NBLC’s top public policy priority is education. We have four goals to improve education and thereby, create the workforce we need to fill the 21st Century jobs being created in the North Bay. One of these goals is to improve and expand early child education and care (ECE). Why? Because our children are the next generation of workers and leaders. And as Nobel economist, James Heckman discovered, by investing in early child education and care, we get the best return on any investment in education.
Numerous studies show the profound impact of ECE on a child’s life course:
- 29% more likely to graduate from high school
- 80% more likely to go to college
- For every dollar invested in high quality preschool, nearly $7 in economic returns is generated.
NBLC supports universal pre-school and transitional kindergarten. We see the benefits of children not falling behind and being able to have a level playing field where they are not disadvantaged by being English learners or from differing socio-economic classes.
We also prize that quality early child education and care helps parents be employed, and more productive in their work. Companies that offer employees access to better childcare education and care are more attractive as employers and able to attract and retain top talent.
The U.S., and California in particular, are falling behind in educating our youngsters. The U.S. lags behind almost every other developed country when it comes to preschool. Each of these countries—including most of Western Europe and Scandinavia—enroll a greater proportion of four year olds in preschool and invest more in early child education relative to the size of their economies than the U.S. If we want to compete in a global market and be an economic leader, we must keep up with other countries when it comes to early child education.