“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” ~ Nelson Mandela.
Did you know that at risk children who don’t receive a quality early education are:
- 25% more likely to drop out of school
- 40% more likely to become a teen parent
- 50% more likely to be placed in special education
- 60% less likely to go to college
- 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime
So what are we doing about this? Municipalities are increasingly seizing the momentum on early education. In many cases, cities around the country are offering programs that are available to more students than state funding would allow.
The latest initiative is New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to create a universal preschool program for the city’s four-year-olds through a tax on the city’s highest earners. The next step would be whether Albany lawmakers grant the Mayor the authority to increase taxes on the approximately 40,000 city residents who earn more than $500,000 a year.
Certainly most cities would not have the tax base to allow this; however, research has demonstrated that quality early learning programs have positive effects that extend beyond the first years of school, well into adulthood, and benefit society as a whole. For every $1 spent on early childhood programs for at risk children, society sees a savings of $7.
I encourage each of you to contact your legislators and tell them about the importance of early childhood education programs to our community, state and society. It’s not too late to start paying it forward for the young children in our communities. Below are some additional links on how communities and businesses are advocating for early education programming.