Conversations on Advancing Early Learning

High-quality child care and pre-K programs are not just essential to the healthy development and school readiness of young children, they are vital to the nation’s economy. Unfortunately, too many programs today lack the necessary elements for children to realize their full educational (and later workforce) potential; more concerning, early learning remains out of reach for millions, particularly children in underserved communities.

For over fifty years, the Committee for Economic Development (CED) has helped to bridge the gap between the business community and policy leaders so that they can play an essential role in boosting early educational access and quality. CED is pleased to present a podcast series about key early learning issues that features both CED Members as well as national experts.

CED thanks the Alliance for Early Success for their generous support of this work.

Top 5 List of Business Leader Recommendations for Early Education Engagement

  1. 1
    Promote the return on investment. As early learning philanthropist J.B. Pritzker noted, “The returns on investing in early education for at-risk kids are 7-10% consistent per year, and calculated based upon the savings that can be realized during their lifetimes: lower incarceration rates, higher graduation rates, their ability to get a job, and better health.”

    Click here to download a PDF of the Top 5 List.

  2. 2
    Highlight the connection between early learning and life-long success. Describe how a strong educational start improves success in school and the workplace, and enriches community vitality. If you care about strengthening our economic competitiveness, putting our nation’s fiscal house in order, and lowering imprisonment rates, then you care about advancing early education.

    Click here to download a PDF of the Top 5 List.

  3. 3
    Lead by example. Ensure that your own employees have high-quality child care by sharing what we know about parenting seminars, and helping them to find and assess quality care settings and providers.

    Click here to download a PDF of the Top 5 List.

  4. 4
    Leverage available resources. Find local advocates for high-quality child care and look for ways to collaborate. Often times, they welcome the opportunity to provide talking points and data to support outreach efforts for key stakeholders.

    Click here to download a PDF of the Top 5 List.

  5. 5
    Voice your support when the time is right. The bulk of funding for early education programs comes through the states, which also face their own budget constraints. Be prepared with your talking points for the appropriate time to weigh in with policymakers.

    Click here to download a PDF of the Top 5 List.

August 30, 2016

Unraveling the Science of Early Brain Development

When you look at brain development in general, you see this huge growth in the early period. 70% of (adult) size by 1 year of age and 95% by age 5…the architecture of the brain is being built and it’s strongly influenced by experience.

You’ve got businesses all over the country demanding a labor force that’s sophisticated, talented, creative, inventive, and hard working…where are they going to get that workforce? The way to start is in the beginning.

Real role is for cooperation between business leaders, government leaders, and scientists…that hasn’t been fully exercised yet.

One principle that comes from the brain science that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise is this notion that the brain…it codes how humans want to interact.

Featuring Dr. Patricia Kuhl 
University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences

July 01, 2016

The Role of Philanthropy in Early Learning

…remember that many of CED’s Members are incredibly influential—business people are incredibly influential—they don’t often use that influence in the public policy arena or…think about early childhood, but when they do, they can make an enormous difference.

When I was thinking about what I might do…to make the world a better place…I fell in love with [early childhood education] because it fits with the way I think in business…there’s an awful lot you can do when you start early to build something great.

When investing in and course correcting early in the life of at risk kids…you’re really improving the child’s life and their family’s lives.

So little money is focused in the early childhood arena, which is a tremendously unfortunate fact…we could spend a lot less in K-12 on remediation if we spent just a little more in early childhood education.

Many parents don’t know that even when the child is sitting in their bassinette…that it’s important to talk to their child…that whole endeavor is all about brain development…and the more we can prepare parents for that effort, the better off we all are.

Featuring J.B. Pritzker
Co-Founder and Managing Partner
Pritzker Group

See J.B. Pritzker’s A Funder’s Guide to Early Childhood Development from Birth to Five for more information.

June 06, 2016

How Business is Improving Access and Quality

For a bank, while we are not in a position to evaluate educational theory – we do know something about return on investment…and this line of research (on early education), was something we could relate to.

We were making financial contributions to a wide variety of interests, and then Jim Rohr (former Chairman and CEO) asked: could we make a difference if we focused our philanthropy on one item?

There can never be too much engagement on this issue.

Featuring Tom Lamb
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs
PNC Financial Services Group

May 24, 2016

Insights from Research About a Strong Educational Start for Children

Children are born with all the neurons that they need in life, but they don’t have the synaptic connections that determine what type of person they’ll be, or what kind of life they’ll have…the experiences that children have before they go to formal schooling are critical because it’s the fastest period of brain growth.

I discovered that less than 40% of kids went to school to learn, so I began thinking: how can we change that to create life-long learners?

Children are born learning and you can’t stop them for learning – it’s a survival skill. And yet, I was finding through a series of studies of older children that too many kids were dropping out of school, and dropping out of learning as well…that fire in their eyes was being extinguished. I wanted to figure out how we could keep that fire burning.

Child care, like all politics, is local.

Featuring Ellen Galinsky
President and Co-Founder
Families and Work Institute

April 10, 2016

The Importance of Investing in Early Learning

The single best investment that a community can make in economic development is in early intervention with at-risk youth, including pre-school education.

You can compare brains from a child that has been properly stimulated and supported against one that has been neglected and abused, and one is actually twice the size of the other at an early age.

Featuring Mike Chesser
Former Chairman and CEO (Retired)
Great Plains Energy, Inc.

January 29, 2016

The Role of Educators

“We have a long way to go in addressing the need for excellent curricular alignment of the standards. Without the curricula, professional development is essentially unfocused.”

“We could take all the time we want without good curricula and [implementation of the core standards] wouldn’t happen. We have to have a dedication to a substantial development effort.”

Featuring Susan Fuhrman
The Teachers College
Columbia University