Did you know that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has done and released a paper on the importance of early childhood education and why businesses should invest in the effort to fund early childhood education?
An article from the New York Times asks if the businesses will "buy in" to the ideas and importance. We have seen recently that in these difficult economic times, education in general but especially early education funding is one of the first items to be cut from the budget.
Nancy Folbre, author of "Will Business Buy In To Early Childhood Education" discusses how the call for business involvement is more than "charitable giving and on-site learning centers for employees with children" but to affect the political environment with "strong commitments to expand our education system significantly." Folbre asserts that even though businesses in the long run will benefit from early education initiatives the rate of return might be too far away and instead business focus on the immediate. For example the fact that "they see a large reserve army of the unemployed, especially among workers in their 20s." Businesses' needs are being met by the number of 20 somethings that are jobless, why focus on the children that won't be joining the workforce for another 15 years?
The report "Why Business Should Support Early Childhood Education" from the Institute for a Competitive Workforce says to:
INVEST: Invest in educational and development resources for disadvantaged families to provide equal access to successful early human development.
DEVELOP: Nurture early development of cognitive and social skills in children from birth to age five.
SUSTAIN: Sustain early development with effective education through to adulthood.
GAIN: Gain a more capable, productive, and valuable workforce that pays dividends to America for generations to come.
Some examples of how states and business are working together for early childhood education:
- Businesses partner with not-for-profit organizations like United Way to set goals and continue to partner to meet them.
- Public-Private partnership to fund early education initiatives
- State businesses formed a committee to advocate and educate regarding the importance of early childhood education.
- Provide scholarships to low income families to pay for the programs that help educate the parents and the children together.
- State chamber of commerce endorse state ballot initiatives for early childhood education
Take Action as a businessperson and as a community member. Business can Affect early childhood education. The list above are real practices, you can read more about them here (starting on page 16). Get involved some businesses and states are coming up with creative solutions!
Do you have any ideas? Share them in the comments!