Learning begins way before students reach kindergarten. Lack of appropriate stimulation can have serious and sustained effects on a child and the whole community. The research on brain development, economic development, and educational outcomes is clear: We need to invest early.
See our INVEST EARLY ADVOCACY TOOLKIT to learn how you can help make early childhood investment a priority for Arkansas.
- More than half the achievement gap found in later school years is already present when children enter kindergarten, and this disproportionately affects children living in poverty (Source: Stedron and Shah, Recommendation One, The College Completion Agenda State Policy Guide, College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, 2010).
- Investing early leads to higher returns and a more effective K-12 system.
- Studies have found that the Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) pre-K program reduces the achievement gap among 4-year-olds by improving early language, literacy, and mathematical development, compared with their peers who did not attend preschool (National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER); Arkansas Research Center).
- Children who attend pre-K are far more likely to graduate from high school than their peers who did not attend pre-K.
- Quality early education leads to college/career-ready students and productive adults.
Quality early childhood education is critical for our state to compete globally.
- Facing a decline in the number of skilled workers, American business leaders overwhelmingly back public funding for pre-kindergarten to keep the U.S. economy globally competitive, according to surveys by Zogby International.
- Economists recommend that any economic development proposal should have early childhood development at the top. The return on investment from early childhood development is extraordinary, resulting in better working public schools, more educated workers, and less crime (Source: Millett, Scope View Strategic Advantage, U.S. Quality Early Education: A Global Competitive Imperative, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis).
We need to spend wisely and support what works.
- There are still an estimated 15,641 eligible 3- and 4-year-old children (below 200 percent of poverty) without an opportunity for a strong foundation. There is no more efficient tool in closing the achievement gap; the cost of not providing them with this opportunity is high and inefficient to the K-12 system.
*Funded Head Start slots subtracted to reach this total