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Rep. George Young chosen for NCSL fellows program, schedules town hall meeting

Darla Shelden Story by on May 17, 2017 . Click on author name to view all articles by this author. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Rep. George Young.  Photo rovided.

Rep. George Young. Photo provided.

Staff Report

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma legislator is one of 33 state lawmakers and legislative staff members from across the nation chosen for a fellowship that focuses on children’s issues.

Rep. George E. Young, Sr., was selected by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) for its sixth Early Learning Fellows Program. One of the goals of the program is to support legislators and staffers who are experienced or emerging leaders on early childhood and early learning issues.

“I am honored and excited about being selected for this program,” said Reverend Young, D-Oklahoma City. “I have long believed that early childhood education is the key to our society and its continued growth, improvement and success. I look forward to learning from others during the fellowship, and returning to work on policy and programs to improve the early childhood education of students in my legislative district.”

Young serves on the Potts Family Foundation’s Early Childhood Committee, and said he plans to “integrate my local experience with the broader range of those selected for the NCSL fellowship.”

One of the goals of the fellowship ‘kickoff meeting’ is to “promote an exchange of ideas and solutions related to early learning, the early achievement gap, and many other birth-to-age-8 issues,” NCSL reported.

The tentative agenda for the kickoff meeting June 25-27 in Omaha, NE, includes seminars on “brain science: how early experiences shape the brain”; “economic return on early childhood and sustaining gains”; “Every Student Succeeds Act and early childhood”; “an early childhood public/private partnership”; and a site visit to Educare of Omaha, a center-based early childhood program.

Fellowship participants are expected to participate in two webinars: one in July on state preschool programs and another in August on young dual-language learners.

At the Fellows’ final meeting in September, “You will learn about the power of play, math in the early years, the child care workforce, and more,” wrote Alison May, NCSL staff coordinator.

Records of the State Department of Education show that only half of the 688,000 students who attended Oklahoma schools last year were white. Of the other half: 16.21 percent were Hispanic; 14.28 percent, Native American; 8.87 percent, African American/non-Hispanic; 8.38 percent were of two or more races; 2.26 percent, Asian or Pacific Islander.

Also, a lot of the children in the five schools in Young’s district receive food “backpacks,” and many of those youngsters give their backpacks to their parents because they, too, don’t have enough to eat and therefore they’re hungry, Young said. Two years ago, 30 percent of Oklahoma’s children lived in homes where the parent(s) lacked secure employment, according to the OICA.

One-in-four Oklahoma children are food insecure and nearly 30% rely on food stamps, research indicates. About 90% of the children in Oklahoma City public schools qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

A study performed by the Tufts University Center on Hunger, Poverty and Nutrition Policy demonstrated that there is a link between nutrition and cognitive development, providing evidence that the brain’s ability to develop can be negatively impacted when adequate nutrition is not available.

In related news, Rep. Young has scheduled a “town hall” meeting in Oklahoma City the evening of Thursday, May 18.

The event will be held at the Ralph Ellison Library, 2000 NE 23rd Street, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The town hall meeting “is intended not only for the constituents of Oklahoma House District 99 but also for all residents of Oklahoma,” said Dr. Young.

He will discuss measures he filed in the Legislature this year and the challenges of achieving passage of any particular piece of legislation.

This year, the 101 state House members filed 1,340 bills and 24 joint resolutions, and the 48 state Senators filed 830 bills and 46 joint resolutions. That’s a total of 2,240 measures.

The Legislature is comprised of 149 members who represent districts throughout the state, extending from Kenton, near the New Mexico line, to Quapaw, near the Missouri line, and from Chilocco north of Newkirk, near the Kansas state line, to Colbert southwest of Durant, near the Red River.

A second-term lawmaker, Young plans to discuss the legislative process and engage the audience in conversations about their concerns and suggestions.

Prior to a “Newsmakers” program in Oklahoma City last November, Young said his priorities include:

* the importance and significance of focusing on pre-K and kindergarten through sixth grade children;

* “trying to get the whole community not just involved but physically showing up and taking on a big role in children’s lives, because of the destruction of families today”;

* trying to develop within children a sense of hope, “because many of them – even at a very young age – don’t see any possibilities ahead of them”;

* encouraging parents to read to their children for at least 30 minutes each day, to instill in them a love of reading “because if children aren’t reading by the third grade, we’ll lose them.” According to the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA), two-thirds of Oklahoma fourth-graders in 2015 were not proficient in reading.

* Young reminded the “Newsmakers” audience that the student population in schools today doesn’t look like it did 20 or 30 years ago. “I have five traditional schools in my legislative district, and probably over half of the students are Hispanic,” the second-term legislator said.

Records of the State Department of Education show that only half of the 688,000 students who attended Oklahoma schools last year were white. Of the other half: 16.21 percent were Hispanic; 14.28 percent, Native American; 8.87 percent, African American/non-Hispanic; 8.38 percent were of two or more races; 2.26 percent, Asian or Pacific Islander.

Also, a lot of the children in the five schools in Young’s district receive food “backpacks,” and many of those youngsters give their backpacks to their parents because they, too, don’t have enough to eat and therefore they’re hungry, Young said. Two years ago, 30 percent of Oklahoma’s children lived in homes where the parent(s) lacked secure employment, according to the OICA.

One-in-four Oklahoma children are food insecure and nearly 30% rely on food stamps, research indicates. About 90% of the children in Oklahoma City public schools qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

A study performed by the Tufts University Center on Hunger, Poverty and Nutrition Policy demonstrated that there is a link between nutrition and cognitive development, providing evidence that the brain’s ability to develop can be negatively impacted when adequate nutrition is not available.

In related news, Rep. Young has scheduled a “town hall” meeting in Oklahoma City the evening of Thursday, May 18.

The event will be held at the Ralph Ellison Library, 2000 NE 23rd Street, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The town hall meeting “is intended not only for the constituents of Oklahoma House District 99 but also for all residents of Oklahoma,” said Dr. Young.

He will discuss measures he filed in the Legislature this year and the challenges of achieving passage of any particular piece of legislation.

This year, the 101 state House members filed 1,340 bills and 24 joint resolutions, and the 48 state Senators filed 830 bills and 46 joint resolutions. That’s a total of 2,240 measures.

The Legislature is comprised of 149 members who represent districts throughout the state, extending from Kenton, near the New Mexico line, to Quapaw, near the Missouri line, and from Chilocco north of Newkirk, near the Kansas state line, to Colbert southwest of Durant, near the Red River.

A second-term lawmaker, Young plans to discuss the legislative process and engage the audience in conversations about their concerns and suggestions.

CapitolBeatOK.com

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