On April 15, 2022, the Parent Accountability Council met in person for the first time since February 2020. After 2 years of monthly virtual meetings everyone agreed that it was time to gather and reconnect in person.
Parent leaders and staff arrived at Luuwit Park, in Parkrose. Under the covered picnic area, we huddled together to reconnect and recommit ourselves in our work towards equity and opportunity for every child in Multnomah County. At the PAC meetings we practice popular education models – its a people-oriented and people-guided approach to learning that centers participant's life experiences so that everyone is both a teacher and a learner. One regular practice is the use of dinamicas, which are interactive activities that we do at PAC meetings with the purpose of building community and the movement. Our dinamicas at the April PAC meeting focused on strengthening the bonds that connect us and celebrating our successes.
In 2016, the PAC and parent leaders across the county met and created their vision for a free, high-quality, equitable, community centered preschool. Then in 2018, PAC participated as the parent advisory group to the Preschool For All Taskforce. PAC leaders were very vocal and instrumental in advocating for the Ballot Measure that went out to voters in November 2020. Voters overwhelmingly supported and passed the measure with 64% of the vote. To date, PAC will continue to give instrumental input and feedback on PFA’s policy making as part of our community based participatory policy setting. Into the future, PAC will provide feedback and input on community outreach and new policies as the PFA program rolls out and expands.
So on that cold April 15th morning, PAC leaders were finally able to acknowledge this huge success. They cheered together, they high fived each other, they hugged and they celebrated with one another! Because of their voice and their hard work, our coalition of parents, policy makers, preschool providers, teachers, business leaders, community organizations, and 3-4 year old children in Multnomah County will have greater access to free, high-quality preschools starting this Fall 2022. That is something to be profoundly proud of!