Educators Play Key Role in Supporting Students With Dyslexia

Educators Play Key Role in Supporting Students With Dyslexia

On this episode of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with Danielle Thompson, who is the president on the board of directors for the Oregon branch of the International Dyslexia Association. She has been an educator for more than two decades. And as a dyslexia screener and tutor, she has been on a journey to understand the impact of dyslexia on students and how educators can do more to help.


Throughout the episode, Danielle covers the different aspects of dyslexia. She first walks us through the definition of dyslexia as, “characterized by difficulties with accurate and or fluent word recognition and poor spelling and poor decoding abilities.” This can be taken a step further and even influence the processing of sound. She then follows up that there are plenty of misconceptions about children with dyslexia – the most common one being that dyslexics see words backwards. Another aspect Danielle clears up is that it’s a neurobiological condition that is not correlated to one’s intelligence.

Danielle also discusses the “continuum of severity” for dyslexia, and how some students are able to mask dyslexic traits while others are not. Then, the prevalence of dyslexia in Oregon is touched on, as well as what needs to change in the education system to properly teach those with dyslexia. The primary way to address this is through screening processes.

Finally, she provides resources for parents, educators, professionals, and those interested in finding out more about dyslexia, the screening processes, etc.

Additional Resources:

International Dyslexia Association – Oregon

The Economic Impact of Dyslexia on California – Whitepaper

Florida Center for Reading Research


Rafael Otto: [00:00:00] This is the Early Link Podcast. I’m your host Rafael Otto. Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Danielle Thompson, who is the president on the board of directors for the Oregon branch of the International Dyslexia Association. She has been an educator for more than two decades and as a dyslexia screener and tutor, she has been on a journey to understand the impact of dyslexia on students and how educators can do more to help.
Danielle, welcome to the podcast.

Danielle Thompson: [00:00:25] Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Rafael Otto: [00:00:26] Great to have you. So start us off by talking about dyslexia, what it is, how we define it.

Danielle Thompson: [00:00:32] All right. Well, dyslexia is a specific learning difference or a specific learning disability and it’s neurobiological in origin. We can see the learning differences in the brain. And it’s characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and poor spelling and poor decoding abilities.

And then those difficulties can typically result from a deficit in the phonological or the sound component of language. And it’s often unexpected relative to other strengths that a person might show. And then secondary difficulties that can come along with dyslexia can be like, limited reading exposure, and then a lower vocabulary development and difficulties with comprehension. Dyslexia occurs across like all backgrounds and all cultures all around the world, and it can be diagnosed. But many people have symptoms or characteristics of dyslexia and are not diagnosed, because it can range from mild to severe, to profound.

Rafael Otto: [00:01:40] What are some of the misconceptions about dyslexia and how it shows up in students?

Danielle Thompson: [00:01:45] The most common one I’ve heard is that people think that dyslexia is seeing things backwards and there’s no, um, difficulty in terms of how a person with dyslexia sees the printed page or the printed screen. But the challenge for students with dyslexia or adults with dyslexia comes from the way that their brain processes language. And scientists can see from FMRIs there’s a different neural signature for people with dyslexia when asked to do language related tasks or in general, perhaps a different brain organization. So they use different pathways to process language and it can take longer and it can make it more difficult. But seeing things backwards is a most common myth. The fact that it might occur more in one gender than the other is another myth. It’s generally pretty equally found across genders.

Rafael Otto: [00:02:37] Okay.

Danielle Thompson: [00:02:38] And it’s not for a lack of instruction or an early exposure to a print rich environment. It’s not due to poor parenting.

Rafael Otto: [00:02:49] Right. This is a neuro-biological condition that, that people are dealing with, right?

Danielle Thompson: [00:02:53] Yes, and it’s not related or tied to intelligence.

Rafael Otto: [00:02:57] Can it manifest later in life or is it typically something someone is born with?

Danielle Thompson: [00:03:03] You’re born with your brain working in certain ways that scientists have later determined. If your brain sort of has this structure, or responds to speech sounds milliseconds slower, that those students go on to then have reading difficulties. But many people, if they’re not severe enough, might mask that they have this learning difference or learning disability.

Please download the full transcript below.

Parent Advocacy, SB 236 and Changing the way we Talk About Young Children

Parent Advocacy, SB 236 and Changing the way we Talk About Young Children

On this episode of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with Andrew Yoshihara, who is a member of Black Child Development PDX and founder and executive director of Bustin’ Barriers, a nonprofit organization that serves kids with disabilities. He is also a parent advocate and has been involved with legislative advocacy in 2021.


Andrew begins by recounting how he got involved with Black Child Development PDX, and what influenced his decision to testify on behalf of Oregon Senate Bill 236. With the recent passing of the bill, he then notes his wishes for the future in regards to the suspension and expulsion that disproportionately affects Black and brown children.

Next, Andrew discusses his role as founder and executive director of Bustin’ Barriers. Specifically what it means to him to act as a mentor to the kids in the program. Then he circles back to his advocacy work with Black Child Development PDX, and notes how he witnessed true “Black excellence,” among his colleagues.

Ultimately, he believes that although there is still a lot of work to do on an institutional level, the passage of this bill will give these kids a real chance to be heard and understood.

Additional Resources:

Bustin’ Barriers


Black Child Development PDX


Rafael Otto: Welcome to the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. I appreciate you tuning in as always, whether it’s on 99.1 FM in the Portland area, streaming at or wherever you find your podcasts. If you do tune in on the radio, you can find us on Sundays at 4:30 PM.

Today, I’m speaking with Andrew Yoshihara, who is a member of Black Child Development PDX and founder and executive director of Bustin’ Barriers, a nonprofit organization that serves kids with disabilities.

He’s also a parent advocate and has been involved with some legislative advocacy in 2021. Andrew, great having you on the podcast today. How are you? 

Andrew Yoshihara: I’m doing well, man. Thank you for having me.

Rafael Otto: Great to have you here. Let’s talk a little bit about your story in terms of how you got involved with Black Child Development PDX. What did that look like?

Andrew Yoshihara: Yeah, for sure. For me, I have three children, a 15 year old, a five-year-old and a three-year-old and a few years back we adopted our five-year-old and our three-year-old. And, when we did that, we started receiving services, for some behavioral stuff and just kind of some social, emotional stuff.

And, during the time of getting those services, we’ve met some really great providers that helped us with our children. And one of those providers told me about the bill that BCD PDX was trying to move forward and they were looking for some parent support for somebody to come testify.

I had some time in my schedule, so I decided to sign up to testify. And honestly it just was one of the most amazing experiences that I’ve had. And I’m so glad that someone kind of pushed me in their direction. I’m super excited to become a more intricate part in their organization to help them keep on fighting for Black children and all of these things.

Rafael Otto: Tell me about that experience of testifying. What was that like for you?

Andrew Yoshihara: Yeah, man. So I run a nonprofit that I founded, as you mentioned before. So, being an executive director, you know, a lot of my work is public speaking in front of a lot of people, a lot of meetings, all the time. So, the speaking part was not really anything new to me.

The interesting part to me was the processes and procedures that everyone followed in the legislative process, and just how this bill was treated in terms of it being predominantly a bill pushed by a Black organization to really help Black children and other marginalized populations,  specifically with the emphasis on Black children, and it felt a little jumbled in the processes.

Rafael Otto: Was it hard to find advocates in the legislature for SB 236? And I guess we should just recap a little bit: SB 236 bans suspension and expulsion in early childhood settings. That bill was passed, late in the legislative session for 2021. That ban will go into effect in 2026. And I think it’s also important for people to know that there are supports built into that plan for educators, for working with young children. And I know that part of the reason that Black Child Development PDX became involved in this issue is that suspension and expulsion disproportionately affects children of color and in particular Black children, and even more specifically Black boys in early childhood settings. 

So that’s a little bit about what the bill entails and my original question was, did you find… was there support in the legislature for it? Was that difficult to find?

Andrew Yoshihara: I can’t say that it was hard to find support because the bill passed, which we’re super grateful for. What was hard was to hear a lot of the language that was coming out of some of the legislators’ mouths about, you know, these children and these are babies. These are pre-K.

So we’re not talking about high school kids or middle school kids, or even like fifth graders. We’re talking about three, four, five-year-olds.

Please download the full transcript below.

No Such Thing as a Bad Preschooler: An Interview with Dalia Avello

No Such Thing as a Bad Preschooler: An Interview with Dalia Avello

On this episode of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with guest Dalia Avello. Dalia serves on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Montessori Association, trained as a psychologist, is a certified Montessori teacher, and is an expert in Education and Child Development. 


Dalia Avello has worked for over 15 years in private, public, and non-profit organizations in the areas of research and organizational development. She has dedicated the last 10 years of her career to Infancy and Early Childhood, with special focus on adversity and mental health policy. A large part of her work includes helping organizations successfully implement monitoring programs tracking children’s physical and socio- emotional development.

Through her work with the Oregon Montessori Association she has led projects in the areas of advocacy, professional development, inclusion and social justice. She shares her time between her work on behalf of the Montessori community, her own consulting company, and volunteering as a NICU baby cuddler in a local pediatric hospital.


Dalia begins by discussing the origins and the individual behind Montessori education. In addition, she notes the motivations behind it, and how they closely relate to Senate Bill 236 in our Oregon legislation. Further, she recounts her experience testifying before the legislature in favor of the bill and her overall influence in that process.

Next, Dalia touches on one of her projects pertaining to trauma-informed care in young children. Finally, she notes how brilliant children are, and why we should allow them to participate more in legislations pertaining to their care and education.

Additional Resources:

What is Montessori?

The Montessori Method


Black Child Development PDX

Trauma Informed Oregon


Rafael Otto: This is the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. As usual, you can catch us on the airwaves on 99.1 FM in Portland on Sundays at 4:30 PM or subscribe and listen, wherever you find your podcasts. Today, I’m speaking with Dalia Avello who serves on the board of directors of the Oregon Montessori Association.

She trained as a psychologist, is a certified Montessori teacher and has expertise in the education and international development fields. She has led her career internationally, but calls Oregon home.

Dalia, it’s great to have you on the podcast today. Welcome!

Dalia Avello: Thank you. Thank you for inviting me.

Rafael Otto: Let’s start with a little bit of background about the Montessori approach to education. Can you talk about that history a little bit and give us some context? And what does it mean? What does the Montessori experience look like for young children and for teachers?

Dalia Avello: Absolutely. I would love to tell you. It’s very interesting, but we need to go quite far in time. Think about late 1800s in Italy in Europe. So there was this woman called Maria who, uh, was quite smart, very determined. She wanted to be a doctor. Obviously not something that people expected her to do. But she persevered and eventually graduated, doing very well as a physician, from the University of Rome. And being a physician, she got a position helping in a psychiatric hospital associated with the university.

And one of the things that she describes in her books as seeing is that the hospitals in Rome were filled with children that were experiencing poverty. But she particularly wanted to work in this psychiatric hospital that was called “The Great Asylum of Rome,” where they were the “feebleminded” and the “idiots.” That’s how the terms were used at the time. And so they, um, have all these children there together with the adults, and they had no hope for them because they didn’t expect the society, do not expect these children to be able to do anything. So she felt very strongly about them, as such to work with them.

At the time, she also fell in love with someone and got pregnant, but out of wedlock. And that was a Catholic country where that was not something you could do. So she had to disappear for some time to have the baby. She did a lot of studying about what was happening in France. Because you might remember from studying, there was this boy in France that was found in the jungle when he was about fourteen.  There are movies about him.

So a couple of physicians had found this boy and they were determined to bring this wild child to society and help him how to speak and teach. So she was interested in what these physicians in France did. She translated all of that while she waited for the baby to be born. Came back with all this knowledge from her European tour.

The baby went to a family because it was so hard for her to become a doctor. And I think she wanted to continue in the career. But imagine a mom that had to abandon her child. So she felt very connected with these children, started working with them and saw them as children that, because they were under the care of doctors, they were not under the care of educators.

Rafael Otto: Right.

Dalia Avello: And so she started working with them using these tools that the French doctors had created, and started to get really good results and people were very impressed. They were like, “Well, how do you do it Maria? Like, how is it possible? We had no hope for the children.” And so she created an institute that also took, not just the children from the hospital, but the children that were at the schools.  And they were deemed, how do you say, the most dangerous in the community, the children that were subnormal, the children that could not learn. Those children, the schools have the permission to expel them, but no one had the responsibility for taking care of them. So they were left to their own devices and they will become, you know, homeless.

So, families sometimes reject them. She took all of them. She took all of the children actually from the asylum, plus all the children they didn’t want, and created the center and lived with them for 10 years. And then after the 10 years of huge success, she was very famous, you know, and she  started to wonder: If I get all these results with children that had some difficulties, the children that are neurodiverse, how we will call them today, what will happen if I work with children that are developing normally?

And at the time there was this project in the slums of Rome being built. And, um, this gentleman had this group of abandoned children doing all kinds of things that they should not be doing. And there was no one controlling the children or taking care of them. And for him, it was cheaper to hire this lady that he saw in the newspaper than to pay for the damage these little criminals who are going to have. This is all the descriptions from the books.

So they gave her these children, she started the school and then she started to get tremendous results. And her key? She wasn’t an educator. She couldn’t have worked at a school even if she wanted, because she was a physician, not a teacher. She didn’t have the credentials. So she used the scientific method and did a lot of observation and experimentation, created many materials.

And based on that, she said to get results see what worked for the  children and the thing grew and grew. She published a book. It was supposed to be called, “Scientific Pedagogy.” That was what Montessori education should have been called. But then, um, you will know like “Obamacare” and “The Affordable Care Act,” the Scientific Pedagogy ended up being called, Maria Montessori” or “Montessori Pedagogy,” which is what we know today. And it’s essentially a system of vocational pedagogy that is based on the development of children, and it’s based on serving the needs of children so that you help them develop. And the classrooms are, well, spaces for the children to flourish.

So the experience for the child is an environment where they feel welcome, where they have materials are very attractive to them, or they can work and they can develop the skills that they want to develop.

Rafael Otto: You mention this as part of the history in the schools that children were being expelled from the schools, and those were the kids that Maria wanted to work with initially. And so there’s a connection to what’s been happening here in Oregon, locally with the bill, which is called Senate bill 236, which prevents suspension and expulsion.

As of today recording this podcast, we know that that bill has passed and is headed to the governor’s desk, Governor Brown’s desk, for signing. Talk about that connection between the history of the Montessori approach and what’s happening today in Oregon with the passage of that bill.

Please download the full transcript below.

2021 Legislative Recap

2021 Legislative Recap

On this episode of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with three guests about the latest legislative session in Oregon. They talk about highs and lows, what passed and did not in the interest of children and families, and what it was like to move through the session virtually.


Dana Hepper is the director of policy & advocacy at Children’s Institute, overseeing the organization’s legislative advocacy and community engagement work. 

Anthony Castaneda works as the policy manager at Latino Network, a non-profit transforming the lives of Latino children, youth, and families in the Portland metro area. 

Amanda Manjarrez brings creative leadership and a deep commitment to social justice to her work as director of public policy and government affairs at Foundations for a Better Oregon. 


The guests agree that the general mood for early childhood advocates post-session is “hopeful and exhausted!” While there were challenges associated with the pivot to a virtual legislative session, it was largely more accessible to those who could not easily make the commute to Salem. Parents, providers, and community members from around the state were able to successfully advocate for legislation that will support Oregon children and families.


Rafael Otto: This is the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. Thanks for tuning in. You can catch us on the airwaves on 99.1 FM in Portland on Sunday at 4:30 PM or subscribe and listen wherever you find your podcasts.

Today, I’m speaking with three guests about the latest legislative session here in Oregon for 2021. We’ll be talking about highs and lows. What passed, what didn’t and in the interest of keeping it in the interest of children and families. We’ll also talk about what it was like to move through session virtually; hopefully the only time we’ll have to do it that way. I’ll be talking with Amanda Manjarrez from Foundations for a Better Oregon, Anthony Castaneda from Latino Network, and Dana Hepper from Children’s Institute.

Hi everyone. Thanks for joining me today on the podcast.

Anthony Castaneda: Hi there.

Dana Hepper: Thank you.

Amanda Manjarrez: Thank you.

Rafael Otto: First of all, let’s just kind of check in. Is there a sigh of relief now that the session has passed us? And that work is over and we’re just a little bit of a pause. What’s the mood?

Anthony, do you want to start?

Anthony Castaneda: Sure. I think, at least for me, the dust is still settling. I’m beginning to understand what really has happened. What are some of the changes, and what were some of the successes, and what were some of the failures for us.

Rafael Otto: Amanda, Dana, how’re you feeling?

Amanda Manjarrez: I think that captures it pretty well. There’s a lot of dust. I think a lot happened in the final week of the session, even for folks who were tracking it or have been tracking it pretty closely for the last five months. And so I would say in terms of how I’m feeling? Um, hopeful and exhausted.

Rafael Otto: Dana, what do you think?

Dana Hepper: Yeah, I would have to agree there. Exhausted is a great descriptor of what us, and including legislators, are all feeling right now. In fact, the speaker of the house kind of wrapped up the session saying, “Hey, I want you all to take a break in July. Don’t do any work.” So I think that all speaks to how we’re feeling.

We know what bills passed and didn’t pass but we’re still trying to uncover why.

Rafael Otto: I want to talk about some of the specific bills and talk about what those highlights are. But I know it was a strange session for advocates for a lot of reasons, because it was virtual. It just made the work of advocacy, I think, a lot more difficult.

Amanda, do you have thoughts on that? What was it like for you?

Amanda Manjarrez: Yeah. So it was an interesting session for many reasons. As you mentioned, it was all virtual because of the pandemic, but also, 2020 has been a little crazy. And so I think heading into session, while many of us are navigating the pandemic and trying to think about how we can continue to move Oregon forward, there was a lot of banding together to figure out how we could work collectively to advance some of the longstanding and complex educational challenges that we’re facing. So we actually worked closely with the coalition called the Oregon Partners for Education Justice. I think I’ve mentioned that previously in this podcast.

Rafael Otto: Yeah.

Amanda Manjarrez: Yeah. A cross-cultural network of dozens of community organizations, culturally specific groups, education advocates, etc., who are championing racially just policies. It was… I think, on the positive side, more accessible than it’s ever been. I would say I would give the legislative session a mixed bag because in terms of accessibility and inclusivity, we had communities from across Oregon who were actually able to engage in the way that they had never had before.

Folks didn’t have to travel to Salem to testify, especially for our partners out in Eastern Oregon. That’s a long journey. A better online platform emerged, I think by necessity. And to a certain extent, lobbyists and members of the public were actually navigating some of the same online information.

So it did level access in a way for folks who don’t spend their time in Salem. And so I know that many of our partners within the coalition, myself, others, spent countless hours tracking legislation online, meeting with policy makers virtually, wordsmithing, bill submitting, letters, etc. And you could actually see the growing influence of that community engagement, and culturally specific partners being able to show up and share their experience through the process.

That said, in terms of transparency, I do think, to Dana’s point, same old. Decisions are often made behind closed doors, and you know, it’s a little more challenging when you can’t go to a legislator’s office, talk to their staff, have a conversation about what’s going on with some of these budgets.

And oftentimes items are posted without much time for review. So you’ll get documents that, you know, a hundred-plus pages that are posted a few hours before a public hearing begins. And in some cases, especially towards the end, the public hearings go away. So I do think we have a lot of work to do in terms of transparency. But I do hope that there are parts of this virtual session that sustain moving forward, because I do think it made it accessible for folks who hadn’t been part of it in the past.

Rafael Otto: Dana, Anthony, do you have additions to that?

Dana Hepper: This is Dana. I just really agree. I think being able to meet with legislators from home or from work, being able to testify at hearings remotely, was really important for people from all across Oregon, to be able to participate in the process in that way. And I hope we hold on to that more inclusive approach even as the Capitol building reopens to the public. But yeah, Amanda rightly named a really big con, which was, if the only way to contact a legislator is to call them or email them or text them, and they don’t necessarily call you or email you or text you back, you’re just kind of stuck. Whereas when, you know, Amanda, Anthony, I, people who are professional advocates can be in the building, we can usually find someone within a day or so and try to get the answers that we need. Why is the bill being killed or what is the controversy? This time it was just so much harder to get that information, even for us who do this for a living. And that makes it harder for us to communicate that back to the communities across Oregon that we work with.

Please download the full transcript below.

Oregon, National Reports Provide Child Well-being Data, Address Need for Continued Investment in Early Childhood

Oregon, National Reports Provide Child Well-being Data, Address Need for Continued Investment in Early Childhood

On this episode of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with Jenifer Wagley and Chris Coughlin from Our Children Oregon about their advocacy work, and what the data is telling us about children and families in Oregon and across the country.


Jenifer Wagley is the CEO and Executive Director of Our Children Oregon, an advocacy and research organization committed to improving child well-being statewide so all children and youth can achieve their full potential. The organization was born under her leadership after she successfully led the merger of two historic Oregon organizations, Children First for Oregon and The Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon. Jenifer brings more than 15 years of deep experience in community development, grass-roots power building, and organizational leadership. She was a 2018 recipient of the national Local Initiative Support Corporation Rubinger Fellowship. Jenifer spent her fellowship year working to build bridges across a divided nation. Her time spent writing, researching, traveling the country, and presenting and engaging diverse audiences eventually led her to Oregon. Jenifer is driven by her passion to create a more equitable, healthy, and loving society.

Chris Coughlin has extensive policy, advocacy, communications, coalition management, and outreach experience. She has worked with communities, non-profits, political campaigns, and businesses, as staff, consultant, and volunteer on a wide range of issues for more than 30 years. Chris has focused much of her work in non-profit management having served as Executive Director of several non-profits. Chris has worked on policy issues impacting children and families including child welfare, health care, education funding, and tax and revenue issues.


Jennifer provides an overview of Our Children Oregon and describes the organizations “whole-child philosophy.” Next, Jennifer and Chris describe the state trends in child well-being found in the KIDS COUNT Data Book and share what story the 32 years of data is telling us about how Oregon’s children are doing. They also describe what the data tells us about the impacts of COVID on children and families and discuss the benefits of the new Child Tax Credit. Finally, Jennifer and Chris look ahead to the next 30 years of data collection and share what changes they hope to see for children nationally and in Oregon.

Additional Resources:

Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal’

CBS News 2021 Child Tax Credit Information

IRS Child Tax Credit FAQ

2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book


Rafael Otto: [00:00:00] This is the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. As usual, you can catch us on the airwaves on 99.1 FM in Portland on Sundays at 4:30 PM or subscribe and listen wherever you find your podcasts. Today, I’m speaking with Jenifer Wagley and Chris Coughlin from Our Children Oregon. Jenifer is the executive director and Chris is the policy advocacy and engagement director. Both have extensive experience working on advocacy and policy in the nonprofit sector on issues relevant to children and families. We’re going to get into that and talk about some of those things today and take a look at the data picture. What’s happening for children and families in Oregon and across the country.

Jenifer and Chris, great to have you here today.

 Jenifer, I thought maybe you could start. Could you provide an overview of Our Children Oregon and the role of your organization and advocating for children in the state?

Jenifer Wagley: [00:00:51] Yeah, thank you. Our Children Oregon is the only whole child children’s advocacy organization in the state of Oregon. And what that means is that we are intersectional and that we bring together well over a hundred partner organizations throughout the state to develop a shared agenda for all of the children in Oregon.

And then we put that together in the children’s agenda and advocate for that so that children and youth across the state have representatives in us and in the capital.

Rafael Otto: [00:01:24] Can you say a little bit more about your whole-child philosophy and how that shapes your work?

Jenifer Wagley: [00:01:29] Yeah. A lot of organizations focus on particular concerns and opportunities that children need. And for us, the approach is really to be intersectional. Children don’t live in sectors and when I’m talking to, you know, regular people, it’s like, you know, you don’t live in the education sector, you don’t live in the healthcare sector.

I mean it takes a lot of things for a child to thrive. Whole-child is really just representing that it takes everybody leaning in together, all sectors, to have healthy thriving children. So our work is to bring those organizations and the communities together so that we have a comprehensive, whole look at what it takes for children and youth to reach their full potential.

Rafael Otto: [00:02:07] Can you say a little bit about that? Maybe Chris, if you want to chime in too about how you manage that in terms of developing a policy agenda with so many organizations at the table and so many issue areas for you, how do you make that? How do you make that happen?

Chris Coughlin: [00:02:21] Well, it’s a lot of work and our partnerships are really important. So we have a steering committee of nine members, who are those subject matter experts in those different areas whether it be housing or early childhood or broader education, wellbeing, healthcare, and others. So that we have people at the table and the steering committee helping look through the different policies  that are potentially moving forward and really thinking through what’s going to have the biggest impact on children’s lives and how do we also think a lot about what needs and extra booth. Because there are a lot of good ideas out there and there are a lot of ways money can be spent. But we really want to think about  targeted universalism of thinking about which policies and investments can make the biggest impact for those children and families who are furthest from the universal finish line. And that is something that we always keep in mind. And so look at data, we think about what are those targeted investments that can be made. Then we look to our partners for both what they’re working on, what are best practices from other parts of the country and obviously the political landscape is also a consideration as we’re moving things forward.

Please download the full transcript below.

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