DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Committee on Education and The Workforce – Minority Staff
Sent By: Alex.Payne@mail.house.gov
Bill: H.R. 2411
Date: 12/21/2015

Invest Now, Save Later: Strengthen Early Education and Support the Strong Start for America’s Children Act

Every dollar we invest in preschool today is estimated to save anywhere from $3 to $7 in the long run, and these savings are realized in a range of ways.  Research consistently shows there are meaningful and measurable social and health outcomes for adults who attended high-quality preschool programing as infants and toddlers.  Children who attend preschool are more likely to live healthier lifestyles as adults and are less likely to be incarcerated, participate in public assistance programs, or develop a range of costly chronic diseases.

Despite these findings, high-quality preschool programming is consistently underfunded.  Among developed nations, the U.S. ranks 25th in the percentage of 4-year olds enrolled in high-quality preschool programs.  A growing gap has also emerged between high-income and low- to moderate-income families, with the latter finding it increasingly difficult to enroll in or afford high-quality programing.  According to one study, high-income children are, on average, twice as likely to attend preschool as their lower income counterparts.

To address this gap and expand opportunity for all children, we recently introduced the Strong Start for America’s Children Act.  This legislation would authorize a bold, 10-year federal-state partnership to expand and improve early learning opportunities for children across the birth-to-age-five continuum. Through immediate short-term federal investments and a fiscally responsible funding model that requires states to match federal grants in increasing amounts over time, the bill assists states in developing sustainable, long-term preschool enrollment models that ensure access to high-quality preschool for low- and moderate-income children.

Amidst ongoing and important discussions regarding our deficit and debt, we must not forget the importance of investing in our future. Expanding preschool access is an investment that pays for itself, through higher lifetime earnings, lower incarceration rates, better health outcomes, higher high school and college graduation rates, and better family outcomes. We hope that you will join us in supporting this legislation.  To join as a cosponsor or to receive more information, please contact Nick Stewart (Nick.Stewart@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Hanna’s office or Alex Payne (Alex.Payne@mail.house.gov) in the Committee on Education and the Workforce’s minority staff office.

Sincerely,

Richard L. Hanna                                                          Robert C. “Bobby” Scott

U.S. Representative                                                      Ranking Member

                                                                                   Committee on Education and the Workforce