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Be My Voice! Hawai'i


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A look at the need, purpose, and strategy of the Be My Voice! Hawai'i campaign.

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Be My Voice! Hawai'i

  1. 1. Today, we are at a point of crisis in Hawai’i that affects each of us – hard workingemployees can’t afford childcare for their families, third graders aren’t learning to read atgrade level, teenagers aren’t graduating from high school and many of you can’t find skilledworkers.We want to introduce a solution that, with your help, can solve many issues we face inHawai’i and make us a more competitive and productive state. 1
  2. 2. Our presentation will cover the following points:•Without quality early learning, children don’t have the foundation to succeed later inschool•We’ll show you that investing in education saves money in the long run•Every day we wait is another child lost•Liz Chun will tell you more about this grassroots public will building campaign•Lastly, we’ll leave you with some ideas on how you can help our keiki succeed and oureconomy grow strongerWe will begin by describing why early investment is fundamental to the educationalachievement of all of Hawai‘i’s children.
  3. 3. After video: At the end of the video, you saw an equation – Invest + Develop + Sustain =GainSo what Dr. Heckman is saying is that by investing in early educational and developmentalresources plus nurturing the development of cognitive and social skills from birth throughage five and sustaining early development with effective education through adulthood willin turn lead to a more capable, productive and valuable workforce.But first let’s talk about why we need to start at birth. 3
  4. 4. Science has confirmed that 90% of human brain development – the architecture thatprovides a strong or weak foundation for future learning, behavior and health - takes placeby age five. For this reason, there is an urgency to begin investing early in a child’s life,when the brain is in a state of tremendous growth potential. You’ll notice from this slidethat in the first five years a child’s brain is at its highest “plasticity” or the ability of thebrain to change with learning. This development is influenced greatly by access toresources that improve outcomes, including: basic medical care, early interventionprograms and services, and high-quality, center-based early education programs.Of course, families from vulnerable communities are the ones impacted the most by a lackof resources in these areas. Currently In Hawai’i, the early learning foundation of servicesand programs is not serving almost half of our children during a critical time of braindevelopment, and setting the course for a weak foundation of learning in K through 12. Bythe time, children reach kindergarten, elementary school and high school, we are onlyaddressing problems and no longer preventing them.It’s time to focus on stopping the cycle and preventing educational and emotional issuesbefore the begin.
  5. 5. The fact is our keiki are NOT ready for school when they enter kindergarten – Less than 25percent of kindergarten classes in Hawai‘i were evaluated as having the majority of itsstudents showing adequate skills in pre-literacy and math. That leaves four out of fiveclasses whose majority of children were not ready for kindergarten and who are at risk offalling 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 morenumerals, can sort or classify etc.In pre-literacy, the child is asked to show how a book opens from front to back, torecognize up to three letters, and knows names and sounds of 3 letters, begins to scribble aword.We then examined how a child’s participation in a quality early learning experienceaffected later learning outcomes. 5
  6. 6. First we looked at the high socioeconomic (SES) complexes with low rate of free andreduced lunch students (Kaiser and Kalani Complex elementary schools) to examine boththeir preschool attendance and their 3rd grade reading achievement. PS attendance ratewas 89% and 3rd Grade reading was 87% showing a close correlation.In comparison, we looked at “Low SES” elementary and high schools in the Farrington,Nanakuli, Wai‘anae, Kau, Keaau, and Pahoa Complexes because of the high level of povertyas measured by numbers of children receiving free and reduced lunch. Only 44% of currentkindergarten students attended PS prior to entering these elementary schools, 15% fewerthan the statewide average of 59%. In some schools in these complexes the preschoolattendance was as low as 18%.Next, you see that less than half of lower SES 3rd graders read at grade level in School Year2009-2010. In school terms that means a failing grade. Until 3rd grade a child learns to read,after 3rd grade, a child reads to learn. If he or she is not reading at grade level by the 3 rdgrade, the child is that much more challenged to learn the knowledge necessary to succeedin school and in life.Now, we’ve established that generally speaking children in lower SES are falling behindtheir wealthier peers, but is there a correlation between early education and highereducation? Yes there is! A study released this month and published in Science journaltracked 1,400 low income children for 25 years and showed impressive results for thosewho had participated in Child-Parent Center Education Program for four to six years (frompreschool through third grade):18% more achieved moderate or higher level of socioeconomic status
  7. 7. As you saw in the Heckman video, investing in early education and intervention servicesleads to a positive impact on the economy. On the flip side, not investing in our youngestkeiki 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 educationservices builds a stronger economy. Across the country, there is an awakening as to thecrucial importance of the early years. The tremendous economic impact of early childhoodeducation has been researched and reported. In the recent Race to the Top pressconference, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the government is dedicated tosupporting the early years, devoting the next round of RTTT funding to innovations in ECEprecisely because, as his team has said, human capital is the most important capital anycountry has and in order to out-compete we need to out-educate. And Duncan and his staffbelieve the investment starts during the first five years of a child’s life. 7
  8. 8. The high return on investing in children under the age of five has been documented here inHawai‘i. In 2008, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation sponsored an economic benefits studyof early education for Hawai‘i. The study showed that for every $1 Hawai‘i invests in aquality four-year early learning, the state will receive a return of $4.20. This return iscalculated from less spending on special education, grade retention, and future socialservices –such as incarceration - plus a more productive, higher paid workforcecontributing positively to the state economy. 8
  9. 9. We must start catching children before they fall into the stream, rather than wait untilthey’ve been swept away by the current and we are unable to help them. Prevention is theonly real long-term economic solution. Remediation costs are soaring! As you can see,spending for special education students is more than twice the amount per public schoolstudent.HI also spends an average of $24,000 per SPED student per year. Studies have shown thatquality early learning reduces the need for later SPED., studies have shown that children who attend preschool are less likely to beincarcerated. In fact, in the Science journal study we mentioned earlier, among those whohad attended preschool 22 percent fewer had a felony arrest and 28 percent fewer hadexperienced incarceration. You can see, incarceration costs the state five and a half timesmore than preschool and four times more than annual spending for a public schoolstudent. Whether it be a parent who can afford to invest in their child’s early learning - orone who needs assistance from the state – it is far cheaper (about $30,000 cheaper perperson) to start early, and not have to fund remediation.*********************************************************************(Notes: The annual expenditure per prisoner is from the Children’s Defense Fund based onthe U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics for Fiscal Year 2006. Whereas,the annual expenditure per public school student and average cost for preschool arecurrent figures.We note that the first two are actual expenditures for Hawaii’s taxpayers, whereas, the$7260 is the average cost per 4-year-old child borne by parents. Additionally, in the mosteconomically challenged families (e.g., family of 4 earning less than $28,050 per year), willfamilies receive 100% subsidy for the cost of preschool.)
  10. 10. We have children in Hawai’i at risk every day. Just think about these statistics.• A child in Hawaii is born into poverty every 5 hours.• One out of every three children are not reading at grade level by 3rd grade.• A child is abused or neglected every four hours.• A child dies before his or her first birthday every three days. Hawai’i ranks #20 out of 50 states for highest infant mortality rates. We also know that 1 out of every 2 kindergarten students in this past school year received free or reduced school lunch. This means that for a child coming from a family of 4, the family income was less than $47,563 (see below).What do these statistics add up to? That we have a growing population in Hawai‘i of families who are struggling, and their challenges are impacting Hawai‘i’s keiki, their ability to learn and their chances to succeed in school and in life. Intervention services, such as home visitation programs, and access to quality early learning programs can mitigate issues at home and help developmentally and socially prepare children for school. Plus, engaging parents and providing opportunities to share knowledge and information can help dramatically reduce child abuse and neglect.We do have a plan to address these needs and assist these children and families at risk. Next slide.******************************************************************Additional info about statistics(Figures on abuse and neglect and infant mortality are from the Children’s Defense Fund report published in January 2011 using 2009 data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The figure on poverty is based on the Children’s Defense Fund report for Hawaii for 2008 using 2007 data. We believe w/ the economy slumping since 2008, this figure about child poverty has probably gotten worse. ) Free - <130% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL) - $33,423 for family of 4 Reduced - between 130% and 185% ($47,563 for family of 4) of FPL
  11. 11. The Early Learning Council has a plan for building this early childhood system, based onfour pillars: early-education and care; health; parent education and family support; andprofessional development. These four areas of focus fuel the ELC’s vision to design andimplement a comprehensive. high quality early learning system including choice, access,affordability, sustainability and cultural integrity that serves all of Hawai`i’s children,prenatal to age 5 and that lays a foundation for lifelong success.In the recent Race to the Top press conference, Arne Duncan called for applications thattransform early education from a patchwork of disconnected early learning programs ofvarying qualities and uneven access into a coordinated system that prepares children forsuccess in school. The key to this statement is a “coordinated system.” We all know there isno magic bullet, instead we must focus on a comprehensive strategy, beginning with thosewho come from the most vulnerable communities and expanding services and programsfrom there.In order to achieve this comprehensive system to support success in school and in life, wemust create a sustainable public and private funding source. So how do we reach this goal? 11
  12. 12. Our course of action involves a series of milestones aimed at building public will,redirecting existing funds and ultimately supporting a funded early childhood educationsystem 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 qualityearly childhood system. These private investors such as Kamehameha Schools, the SamuelN. and Mary Castle Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation have tracked theirinvestments in early learning and can show positive results. They have already committedsubstantial funds; however, the private sector support is not enough. As in other states, weneed public funding in order to secure a sustained funding stream. And we need to buildpublic will in order to reach this goal. 12
  13. 13. Our Campaign Goal is to motivate the general public and the legislature to prioritizeservices for children, beginning with those 5500 children who will have no services startingin 2013. While our long term goal is to build a sustainable funding source for Hawai‘i’s earlychildhood system. And we are ready to act now.The grassroots Be My Voice! Campaign launched last October at the Governor’s Forumbegan to build public will around the importance of creating a comprehensive earlylearning system to support the needs of Hawai‘i’s children, starting with those from themost 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 ofdevelopments 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 broadcommunity through social media, folks do become engaged and better understand theissues. We are reaching out to get the pulse of the people and determine where they’re notand 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 WardResearch to conduct a poll between March 31 and April 17, 2011 to identify the state’spriorities and how early childhood education and intervention services stacked upcompared to other issues, such as the economy, traffic and homelessness. Ward’s team 13
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  15. 15. 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 ofrespondents cited the low quality of education as “extremely important” while 86 percentcited child abuse and neglect.Both helping children who are victims of child abuse through intervention and providingnecessary 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” bymore than half of the respondents.We will be conducting focus groups in the next month to explore these findings evenfurther, but we are optimistic that the majority of the state’s population are receptive tomaking early education and family strengthening services a top priority for the state. 15
  16. 16. Although this campaign is not about taxes – we felt it important to find out if the publicbelieved that public funds should go to children’s services. Therefore at the beginning ofthe survey, respondents were asked their level of support for a proposal that wouldincrease taxes to fund services for children.• 22% of all respondents reportedly would “strongly support” a proposal that wouldincrease taxes by $100 per year to fund services that would benefit children, compared to20% who would “strongly oppose” it.• 36% of respondents would “strongly support” the proposal if the increase were $50 peryear, compared to 16% who would “strongly oppose” it.• Nearly one-half (47%) of all respondents said that they would “strongly support” theproposal if the increase were $25 per year, a far greater proportion than would “stronglyoppose” it (14%).Our key findings were that:•At $25/yr, 70% of registered voters support dedicated funding for programs to helpchildren (51% strongly agree)•Connecting dedicated funding with issues related to most vulnerable children appears tobe key 16
  17. 17. We know these campaign strategies work, just watch this video from Florida’s Children’sTrust Campaign. Their grassroots mobilization led to a sustainable funding stream of morethan $100 million in Miami-Dade County. We believe these proven campaign strategies willwork in Hawai‘i, too. 17
  18. 18. The cost of this three year campaign will be $2 million, and we have already raised 58.5percent, a great start. But we need to raise another $829,000. Contributions to thecampaign 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 buildpublic will and make change happen now.This is a 3 year campaign. We completed polling; we will be launching our media campaignand community events this fall. Once our first wave of outreach has been completed, wewill conduct another poll to determine how pubic opinion has changed and to inform the2012 legislative session. The cycle will be repeated in fall of 2012 and move into the 2013legislative 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. 18
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  20. 20. 23 years ago the Hawaii Business Roundtable compiled this Berman Report asking forrecommendations to support educational excellence.Yet since this statement was made there has not been enough PROGRESS. Scientificresearch continues to show us that early education impacts future learning and mitigatingsocial 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 beenimproved. We have early learning standards, we have the early learning council, we havestarted to develop a quality improvement and rating system – and yet these have beenbaby steps. Even more troubling, THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN SERVED IS DECREASING!5,000 students are vulnerable and at risk of missing early learning experiences – researchpredicts 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 mayrely 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 donthave a minute to lose. Every day that goes by that we delay needed reforms and embracethe status quo is another year lost and another group of children thats passed alongwithout the skills they need to succeed. That cycle must stop.” We feel that he speaks thetruth and we can’t waste another day. 20
  21. 21. These children need your help. We need your help.National investments require a local investment. In order for the rest of the nation to takeHawai‘i seriously, they must see that Hawai‘I takes the early investment strategy seriously.At the Federal level they are looking at policy investments made in the state. As in ourpreviously successful Race to the Top application for the K-12 system, Washington wants tosee Hawai‘i is willing to make a commitment to their youngest citizens.We also need to work together to ensure the success of the campaign by vocallysupporting the goals and also helping to guide them. We are reaching out and inviting youto join the Leadership Council to help advise the campaign, speak on behalf of it and helpwith fundraising efforts.We have a shared responsibility.•Join the BMV Leadership Council -Help us spread the word•Educate employees – allow us to reach out to your employees to educate them as to theimportance of quality early education.•Donate in-kind resources•Contribute to the campaign
  22. 22. 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 aswell as other community leadership including the chairs of the Early Learning Council andthe staff of Good Beginnings Alliance who will facilitate the campaign.As a member of the Leadership Council you will:•Provide guidance to the campaign•Be a public Voice for young children•Help with fundraising efforts 22
  23. 23. Mary Frances Berry said: “The time when you need to do something is when no one else iswilling to do it, when people are saying it can’t be done.” We must act now.Thank you so much for your time and attention. We look forward to visiting with youfurther about this campaign and hope you will feel inspired to become involved. Our youngchildren are waiting for us to be their voice. Mahalo nui loa.