The most frequently used words during the Democratic and Republican Conventions? Jobs (168 times), business (121 times), families (120), women (95), economy (94), government (79). The number of times early learning was mentioned? Sixteen.
Study after study shows that early childhood education is one of the most effective investments our country can make in the economic future of our nation, yet candidates have been largely silent on early learning’s proven potential to improve outcomes in education, health and economic prosperity.
If we are going to increase the number of legislative champions willing to expend the political capital necessary to protect, invest in and improve public early learning funding streams, we need a loud chorus, a consistent drumbeat and a unified refrain. As University of Minnesota economist Art Rolnick said at the First Five Years Fund’s bipartisan policy summit earlier this summer, “This is not a budget problem, this is a priority problem.”
To help fix the problem, First Five Years Fund (FFYF) signed a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action to highlight early learning in the 2012 election. To fulfill this commitment, we are launching a message guide and tools you can use during the campaign season to help make some noise. The full song book, available here, includes simple, customizable tools:
- a voter card advocates can use when talking with candidates at town halls or other campaign trail appearances;
- a fact sheet about early learning’s return on investment to leave behind;
- a sample letter to candidates;
- and social media content to help light up Twitter and Facebook.
Please join the choir and help us get the word out about these tools. Let’s end the silence and raise our voices. Here is the refrain:
Quality early childhood development is essential for the economy.