pictureI start every morning the same way. I sip my coffee and skim the news, usually education news. This morning I came across a good article in Huffington Post, Why Investing in Kids Is Good for Business.

It serves as a powerful reminder. In New York, we are days away from a budget deal. The budget is expected to be complete within a week on Wednesday, April 1st. Now, as they say, it is down to three men in a room. Those men would be Governor Cuomo, Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Skelos.

Over the past few months, many important early education proposals have been discussed and the outcome remains unclear. The stakes feel high. For example, the future for QUALITYstarsNY, New York’s quality rating and improvement system, will depend on securing funding in the final budget because federal Race to the Top funding runs out in June. Governor Cuomo’s executive budget included funding, while the Senate and Assembly budgets did not. In the past two weeks, we have seen educators and parents contacting their representatives to explain the importance of this critical investment. It is inspiring stuff. Click here to see an example from one amazing QUALITYstarsNY program, Club Fed Child Care Center in Albany, NY. An overwhelming number of QUALITYstarsNY programs signed a letter asking leadership to include the investment in the final budget proposal. Similar outreach is occurring to support expanded preschool and child care investments. There is a lot of uncertainty, but this uncertainty has been met with action on behalf of kids and families across New York.

In this final week, let’s take a moment to remember just WHY early education is such a powerful investment (taken from the Huffington Post article referenced above):

  • The economic case is clear: We also know that investing in early childhood education improves the educational attainment of individuals in the long term, and will lead them to better and brighter economic futures. These realities show us beyond a shadow of a doubt that when children start behind, they so often stay behind,
  • The evidence is clear: Over 90 percent of brain development occurs between a child's birth and the time they are five-years-old, and that so many life outcomes are impacted and determined during those precious early years.
  • The science is clear: As Dr. Craig Ramey of Virginia Tech has shown through a 30-year longitudinal study and comparison of at-risk youth who received quality childcare and those who didn't, 23 percent of individuals who received childcare were college graduates by age 30, compared to just 6 percent of those who did not.

We work on behalf of children. It is our job to support and encourage leadership in our state to do the same. Thank you to those who have. We have five days left!


Bonnie Beukema is the Deputy Director for the Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, CUNY. Two parts wonk and one part activist, Bonnie started her career in education as a policy analyst and advocate, organizing parents to speak out to policymakers. She used those lessons to lead early education system reform efforts at the Washington State Department of Early Learning, culminating in a successful Race to the Top initiative. She is pictured above with her adorable niece.