Last Thursday, President Obama returned home to the Chicago area to deliver a speech at Northwestern University. The President presented his broad economic agenda, introducing five key cornerstones to “lay the new foundation of America’s 21st century economy.”
Number two on the President’s list are new investments in education. And he made sure to include our nation’s littlest learners in his vision for educating tomorrow’s workforce:
“If we make high-quality preschool available to every child, not only will we give our kids a safe place to learn and grow while their parents go to work; we’ll give them the start that they need to succeed in school, and earn higher wages, and form more stable families of their own. In fact, today, I’m setting a new goal: By the end of this decade, let’s enroll 6 million children in high-quality preschool. That is an achievable goal that we know will make our workforce stronger.”
American voters have the President’s back on this one. A majority of voters surveyed in recent months – Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike— say that we should be doing more to expand access to preschool and early learning opportunities.
More and more of our leaders from all political persuasions understand the link between investments in quality early childhood programs and our nation’s present and future economic prosperity.
President Obama is right – 6 million children in high-quality preschool by 2020 is an achievable goal. But we need our elected leaders at the state and federal level to respond to voter demands and support investments in high quality early childhood education.