Preschool for All: Quality Care, Education for All Young Children

Article excerpt

A group of business and education leaders recently called for free, high quality preschool education for all children ages three and over who have not yet entered kindergarten. In Preschool for All: Investing in a Productive and Just Society, the nonpartisan Committee for Economic Development (CED) recommends that preschool be made available through a variety of providers for all children whose parents want them to participate. To achieve this goal, CED is calling on the business community to help build public understanding about the economic and social need for early childhood education in the United States.

"While the U.S. debates over increasing its investment in early education, many industrialized countries are already far surpassing us," said Charles Kolb, CED president. "One of the goals of the 1989 Education Summit of the President and the nation's governors was to ensure that all children start school ready to learn. While we have progressed in areas such as testing and accountability, strong bipartisan support of early education has yet to be achieved."

CED's report stresses that helping all children start school ready to learn is critical to their future success and to the well being of society as a whole. "Research demonstrates that prekindergarten age children have a much greater capacity to learn than was previously realized," said Roy J. Bostock, chairman, B/Com3 Group, Inc., and co-chair, CED Education Subcommittee. "Early education offers long-term benefits for both children and for society, benefits that can substantially offset the costs involved."

Preschool for All sees a strong state/federal partnership as the most timely and equitable means of accomplishing the goal of universal access to preschool. States should be responsible for ensuring the availability of prekindergarten programs, while the federal and state governments should share responsibility for financing early learning. …