Brain scientists, educators, economists and public health experts have long agreed and research has proven that the best chance for long-term success for at-risk children begins at birth. With greater public awareness, there is growing bipartisan support among policymakers for increasing public investment in high-quality early childhood programs.
To shed light on the history and importance of this support, the Ounce of Prevention Fund hosted a Winter Educational Seminar March 12, 2015. The annual event is an opportunity to educate donors, partners and early childhood champions on a topic around early childhood learning.
This year’s seminar, “The Politics of Early Childhood Education: Bipartisan Consensus on Capitol Hill,” featured Kris Perry, president of the First Five Years Fund, the federal policy initiative of the Ounce and national advocate for early childhood education. Perry provided an insider’s perspective on how early learning developed as a bipartisan national priority—and made a strong case for how essential it is to leverage this momentum now.
“When things really get done is when there is agreement and lawmakers are voting together on something and pushing it through,” Perry said. This agreement is why policymakers are so encouraged by early childhood. “It is one of the only bipartisan areas of agreement in Washington.”
This agreement offers an opportunity to improve the landscape of early learning nationally. Perry explained that the ultimate federal advocacy goal is to incur a permanent investment in early learning that supports high-quality education for all children, including the 6 million young children living in poverty in the United States.