Early Childhood Policy
Quality early childhood learning and development set our future workforce on a trajectory to become successful, productive members of society. A key step that chambers of commerce are taking to support this development is incorporating early childhood education into their economic development strategies and policy agendas. By advocating on behalf of our youngest community members, chambers are planting the seeds for a competitive future workforce.
Chambers Supporting Early Childhood Policy
Chambers position early childhood under their education and workforce development legislative agendas through advocating for pre-k access and expansion, child care quality assurance, funding for child care assistance, advanced youth literacy standards, and increased youth healthcare access.
- Championing Success: Business Investment in Early Childhood Education Ė Learn how chambers and related business organizations in 49 states publicly support early childhood policy.
- Birmingham Business Alliance (Ala.) implemented a workforce action item (pg. 4) for the expansion of Alabamaís voluntary pre-k program. The BBA has advocated for this expansion for more than two years, and in that time, the number of eligible 4-year-olds has increased from 4% to 10%. The state legislature has also increased the budget by several million dollars to establish new classrooms in order to accommodate this growth.
- Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is at the forefront of the current national education legislative agenda. As long-time champions of the business need for quality early care, leaders from four Major City chambers in Tennessee ó Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville ó submitted a joint letter to Senator Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, asking to include a dedicated funding stream to improve access to high-quality early childhood education in the ESEA reauthorization.
- The Denver Metro Chamber lists education as one of its five critical policy issues. Early childhood is incorporated within this overarching education agenda, with a focus on pre-k and kindergarten access and K-3rd grade literacy. Additionally, the chamberís Education Committee cites their scope of work as including the entire P-20 system.
- The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce (Va.) lists early childhood education as one of its priorities for the 2017 Virginia General Assembly Legislative Session. The chamberís early education policy statements include support for low-income pre-k access and quality assurance for parents.
- The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce believes quality early education is the key to creating a better-prepared workforce for the state of Kentucky:
- The chamberís chairwoman spoke at a state capitol press conference in support of early childhood investment after Americaís Edge released a report citing the long-term economic benefits of early education in Kentucky.
- The chamber supports legislation that would allow the state to allocate funds to the development of a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) for child care institutions based on child-to-caregiver ratios, staff training, program curriculum, and regulatory compliance.
- The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce views early childhood education and health as a requisite factor in its cradle to career policy approach:
- The chamberís Education & Workforce Development Council advocates for improved alignment and articulation of the full pipeline from early childhood to workforce. The councilís agenda cites increased expansion and investment in early care, education and health as a key strategy.
- This policy agenda handout from the chamberís 2014 DC Fly-In demonstrates its stance on strengthening and expanding early education and childrenís health programs.
- The Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce (Mont.) supports legislation that will increase access to affordable and quality early childhood education for Montana families. The chamberís 2014-2015 Policy Manual (pg. 19) also cites how access to early education allows parents increased opportunities to enter the labor market and reduces absenteeism.
- The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce believes that early childhood development is the foundation for education attainment and career preparedness. In the chamberís 2014 Legislative Priorities Agenda (pg. 10), the chamber takes a stand on child care assistance cuts, recommending that the state restore state child care assistance to include families earning up to 150% of the federal poverty level.
- The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce publicly pledged its support for the Seattle Preschool Program, a pilot universal pre-k model. The chamber used an evidence-based approach in supporting the program legislation by organizing a roadshow for its delegates and business members to examine other universal pre-k models in Boston and New Jersey.
- The Virginia Chamber of Commerce facilitates Blue Print Virginia, a year-long economic development initiative. Early Childhood Education is one of the fundamental components of the planís ďEducational Excellence Indicator,Ē with the chamber using advocacy as its main vehicle in implementing its early education goals.
- Mike Petters, CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries and Blue Print Steering Committee member, delivered a briefing titled "The Economics of Early Childhood Education." View the script and video.
- View sample early childhood position statements here.
- Alliance for Early Success strives to advance state policies that lead to improved health, learning, and economic outcomes for young children.
- Policy Framework - A state policy roadmap that outlines three priority areas essential for the development of children on the birth through age 8 continuum: health, family support, and learning.
- First Five Years Fund provides a collection of free, downloadable infographics, videos, and letters that your chamber can use to convey its policy investment in early childhood education.
- The Ounce of Prevention Fund seeks to ensure that all children have quality early childhood experiences in the crucial first five years of life.
- Early Childhood Advocacy Toolkit - Includes resources and samples for message framing, working with the media, letter templates, common acronyms list, and more.
- Talking Points to use to convey your investment to members and key officials.
- ReadyNation is a leading business leader organization working to strengthen business through better policies for children and youth.
- Advocacy Toolkit - Includes resources to help business leaders make the case for early childhood policy, and includes industry-specific communication briefs.
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| Early Childhood PolicyLast Updated: 10/9/2017