I am always pleased to see how organizations that are not necessarily governmental are supporting the cause of children. ReadyNation is a group of executives, economists and civic leaders who work together as a business-voice for improved early childhood policies and programs at state and federal levels. They have joined with America’s Promise as a way to promote quality early childhood education as a way to improve high school graduation rates.
ReadyNation has announced more than 300 business leaders and organizations from 44 states around the country have signed an open letter to President Obama and Members of Congress declaring support for early childhood programs. Citing the benefits early childhood programs to contribute to the nation’s economy, workforce preparedness, and standing in the global marketplace, business leaders are asking the nation’s leaders to make it a national priority to invest in the academic and social development of young children.
The letter offers the following six recommendations for shaping public policies around early childhood:
- Prioritize programs with research-documented benefits for children and society, such as quality early education for children ages birth to five, home visiting and health care
- Address children in the entire prenatal-to-age-five spectrum, and their parents
- Focus first on children from low-to-moderate income families and other children at greater risk for academic difficulties
- Give parents high quality options with a variety of partners and settings, including the private sector
- Encourage higher standards for federal and state programs while offering them flexibility on the delivery of those services
- Closely track progress on children’s health, development and other outcomes with rigorous evaluations that encourage improvement
This kind of support is exactly what we need.
This focused support aimed at changing our national policies and practices will help our nation’s children get a jump start on education and future success.
Finally, it is understood that a preventative investment in our children will pay huge dividends to the lives of our children and their families which impacts many different aspects of our country where significant deficits now exist. Deficit areas include: unemployment, juvenile justice, drop-out rates, mental health, emotional health and family health.
This is an important time in our history. Let us join to help our children become resilient and more healthy as they ready themselves for the many challenges of life.
Gerry Vassar President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network