The past decade has been significant for the growth of early childhood programs. From the increased understanding of brain development in infants and toddlers to the more rigorous monitoring of social and educational outcomes, the early childhood field continues to move forward. Indeed, recognizing the importance of early education, states and localities have worked to expand opportunities for preschoolers. On a federal level, President Barack Obama is committed to providing all children access to high-quality preschool opportunities. Congress followed suit and made a down payment on early childhood education earlier this year, investing more than $1.4 billion in new funds for 2014. This momentum has compelled states, cities, and philanthropic partners to think about the connection between the future of the United States and how the youngest children are educated. Despite strong progress to date, there is still much more to do to ensure that all children have access to high-quality early childhood programs from birth. The following six charts show why policymakers need to invest in early childhood education now.
Research indicates that access to quality preschool can provide a boost for children that will influence their success for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, not every child has access to high-quality early education, and many of children who could benefit do not attend preschool. This is particularly true for low-income children and children of color.
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