A public agenda for early childhood, presented to sef 6 6-2012


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The case for public policy and public investment in very young children.

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A public agenda for early childhood, presented to sef 6 6-2012

  1. 1. A Public Agenda for Early ChildhoodPresented to: Southern Education Foundation By: Pat Willis Executive Director June 6, 2012
  2. 2. Today’s Agenda• Why early childhood is important• Current status of investments and outcomes• Politics of early childhood• Reasons for optimism• Key messages for advocacy 1
  3. 3. Why Early Investment is Important for Children – By age three: • Advantaged child knows 1200 words • Disadvantaged child knows 400 words – By age four: • Advantaged child has heard 48 million words • Disadvantaged child has heard 13 million words – By age five: • 90% of brain developed • < 10% of public investment expended 2
  4. 4. The Illi Disparities in Early Vocabulary Growthenda: Language Acquisition 1200 College Educated Cumulative Vocabulary (Words) Parents Working Class 600 Parents Welfare Parents 200 16 mos. 24 mos. 36 mos. Child’s Age (Months) Source: Hart & Risley (1995)
  5. 5. Current Status of Public Investments 4
  6. 6. Why Early Investment is Important for America – Short term savings • On special education, reduced grade retention – Long term savings • On welfare, substance abuse, incarceration • $7 saved per $1 invested – Workforce development • Higher HS graduation rate and college-going rate – Military readiness • Through HS graduation, drug and crime avoidance 5
  7. 7. THE SOUTH: Leading in Investment, Lagging in Performance• 9/15 states rate 9-10 on quality of Pre-K – Only 6 other states rate 9-10• 9/15 states rank above the national average on $ for 0-5 vs. $ for 6-18• 10/15 states are below the national % of 4th graders reading at or above proficient 6
  8. 8. Current Political Environment• State revenues down; no growth and cuts to continue in education• Local school districts hampered by lower tax digests• Federal budget cuts in safety net programs• Increasingly hostile political environment for traditional public schools and those receiving benefits 7
  9. 9. Reasons for Optimism• Leadership and incentives from federal government• Stronger collaboration of federal and state agencies• Partnership for America’s Economic Success – business-led• Mission Readiness – Military leadership 8
  10. 10. Deliver the Message• Early investment produces good results for kids and for America!• There are no do-overs for childhood.• An investment in young children today reduces costs for special education and remediation tomorrow.• Children who attend quality Pre-K programs are more likely to graduate and become taxpayers.• Quality is essential: lower child/adult ratios, pay for well prepared teachers, develop children with the right curriculum. 9
  11. 11. Thank You! For more info: Pat Willis pwillis@georgiavoices.org www.georgiavoices.org(Presentation available on SlideShare,net, User: GeorgiaVoices)