Today, we are at a point of crisis in Hawai’i that affects each of us – hard working employees can’t afford childcare for their families, third graders aren’t learning to read at grade level, teenagers aren’t graduating from high school and many of you can’t find skilled workers.We want to introduce a solution that, with your help, can solve many issues we face in Hawai’i and make us a more competitive and productive state.
After video: At the end of the video, you saw an equation – Invest + Develop + Sustain = Gain So what Dr. Heckman is saying is that by investing in early educational and developmental resources plus nurturing the development of cognitive and social skills from birth through age five and sustaining early development with effective education through adulthood will in turn lead to a more capable, productive and valuable workforce.But first let’s talk about why we need to start at birth.
The fact is our keiki are NOT ready for school when they enter kindergarten – Less than 25 percent of kindergarten classes in Hawai‘i were evaluated as having the majority of its students showing adequate skills in pre-literacy and math. That leaves four out of five classes whose majority of children were not ready for kindergarten and who are at risk of falling further behind as they continue their educational career through high school.The HSSRA evaluates skills demonstrating emerging abilities – as seen in the slide:For example, in math, a child is asked to count five objects, knows names of 3 or more numerals, can sort or classify etc.In pre-literacy, the child is asked to show how a book opens from front to back, to recognize up to three letters, and knows names and sounds of 3 letters, begins to scribble a word.We then examined how a child’s participation in a quality early learning experience affected later learning outcomes.
As you saw in the Heckman video, investing in early education and intervention services leads to a positive impact on the economy. On the flip side, not investing in our youngest keiki can lead to more expenditures in the long run.We’re not the only ones who have determined that the value of investing in early education services builds a stronger economy. Across the country, there is an awakening as to the crucial importance of the early years. The tremendous economic impact of early childhood education has been researched and reported. In the recent Race to the Top press conference, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the government is dedicated to supporting the early years, devoting the next round of RTTT funding to innovations in ECE precisely because, as his team has said, human capital is the most important capital any country has and in order to out-compete we need to out-educate. And Duncan and his staff believe the investment starts during the first five years of a child’s life.
The high return on investing in children under the age of five has been documented here in Hawai‘i. In 2008, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation sponsored an economic benefits study of early education for Hawai‘i. The study showed that for every $1 Hawai‘i invests in a quality four-year early learning, the state will receive a return of $4.20. This return is calculated from less spending on special education, grade retention, and future social services –such as incarceration - plus a more productive, higher paid workforce contributing positively to the state economy.
The Early Learning Council has a plan for building this early childhood system, based on four pillars: early-education and care; health; parent education and family support; and professional development. These four areas of focus fuel the ELC’s vision to design and implement a comprehensive. high qualityearly learning system including choice, access, affordability, sustainability and culturalintegrity that serves all of Hawai`i’s children, prenataltoage 5 and that lays a foundation for lifelong success.In the recent Race to the Top press conference, Arne Duncan called for applications that transform early education from a patchwork of disconnected early learning programs of varying qualities and uneven access into a coordinated system that prepares children for success in school. The key to this statement is a “coordinated system.” We all know there is no magic bullet, instead we must focus on a comprehensive strategy, beginning with those who come from the most vulnerable communities and expanding services and programs from there.In order to achieve this comprehensive system to support success in school and in life, we must create a sustainable public and private funding source. So how do we reach this goal?
Our course of action involves a series of milestones aimed at building public will, redirecting existing funds and ultimately supporting a funded early childhood education system for 80 percent of children, from birth through age five.The private sector in Hawai‘i already has been supporting the building of Hawai‘i’s quality early childhood system. These private investors such as Kamehameha Schools, the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation have tracked their investments in early learning and can show positive results. They have already committed substantial funds; however, the private sector support is not enough. As in other states, we need public funding in order to secure a sustained funding stream. And we need to build public will in order to reach this goal.
Our Campaign Goal is to motivate the general public and the legislature to prioritize services for children, beginning with those 5500 children who will have no services starting in 2013. While our long term goal is to build a sustainable funding source for Hawai‘i’s early childhood system. And we are ready to act now.The grassroots Be My Voice! Campaign launched last October at the Governor’s Forum began to build public will around the importance of creating a comprehensive early learning system to support the needs of Hawai‘i’s children, starting with those from the most vulnerable communities.To effectively build support across the state, we have identified several strategies:A grassroots mobilization effort asking people to join the campaign,An interactive website and utilizing social media to get people involved and informed of developments around EC, Rallies to build excitement and get people involved, TV and radio media campaigns to raise awareness,Business, government and legislative leadership to inform the campaigns efforts.Recent political campaign have demonstrated that when we reach out to the broad community through social media, folks do become engaged and better understand the issues. We are reaching out to get the pulse of the people and determine where they’re not and how we can communicate our keiki’s needs to inspire broad support. We have done our home work – we began with polling the public. We commissioned Ward Research to conduct a poll between March 31 and April 17, 2011 to identify the state’s priorities and how early childhood education and intervention services stacked up compared to other issues, such as the economy, traffic and homelessness. Ward’s team conducted a statewide telephone survey of 402 registered voters with a sampling error of +/- 4.9 percent.
It’s was no surprise that our poll showed the economy was the #1 issue for Hawai‘i’s voters. However, after the economy and unemployment, education was the #1 issue. When asked to identify the top major problems facing our children,79 percent of respondents cited the low quality of education as “extremely important” while 86 percent cited child abuse and neglect.Both helping children who are victims of child abuse through intervention and providing necessary healthcare services were rated as “very valuable” by 78 percent of respondents. Preparing children under the age of five for kindergarten was deemed “very valuable” by more than half of the respondents. We will be conducting focus groups in the next month to explore these findings even further, but we are optimistic that the majority of the state’s population are receptive to making early education and family strengthening services a top priority for the state.
Although this campaign is not about taxes – we felt it important to find out if the public believed that public funds should go to children’s services. Therefore at the beginning of the survey, respondents were asked their level of support for a proposal that would increase taxes to fund services for children. 22% of all respondents reportedly would “strongly support” a proposal that would increase taxes by $100 per year to fund services that would benefit children, compared to 20% who would “strongly oppose” it. 36% of respondents would “strongly support” the proposal if the increase were $50 per year, compared to 16% who would “strongly oppose” it. Nearly one-half (47%) of all respondents said that they would “strongly support” the proposal if the increase were $25 per year, a far greater proportion than would “strongly oppose” it (14%). Our key findings were that:At $25/yr, 70% of registered voters support dedicated funding for programs to help children (51% strongly agree) Connecting dedicated funding with issues related to most vulnerable children appears to be key
We know these campaign strategies work, just watch this video from Florida’s Children’s Trust Campaign. Their grassroots mobilization led to a sustainable funding stream of more than $100 million in Miami-Dade County. We believe these proven campaign strategies will work in Hawai‘i, too.
The cost of this three year campaign will be $2 million, and we have already raised 58.5 percent, a great start. But we need to raise another $829,000. Contributions to the campaign are welcome.Since the initial launch, the campaign has received a grant of $500,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and another $50,000 from the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation. What are our next steps? It’s time to energize our supporters and come together to build public will and make change happen now.This is a 3 year campaign. We completed polling; we will be launching our media campaign and community events this fall. Once our first wave of outreach has been completed, we will conduct another poll to determine how pubic opinion has changed and to inform the 2012 legislative session. The cycle will be repeated in fall of 2012 and move into the 2013 legislative session with intent of legislation passing.We will know we are successful when:The general public demands that early intervention is prioritized.The majority of children entering kindergarten are ready to succeed.Less special education and grade retention.Children reading a grade level at 3rd grade. More high school graduates.More graduates ready for the workforce.More productive citizens.
23 years ago the Hawaii Business Roundtable compiled this Berman Report asking for recommendations to support educational excellence.Yet since this statement was made there has not been enough PROGRESS. Scientific research continues to show us that early education impacts future learning and mitigating social and developmental issues earlier on prevents students from falling behind in school. We know early intervention works! There has been activity, pieces of the system have been improved. We have early learning standards, we have the early learning council, we have started to develop a quality improvement and rating system – and yet these have been baby steps. Even more troubling, THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN SERVED IS DECREASING!5,000 students are vulnerable and at risk of missing early learning experiences – research predicts that half of them will not be contributing members of society 18 years from now. We are in danger of losing half of these children from the workforce, another portion may rely heavily on our social service system or end up in prison.What are we waiting for? The time to act is now. Recently, Arne Duncan said: "We don't have a minute to lose. Every day that goes by that we delay needed reforms and embrace the status quo is another year lost and another group of children that's passed along without the skills they need to succeed. That cycle must stop.” We feel that he speaks the truth and we can’t waste another day.
We invite you to join the Leadership Council for the Be My Voice Hawaii Campaign.You will be working with the Education Task Force of the Hawaii Business Roundtable as well as other community leadership including the chairs of the Early Learning Council and the staff of Good Beginnings Alliance who will facilitate the campaign.As a member of the Leadership Council you will:Provide guidance to the campaignBe a public Voice for young childrenHelp with fundraising efforts
Be My Voice! Hawai'i
Quality Early Learning Impacts K-12 Education<br />Economy & Education <br />Plan of Action<br />Be My Voice! Hawai‘i<br />How Can You Help<br />
Heckman Video<br />Dr. JamesHeckman, Nobel Winner in Economics<br />Dr. JamesHeckman, Nobel Winner in Economics<br />
Hawai‘i’s Children Are At Risk<br />A child is born in poverty every 5 hours<br />1 out of 3 children are not reading at 3rd grade level<br />A child is abused or neglected every 4 hours <br />A child dies before 1st birthday every 3 days<br />
Comprehensive Early Childhood Education System<br />Health<br />Professional<br />Development<br />Parent Education &Family Support<br />Early Education & Care<br />High quality learning programs: accessible, available, affordable<br />Birth to Kindergarten<br />Address diverse abilities, needs and culture<br />Access to a comprehensive array of health services<br />Prenatal services<br />Screen and treat children for oral health, hearing, vision, social-emotional behavioral, developmental, and nutritional issues<br />Comprehensive workforce development system created <br />Increase qualified and highly effectiveearly childhood professionals<br />Increase in PD supports: outreach, counseling, delivery methods, financial assistance, compensation<br />Parenting and child development information<br />Economic, social services and supports available and utilized<br />Positive adult-child relationships<br />Establish family strengthening<br />Sustainable public/private funding source<br />
“There must… be a concerted effort by the broad community to make universal early childhood education a pillar for Hawai‘i’s future. We recommend that a state office be created to help coordinate this effort, knowing full well that much energy and resourcefulness from citizens, businesses, and government agencies will be needed to make this a model for the future.”<br />
The Hawai‘i Plan: Educational Excellence for the Pacific Era, Recommendations to the Hawai‘i Business Roundtable; Berman, Weiler Associates; 1988<br />