SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Deficit reduction, a stronger economy and safer streets are within the grasp of Californians as election day approaches, according to a leading advocate for early childhood education.
Passing Propositions 30 and 38 is the key to a host of financial and social benefits statewide as well as to halting a devastating slide in educational funding, which over the past four years has seen a 42 percent reduction in funding.
"Early education can be a child's ticket out of poverty forever," says Giuliana Halasz, CEO of PACEAPP, the Professional Association for Early Childhood Education Alternative Payment Program.
"Unfortunately, without it we see their future written in stone – poor school performance and too often failure to get a diploma. High school dropouts are seven times more likely to go to prison. And we wonder why we spend so much on the criminal justice system. We have it all backwards."
A vast body of scientific evidence indicates that before a child reaches the age of 3, 85 percent of the brain's core functions are permanently formed. These functions govern abilities that will predict whether the child succeeds, thrives and grows up to become a productive member of society.
Early childhood education fosters positive development, leading to increased test scores, high school completion, higher rates of college enrollment, lesser rates of involvement in crime and greater worker productivity.
"The minimal taxes proposed by Props. 30 and 38 are our initial investment in California's future," says Halasz, whose organization claims members, including pre-schools that operate more than 1,000 education centers statewide, serving more than 55,000 children and 10,000 teachers and directors throughout California.
PACE's commitment to reversing devastating cuts to early childhood education is inspired by such authorities as James J. Heckman, Ph.D, a Nobel laureate in economics and an economics professor at the University of Chicago.
"Investing in early childhood education for at-risk children is an effective strategy for reducing social costs," says Dr. Heckman.
His groundbreaking work with a consortium of economists, psychologists, statisticians and neuroscientists has shown that early childhood development directly influences economic, health and social outcomes for individuals and society.
"The families of at-risk children lack the resources to provide the early developmental stimulation that is so helpful for success in school, college, career and life. Poor health, dropout rates, poverty and crime – California can address these problems and substantially reduce their costs to taxpayers by investing in developmental opportunities for at-risk children."
Says Martine Singer, a PACE member and prominent educator in Los Angeles, "High-quality education is the way out of poverty." Singer, president of Para Los Ninos, a Los Angeles-based child services agency and charter school operator, says that neglecting early childhood education while continuing to fund the state's robust juvenile detention and prison systems is "the classic mistake of penny-wise and pound-foolish."
Benefits of Early Childhood Education
- For every dollar spent on high-quality early childhood education, society at large saves $4 to $17 by reducing the need for special education programs and welfare, by cutting crime and by reducing grade retention.
- Every dollar spent on subsidizing child care results in a savings of $2.17 for the overall economy.
- Improved academic success for children through higher test scores and better attendance.
- Increased rates of high school completion and college attendance, resulting in greater earnings potential for students and a seven-fold reduction in the likelihood of ending up in the criminal justice system.
PACE backs "yes" on Propositions 30 and 38 as the best way to avoid further catastrophic cuts to vital education programs. Says Halasz: "By voting for both propositions, you help ensure that at least one of them will go into effect, avoiding devastating cuts to the entire California education system."
Proposition 30 would increase income taxes by 1 to 3 percent on those earning $250,000 per year or more, as well as add ¼ cent to the state sales tax. Proposition 38 would increase income taxes by between .04 percent (at an income of $7,316 a year) and 2.2% (at $2.5 million a year). Tax credits will shelter many lower-income taxpayers from any increase. Both propositions fund education, but Proposition 38 is the only one to spell out how much would go to early childhood education. Both propositions provide for public accounting, annual audits and no money spent for administrative costs.
Support for Propositions 30 and 38 is "more than a fiscal issue," says Halasz. "Education is every child's birthright, and this is about giving them a head start. It's morally right to give these children a chance."
About PACE (www.pacenet.org)
The Professional Association for Childhood Education (PACE) is a non-profit, California statewide organization established in 1955. PACE members operate in excess of 1,000 centers, serving more than 55,000 children in California.
Zanides Public Relations
SOURCE The Professional Association for Childhood Education (PACE)