Reddy led research that examined the growing prevalence of low-wage sector jobs under an initiative called Equity in the Economy. Before that, she served as chief of staff for an 85,000-member union representing employees in six counties in Southern California, helping transform the union’s mission and priorities.


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