It is no mystery that early childhood education is important.
Research supports it. Economics supports it. Parents support it.
Yet until President Obama’s call to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America, other less data-driven reform agendas have dominated the airwaves.
It is time to change that conversation--because early childhood education is critical to the success of our children.
Because early childhood education is about lowering drop-out rates, about more children going to college, and fewer children winding up in prison. It's about providing needed skills for employment and about growing our economy.
According to Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education at Stanford, high quality pre-school programs -- the kind that have teachers with degrees in early childhood education and small class sizes and hands-on learning and parent outreach and education -- provide those kinds of results.
Yet, during this Great Recession, funding for our youngest students has been cut.
California’s independent legislative analyst reports that “since 2008-09, the State’s childcare and development system has experienced notable reductions.
- Overall funding has decreased by $985 million (31 percent).
- About one-quarter of slots have been eliminated (110,000 slots).”
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson welcomes the call for making early learning a national priority.
“We know that there are significant benefits to helping children start school excited and ready to learn—and that those benefits last the rest of their lives," says Torlakson.
What can we do to help our children?
Let our elected officials know that this kind of reform is vital.
Let’s start early—for all children. This is where our investment needs to begin.