First Five Years Fund Calls on President Obama to Reduce Inequality and Create Opportunity by Investing in Early Childhood Education

The First Five Years Fund commended President Barack Obama for his emphasis on addressing inequality, creating opportunity and strengthening the next generation workforce in his second inaugural address.

“We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit, but we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future,” the president said yesterday.

Kris Perry, executive director of the First Five Years Fund, urged President Obama to invest in quality early learning programs to grow the economy and reduce inequality, emphasizing the importance of starting early.

“Education starts at birth, not kindergarten or even preschool. Research shows that early development of cognitive and character skills is essential for later functioning in formal schooling and throughout life. Waiting until four or five is too little, too late, especially for disadvantaged children,” she said.

“Early learning is an issue that has long garnered bipartisan support, and we are hopeful that this address furthers the dialog between the administration and Congress about how best to support at-risk young children,” Perry said.

Perry encouraged early childhood education supporters to heed the president’s call “to shape the debates of our time.”

“It is incumbent upon all of us to speak out and speak up about the critical role that quality early learning opportunities play in ensuring that our children are prepared to succeed in school, college, career and life,” she said.