Our Keynote Speaker for our Leadership and Teacher Training Days, Lon O’Neil the former CEO and President of The Society of Human Resource Managment (SHRM), last month spoke about why early care and education matters now more than ever. It matters to everyone not just the educators or the families with children, everyone! One of the take aways from the speech was the “elevator speech” for early care and education. The idea being that if you have 10 floors with someone on an elevator can you tell them in the time it takes to get to your destination the reasons why.
Our speaker broke it down into five key propositions for you to take to your teachers and your parents. Everyone you meet can be someone you tell and who can take the information further and help spread the word.
1. Kindergarten is too late — at least its too late for many children, especially those from disadvantaged households. Children who do not arrive at Kindergarten ready for the structure and content of the formal educational process are behind on day one and never catch up!
2. Early Education Generates High Returns! The return on investment (ROI) for investing in early care and education can be calculated, and that return is competitive with or superior to many discrete projects typically justified in economic development terms.
3. We (society) can pay now or pay later. Failure to invest in preschool programs results in failure in school which forces the channeling of resources – tax dollars, philanthropic and United Way funding – to treatment of social problems that are the consequence of that failure in school. Failure in school unquestionably contributes to the appalling statistics we see in phenomena such as school drop outs, teen pregnancy, crime and incarceration.
4. Success requires public and private leadership. For the foreseeable future, leadership action and effective delivery of early education will require a hybrid model. Achieving quality in early education will require a hybrid model. Achieving quality in early education requires concerted efforts on the part of the public education system, nonprofit agencies, for-profit providers, churches, and a diverse funding community. Government financing and other support are likely to be necessary, but not sufficient. Business leadership – as is so often the case at the state and community level – is critical to fill gaps and gain traction.
5. Finally – the train is leaving the station! Many states and communities across the country are moving forward on this issue and momentum for early childhood education is building. There is a growing recognition that htis is an idea whose time has come and progressive communities ought to and are getting on with it. With regard to international economic competition, the train has left the station. Many of our competitors are well ahead.
This “elevator speech” was brought together by our Keynote Speaker from his personal experience in corporate, the non-profit sector and an early care and education center. Stay tuned the next couple days for some more posts about some of the texts and studies that were referenced in the keynote speech.
Now is the time to tell everyone what investing in early care and education can mean, tell everyone, print out this list, print out the studies to come – the more you know the more it makes sense and realize it’s time to do something about it.