by James DeChene
Over the last 7 years, Governor Markell has made education a primary policy focus. Changes in student curriculum, creating new standardized testing standards, adoption of long-term performance goals, and significant investment in early childhood education have all been part of an over all strategy to help Delaware students raise their achievement levels. The State Chamber of Commerce has supported many of these initiatives because we believe today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce.
This year, Governor Markell has allocated $11.3 million for early childhood development targeted at pre-kindergarten aged children. Recent research has focused on early education as an investment. The National Conference of State Legislatures has prepared a summary of the latest economic research examining early education initiatives as public investments. Many policymakers have considered early education initiatives as a school readiness strategy or as a way to close the achievement gap. Now, economic experts are offering another reason: mounting evidence shows that investments in early education may be considered as an economic development strategy.
According to NCSL, their summary brief “highlights three reports: the first from Art Rolnick, Senior Vice President and Director of Research at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank; the second from James Heckman, Nobel Prize winner in economics from the University of Chicago; and the latest report from the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation on the longitudinal study of the Perry Preschool Program. These reports characterize the economics of investing in early education by examining state economic subsidies, skill development for individuals in the broader economic picture, and specific new findings from a path-breaking early education program.”
For more information on how important early education investment is to the business community, click here to read more.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.