Music Review

On Oct. 5, Epic Records will release “Mary Had A Little Amp,” a special collection of songs children love performed by 16 renowned artists. All proceeds from “Mary Had A Little Amp” will benefit People For the American Way’s “Project Kid Smart” and People For the American Way Foundation’s “Start Smart America”, projects working to ensure preschool education for all American children.

Featuring new takes on children’s classics like a rare version of Graham Nash singing “Teach Your Children,” the Dixie Chicks’ new rendition of “Rainbow Connection,” original songs by Moby and Rosanne Cash, contributions from Jack Johnson and Maroon 5, and unique collaborations between Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson and between Dave Matthews and Blue Man Group, “Mary Had A Little Amp” will be the perfect addition to any parent’s, child’s, or music-lover’s collection.

“This CD is the result of the efforts of many artists and activists. We asked the Dixie Chicks to help us make preschool education a national priority and they stepped up to the plate. The Dixie Chicks’ involvement in this project was enormously important to our outreach to other artists,” said Project Kid Smart Director Julie Burton, explaining the origin of this unique CD compilation.

“Maybe the most miraculous thing about being a mother is seeing the incredible capacity a young child has to learn. Imagine if all children in our country had the chance to go to a good school early on and soak up the kind of skills and knowledge that a quality preschool education provides? We were thrilled to help with this exciting project,” the Dixie Chicks said.

Project Kid Smart Director Burton says, “We thank all of these amazing artists for using their voices to call attention to the need to make preschool education a national priority and to make sure all kids have the best beginnings possible.”

“I’ve always heard it said that if you have to make a choice between sending your child to college or sending them to preschool, to choose preschool. Love of learning, once sparked, never goes away. A preschool that instills a love of learning is our greatest hope for the future, for civilization, for peace,” said Rosanne Cash about her involvement with “Mary Had A Little Amp.” The Project Kid Smart project works to mobilize and educate voters about preschool education concerns.

“One of the most effective ways to improve America’s educational system is to invest in children before they get to kindergarten,” said Ralph G. Neas, president of People For the American Way Foundation. “The scientific research on brain development makes this a top priority and our responsibility to America’s children.”

Project Kid Smart advocates support for public policies that call for a national program, like Rep. Hilda Solis’ new legislation, “Smart from the Start Preschool Education Fund for America.” The project seeks to move preschool education to the national agenda by broadcasting women’s support for the issue and by turning out women voters.

Project Kid Smart is currently collaborating with America Coming Together in its multistate door-to-door voter contact and issue education efforts. Preschool education has emerged as a political issue and Project Kid Smart has been organized to get the word out to voters who think America should make investing in kids’ early education a top national priority.

Preschool education is a key voting issue for millions of American women. Research conducted by the Public Education Network, a national association of local educational funds and individuals working to advance public school reform in low-income communities, found that early childhood education is the top education program voters want protected from budget cuts and is the top education issue that candidates can focus on to gain voter support.