Washington, D.C. — Today, at a joint event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Center for American Progress, business, policy, and community leaders came together to voice their support for early childhood education. Speakers, including Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D), drew attention to the ways in which quality early learning builds a strong foundation for lifelong academic success.
“Early childhood education is attracting support from educators, business leaders, and advocates across the political spectrum because it addresses so many of the toughest long-term challenges we face today—from growing inequality to global economic competitiveness, from parents struggling to balance work and family, to an education system in which too many children are falling behind before they even start school. In a time of limited resources, we can all agree that the return on investment in early education is high,” said Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress. “I’m proud to be part of the partnership between the Center for American Progress and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the critical issue.”
“Research is clear that children’s earliest learning experiences set the foundation for future success. As a result, early childhood education has emerged as a critical issue for parents, policymakers, business leaders, local communities, and educators,” said Margaret Spellings, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “Business leaders strongly believe that investments in high-quality early learning for children from birth to age 5 yield high returns, not only in the lives of children but for our nation—including long-term educational, social, and economic benefits, from increased earnings and tax revenues to breaking the cycle of poverty.”
At the event, Tanden and Spellings provided opening remarks, followed by a keynote address by Gov. Markell. Brian Maher, former chairman and CEO of Maher Terminals, unveiled new results from a national survey commissioned by the First Five Years Fund, finding that a large majority of Republican, Democratic, and independent voters view early learning as an important national priority.
In addition, state representatives from Delaware, Illinois, and Oklahoma spoke about early childhood education in their states. They addressed how their states have prioritized investments in early childhood education in a difficult fiscal climate. A panel of business leaders also addressed how to engage the business community in building support for early childhood education.
Related reports from the Center for American Progress:
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