Guest post by Kimberlee Kiehl. As I sit working in my D.C. apartment, shut out of our school at the Smithsonian because we are deemed “non-essential,” I am thinking about how this phrase in many ways applies to how we see early learning in this country overall. After being away from the field professionally for 12 years I returned last year to a world that essentially looks the same as it did before I left. President Obama has started to talk about this issue. Overall, though, not much has changed. We still pay these professionals way below what we pay K-12 teachers; we still call it “day care” even though we spend our time educating children rather than caring for days; and we still have very little respect for those adults who choose to spend their days in the company of young children. I’ve been thinking about this issue for years and I think that in order to really make any change we need to address four fundamental underlying beliefs.