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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET xiv  |   FOREWORD fearful that there would be winners and losers. All the while the expectations and demands directed toward early childhood educators are increasing, and we have not agreed on and aligned the knowledge, competencies, professional preparation systems, and wage and compensation structures that will attract and retain the most highly qualified professionals. The book has great messages that reinforce that we all need to take a deep breath and imagine what could be, not just what is. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has a long history of working on behalf of early childhood educators, and recently the Association has redoubled its efforts. In November 2014, with significant stakeholder input, NAEYC completed a yearlong strategic planning process from which several key promises emerged. First, NAEYC’s new mission statement in- cludes language that addresses the association’s role in serving the profession: Mission Statement: NAEYC promotes high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age eight, by connecting practice, pol- icy, and research. We advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children. Second, one of the five strategic priorities that emerged focuses on early child- hood educators: The Profession—Goal: The early childhood education profession exemplifies excellence and is recognized as vital and performing a critical role in society. NAEYC is prepared to exercise leadership and political capital to ensure this strategic priority is accomplished. A number of efforts are under way, including most notably initial market research for a national early childhood recruitment and retention campaign, the compilation of a national directory of higher educa- tion early childhood degree programs, and the piloting of professional develop- ment system indicators to measure the progress of state professional preparation systems. Additionally, many NAEYC affiliates are poised to play a leadership role in convening the state and local conversations of intent that Stacie so eloquently describes in this book. NAEYC is but one voice in a dialogue that Stacie urges us to hold in concentric circles of conversation nationwide. She provides a well-defined framework—and COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL