Quality Early Childhood Education and Childcare for All
Access to quality early education and childcare varies enormously across income classes.
Many times wealthier families have the money to spend on these services, but those with lower salaries do not. As a result, wealthier children are ready to learn in kindergarten and first grade while those lacking the experience of quality early childhood education, either in a classroom or at home, are not. Here is more information on the high cost of childcare in the United States.
Sadly, falling behind in kindergarten and the early grades can cause large achievement gaps throughout school and later in life. This includes children who have the misfortune of dropping out of high school and falling into the pipeline to prison.
Voters and candidates for political office are just beginning to understand that quality early education and childcare are an essential part of the development our youngest citizens. U.S. children are falling far behind those in foreign countries who are receiving adequate pre-school and grade school education. Our children need quality early education so as to be ready for first grade. They need better public education throughout grade school and high school so as to be prepared for the challenges of today’s job market.
Promise the Children supports a national investment in higher-quality childcare and early education for all children from the day they are born.
In the aggregate, such an investment would pay off economically for everyone, so long as we are willing to wait a decade or so for the children to grow up and enter the job market. This could raise the standard of living for the children of today’s low-waged workers.
The current patchwork of tax credits for early education and childcare and government subsidies for early education and childcare is deeply flawed. Those with six-figure salaries benefit from childcare tax credits, while those who are economically stressed face multiple and complicated eligibility requirements that leave them stranded. Worse, early educational programs exist in most states, but they too have insufficient funding and long wait lists. You may find more information here.
Please let your elected officials know that all of our children need an ambitious investment in early education now. Ask our candidates for office: “How do you plan to give all children access to quality early education?”
Or you can write or email candidates at statewide or federal offices. “We are failing our youngest citizens and our own future by not providing all our youngest children access to quality education and child care. We need quality care for all of our children whose parent(s) are either trying to find work or are working. Are you committed to early education and childcare for all? How would you pay for this?”