Families support educators and educators support families, but neither can afford the growing costs of accessing and providing high-quality early care and education. Does this policy bridge the gaps to give more young children the opportunity to participate in high-quality early care and education, beginning at birth?
If the first years of a child’s life are the period of most rapid brain development and lay the foundation for future learning, shouldn’t we make it possible for more children to start on the right path?
The fact is that many American families currently do not have the opportunity to send their children to early education programs. Why? They can’t afford to – the cost of sending one child to a high-quality program is already high and continues to increase.
In addition, the cost of providing high-quality education is increasing for early childhood education programs. This prevents even more families from accessing a great start for their children.
From our nation’s inception, we have held a collective belief that all children, regardless of their circumstances, should have a fair shot at freedom and economic opportunity that comes with our democracy.
All young children deserve a chance to start school ready to reach their full potential, and we must collectively build the political muscle to ensure that all elected officials embrace early learning as a “must.”
SUPPORTING EXCELLENCE AND EQUITY
If we sacrifice quality, we sacrifice results. If we don’t attend to equity, we deepen divisions. Does this policy promote equitable access to excellence in all settings and systems to deliver on the promise of early childhood education?
If we sacrifice quality, we sacrifice results.
We need to invest in our children early on – they’re the future after all. By nurturing children with excellent education options, we plant the seeds for a successful future – for us and for them.
In fact, high-quality early childhood education programs deliver a return on investment that outpaces average stock market gains. Would you consider that a smart investment?
If so much can be gained from high-quality early education, it needs to be an American priority that education programs of all settings need to be accessible and provide top-notch education for our children.
VALUING EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS
Effective early childhood education depends on strong early childhood educators. Does this policy work towards developing, attracting, supporting, and retaining highly-qualified professionals?
Helping children maximize their learning potential—regardless of family background and available resources—our early childhood educators. Unfortunately, most struggle to support themselves while supporting the development children everywhere.
We need to empower these educators with the resources and compensation they truly deserve – they are the direct influences over our nation’s largest investment. We need to support them through:
- Providing scholarships for educators to access higher education programs
- Empowering educators to pursue these higher education programs
- Stipulating a commitment to stay in early childhood education for a requisite number of years after completing their higher education program
- Embedding a threshold of knowledge and skills for early learning professionals that is aligned with compensation, in all federal and state funding streams
Through these initiatives, we can ensure all early childhood educators are diverse, effective professionals capable of providing high quality education in a system that supports their leadership and excellence.