So Washington State has drafted a 10-year Early Learning Plan to create an early care and education system giving all children a great start in life. They’ve determined it’s best to invest now in coordinated and high-quality early care and education programs and reap big savings down the road.
And a new study of Michigan‘s early learning programs shows preschool saves Michigan taxpayers about $1.15 billion annually. Officials there agree: any strategy to enhance long-term growth must include strengthening the up-and-coming workforce.
And James Heckman, a Nobel Laureate economist, told a group of Missouri business leaders, “Early interventions have much higher economic returns than later interventions such as reduced pupil-teacher ratios, public job training, convict rehabilitation programs, adult literacy programs…remediation is a very costly strategy compared to prevention.”
Even President Barack Obama has proposed a 7.6% increase in U.S. education spending to help American workers compete in a “global economy.”
But in Missouri, once in the vanguard of education reform, Governor Nixon is cutting $2 million from the state’s Parents as Teachers programs yet this fiscal year and has proposed an additional $4.1 million cut next fiscal year. This comes on top of last year’s $1.4 million reduction, leaving families like Gennifer in Oran, MO; Heather, Katie and Nikki in Columbia, MO; Diane in Fenton, MO…the list goes on (see the Save MO Parents as Teachers programs Facebook fan page)…wondering why Missouri can’t connect the dots.