UPDATE: Ohio wins Race to the Top Early Childhood Grant. Ohio will receive $69,993,362 the full grant amount requested and the most of any of the nine states selected, for the federal Race to the Top (RttT) – Early Learning Challenge Grant.
Funding will be used to improve the quality of programs that serve high-needs children from birth to five years and to carefully measure the results of programs in alignment with Governor John Kasich’s goals of creating better metrics and coordination among agencies that serve young people.
Original story below
Children from 0 to 5 years old can't fight for themselves to get a better start at life. That's why some people say this is not just an economic issue, but the moral justice issue of our time.
If you're born into a family that lives in an middle class neighborhood, chances are, your life will turn out better than if you were born in an impoverished area.
Former P&G CEO John Pepper says it shouldn't be this way.
"We can't have a society where just because you were born in one place, you end up being a couple of years behind before you're even in school," said Pepper.
But this is the reality for many of the young children growing up in poverty in Cincinnati. Research from the United Way shows, children with no documented preschool from low income families don't show up to Kindergarten ready.
Greg Landsman, executive director of the Strive Partnership and a father of two children in the 0 to 5 age range knows just how critical this time frame is for development.
"When they show up to Kindergarten prepared, statistically speaking, they do very well," Landsman said. "They're excited about their education. They'll succeed academically. They graduate from high school. And you know the rest is history. If they don't show up to Kindergarten prepared, and there's a big split when they don't, they struggle on average and it becomes very expensive. It's quite frankly a justice issue for these children."
Nobel Prize Laureate in economics James Heckman says the investment in early childhood pays better dividends than the stock market, for the life of the child. Heckman says the return comes in a combination of savings from not having to go back and help children who are behind and economic gains made through increased productivity in their adult lives.
But it's more than economics.
"It has everything to do with the moral right of a young person to grow up and do everything that they can be and be everything that they can be," Pepper said.
Pepper serves on the board of the Ohio Business Council with PNC's Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky President Kay Geiger. Geiger is also chaired this year's United Way Campaign.
"If we're not prepared, we're going to spend the rest of our time repairing," Geiger said. "We find ourselves wondering why we don't have a prepared workforce, because they weren't prepared from beginning."
With PNC's unprecedented investment in early childhood education with a national $250 million commitment over 10 years , and the United Way's local commitment to early childhood education ($14 million of their $60 million budget goes to early learning programs), Geiger says this issue is a passion project for her.
"This is about our country's survival," said Geiger. "This is about our country's future and we have to really be taking a collective voice. We have to be advocates and we have to be informed and we have to have a much better funding and approach both publicly and privately."
Stephanie Byrd works with Geiger. She oversees the United Way's Success by Six programs which have made measurable progress over the years with kindergarten readiness. In 2010, 53 percent of children were considered ready for Kindergarten. That's nine percentage points better than the 2005-06 school year.
Byrd says their bold goal is to get to 85 percent by 2020, but to get there they will need help.
"When you don't have a dedicated revenue stream for a given area such as early childhood education, they become subject to cuts in the budget and cuts in services," said Byrd.
Byrd, Landsman, Pepper and Geiger say that with so much of the brain's development occurring from 0 to 5, more public funding should be directed toward early learning.
"I would argue that we're under-invested in both," said Arne Duncan of the U.S. Department of Education. "If we're robbing Peter to pay Paul, I think that's the wrong debate. I think we need to invest more in high quality early childhood education particularly in disadvantaged communities and we need to invest in K to 12 reform, not in the status quo... we have to increase the pot."
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
|•||Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services|
|•||Nat’l Assoc. of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies (NACCRA)|
|•||U.S.Administration for Children and Families|
|•||Child Care Aware|
|•||OH Dept. of Education – Early Learning Initiative (ELI)|
|•||Ohio Daycare Licensing Standards|
|•||Ohio School Boards Association|
|•||Ohio Department of Education|
|•||Ohio School Athletic Association|
|•||Ohio Board of Regents|
|•||University System of Ohio|
|•||Ohio College Access Network|
|•||Ohio Association of Community Colleges|
|•||Ohio Private Colleges|
|•||Step Up To Quality|
|•||Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services|
|•||Kentucky Daycare Licensing Requirement|
|•||Kentucky Center for School Safety|
|•||Kentucky Elementary and Intermediate Grades (DOE)|
|•||Kentucky Dept of Education|
|•||Kentucky Center for School Safety|
|•||Kentucky Athletic Association|
|•||Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities|
|•||Kentucky Private Colleges|
|•||Stars for Kids Now|
|•||Indiana Daycare State Requirements|
|•||Indiana Family and Social Services Administration|
|•||Indiana Academic Standards and Resources|
|•||Indiana Department of Education|
|•||Indiana School Directory|
|•||Advancing Excellence in Education (Indiana)|
|•||Indiana College Network|
|•||Paths To Quality|