Early Learning Chorus Grows with Over 300 Business Leaders in Support

Today, a group of over 300 business leaders representing 44 states signed a letter calling on President Obama and Congress to invest in early learning programs. These CEOs, chambers of commerce and business roundtables represent large companies like Delta Airlines and PNC Financial Services Group and smaller companies like Scope View Strategic Advantage in Charlotte, NC and C.H. Briggs Company in Reading, PA. Regardless of their location, size or scope of business, all agreed on one thing; investing in early childhood education is the right thing to do for our nation’s children.

“We rarely have the luxury,” their letter says, “of making business investment decisions with as much evidence as we have to support the economic value of investing in early care and education.”

Earlier this year, President Obama put forth a “Preschool for All” proposal in his Fiscal Year 2014 budget, and the Department is currently seeking input from stakeholders on the president’s plan for the federal government to partner with states in making access to high-quality early learning a reality for every four-year-old in America.

The President’s proposal is for a deficit-neutral investment of $75 billion over 10 years to create new partnerships with states to provide high-quality preschool for all 4-year olds. An additional $750 million will provide competitive grants to states to strengthen their early learning systems. Combined, the proposal will raise the quality of all early learning programs and will align current investments, including home visitation, creating a birth to age 5 pipeline of services and support that prepares children for kindergarten and beyond.

This plan is entirely consistent with the business leaders’ declaration that, “Early care and education is not a partisan issue. It is an American competitiveness issue that impacts all of us,” and with their support for the adoption of policies that “give all children the chance to fulfill their potential and create the best workforce and economy in the world.”

Studies prove that children who have rich early learning experiences are better prepared to thrive in school. And because behavioral skills highly valued by employers, such as self-discipline, persistence and cooperation, start in the youngest years and last a lifetime, President Obama and Secretary Duncan agree that quality early childhood programs have a significant and positive impact on the American workforce, customer base, economy and nation we need in a 21st century environment.

For more information and to read the full text of the letter, please visit: www.readynation.org/signatories-business-letter

Cameron French is the Deputy Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education

4 Comments

  1. It is promising to hear that children are coming into the light as needing our adult support in every way!
    Let’s make sure that our children get what they deserve: A healthy childhood filled with supported opportunities to learn strong social skills and generous doses of PLAYING, Getting to know who they are and what they like and all of this be infused with Beauty.
    This is more than raising a “workforce” this is about heart filled human beings on our Earth.

  2. It’s about time! Those of us in the early childhood field have always understood that a house can’t be built without a strong foundation. Learning doesn’t start in kindergarten, it begins in utero and should be very intentional and purposeful, not haphazard. Now if only the states would also invest in the education of early learning professionals so the profession can experience growth and reach new highs in professionalism. As a culture we don’t place strong emphasis on early learning so perhaps with a push from the government we can begin to affect change, respect educators (for children of all ages) and thus impact our professional industries with a stronger workforce.

  3. Memphis has had an outstanding early childhood program for many years. The programs have been steadily expanding with the influx of Voluntary pre-k classrooms funded with lottery money. Our programs are specified for at-risk children. They are screened before entry based upon income and performance on a screening test. Students with the lowest scores are admitted to classes. Unfortunately, because of sequestration cuts and other factors, 42 of the classrooms are closing this year. The number originally stood at 82, but because of parent outcry, funding was found for 40 of those classrooms. This means that 800 at-risk 4-year-olds will be without high-quality early childhood education. Before we talk about expanding, shouldn’t we talk about funding the programs that are already in place?

  4. It is too late to wait for a child to be four years old. Multi-age three and four year old children develop valuable skills from each other when they share a learning environment. Language, physical, and leadership skills grow quickly when children model and follow.
    I had the opportunity to have an infant and toddler room in my school. We provided a learning envoronment in a daycare setting. Infants were on one side of th room and toddlers on the other. The ones transitioned gradually to the toddler side. When it was time for music, it was fun to watch the young ones move to the toddler side to dance. They also learneed social skills from the older children.
    We provided daycare for children whose parents worked in our school and those attending adult education classes. We had fewer absences due to lack of childcare. It was a “one-stop-shop” for our families.
    PattyK

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