New Orleans Forum on the Economic Promise of Investing in Early Education for All
CED and the Early Childhood & Family Learning Foundation co-hosted a luncheon forum on early childhood care and education featuring local and national experts to highlight the importance of improving the New Orleans school system while laying the educational groundwork to assure success for every child-"and for our community and economy". The message was that early childhood programs have a long-term and far-reaching impact. The presenters provided up-to-date information on an innovative local educational model and alternative financial models for funding prekindergarten programs to over 100 guests.
Business leaders including business keynote speaker Barbara Johnson, Chief Operating Officer, of the Greater New Orleans, Inc agreed that early childhood programs are a key strategy for improving the talent pool and success of the public education system in Louisiana. High quality early childhood care and education serve as a foundation for improving lifelong learning, economic growth and wealth distribution. The event's message was clear, business leaders should advocate for quality early childhood policies, programs, and child care as an economic issue, not just an education or social issue. The key to economic development in New Orleans is creating opportunity, which early childhood programs provide at the most vulnerable time in a child's life.
Other notable speakers included Phyllis Landrieu, Co-Founder, Early Childhood & Family Learning Foundation; Irvin Bell, Board Member, Early Childhood & Family Learning Foundation; Jocelyn V. Sargent, Program Director, Youth and Education Programming, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Clive Belfield, Asst. Professor, Economics Department, Queens College, CUNY; Senator Ann Duplessis, State of Louisiana; Geoffrey Nagle, Director, Tulane Institute of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health; Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, New Orleans City Councilmember; Michael Hecht, President & CEO, Greater New Orleans, Inc.; Pat Cooper, President & CEO, Early Childhood & Family Learning Foundation.