Elisha Smith Arrillaga and Carrie Hahnel, interim co-executive directors of The Education Trust-West, a research, policy and advocacy organization, wrote an op-ed in the San Diego Union Tribune referencing Early Edge California and the need to expand Early Learning programs.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has included a number of ways to invest in Early Learning in his proposed 2019-2020 state budget. While these initiatives are debated over the next few months, universal preschool should be an obvious choice.
The research on preschool boosting later educational achievement, economic mobility, and health and well-being, shows it is an investment that should be made. Children who attend preschool are more likely to graduate from high school and college, and are more likely to earn higher salaries. For decades, Early Learning advocates have been making recommendations for how California could increase program access and quality.
“Early Edge California published data demonstrating widespread support for expanding preschool access. Yet despite the overwhelming research on the benefits of preschool, the expertise housed within our state, and the bipartisan, cross-sector support for funding early learning programs, we have continued to underdeliver on the type of early learning opportunities we know our children deserve. The state’s under-funding of early education has left us with a significant unmet need, particularly alarming in a state where one out of five children lives in poverty.. Over 200,000 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds whose family incomes make them eligible for state-supported preschool are not enrolled.”