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ZERO TO THREE Statement on Alabama Attacks on Developmentally Appropriate Practice


Siobhan Mueller
[email protected]
(202) 857 2609

Washington, D.C., April 26, 2023 – In response to attacks on Developmentally Appropriate Practice materials developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), ZERO TO THREE’s Executive Director Matthew Melmed issued the following statement: 

“When young children enter the classroom, we should be united in making their success our top priority. That means acknowledging years of research underscoring the simple fact that kids can’t learn math, science, and reading if they don’t feel seen, safe, and supported.  

“NAEYC’s Developmentally Appropriate Practice Book represents the best guidance from the early childhood education community, based on broad consultation with educators and experts, including ZERO TO THREE. Governor Ivey’s decision to reject DAP based on a few cherry-picked excerpts puts politics ahead of the best interests of Alabama’s children. 

“This decision also deprives Alabama students of the benefits of a dedicated leader and educator, Dr. Barbara Cooper. Dr. Cooper has been a tireless advocate for using research-based practices to ensure every child has access to the best possible education. She’s developed a long record of service on behalf of the children of Alabama, and her departure from the Department of Early Childhood Education is a profound—and entirely avoidable—loss. 

“Our mission at ZERO TO THREE is to ensure every baby has a strong start in life. We can’t do that by closing our eyes to injustice. With the power and influence of our collective voices, we commit to actions that promote just, equitable, and anti-racist systems, practices, and policies to create lasting, transformative change for children, their families and our future.”

ZERO TO THREE stands with our NAEYC colleagues and all early childhood educators. We encourage you to:  


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