“It’s 12:01 a.m. and thousands of kids across the country will immediately begin feel the effects of a federal government shutdown—one that could shut down their future success in school and life.

According to new information released by the National Head Start Association, just one day of a government shutdown could prevent 19,000 Head Start kids in 10 different states from attending classes. These cuts add to the 58,000 spots already eliminated earlier this year due to the sequester.

Parents and families across the country recognize that now is not the time to be cutting programs or shutting down opportunities for children. We need our leaders to be bolstering and investing in early childhood programs to give our economy the best chance to succeed, not bickering and posturing. We have too much at stake.

A recent bipartisan poll commissioned by FFYF demonstrates that these negative effects on our children are exactly what Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike strongly oppose. They have voiced strong support for investments in early childhood education – not cuts. The poll found that 70 percent of voters support a federal plan to help states provide better early childhood education programs to low- and middle-income families for children from birth to age 5, a plan that does not increase the debt. This is because 86 percent of American voters see ensuring children get a good start in life as an important national priority, second only to increasing jobs and economic growth.

In addition, 70 percent of voters say that we should be doing more to make sure children start school on the right foot with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed; 63 percent  say that Congress should act now to invest in early childhood education. These survey findings emphasize the need to stop cuts and start investing. Quality early childhood development is critical to making sure every child has the foundational skills for success in the 21st century and it more than pays for itself by creating more highly skilled, valuable and productive adults who contribute to society.

Support for early childhood education is not just limited to parents and families. Business leaders, members of the military and policymakers across the country view early childhood education as a common sense solution to growing our economy stronger. They understand that investing in early childhood education produces big gains not just for children, but for taxpayers as well, as investments in early childhood education for disadvantaged children can produce returns of 7-10 percent per year for every dollar invested.

Our children can’t wait another day for the quality education they deserve. It’s time to show support for America’s future by urging members of Congress to invest in early childhood education – before it’s too late.”