Business Statement of Support for Early Investments in DC's Youngest Learners
June 1, 2021
As business and employer representatives in the District of Columbia, we believe that investing in a strong education and workforce pipeline, starting at the earliest ages, is essential to promote the life success of District residents, advance racial equity, support working parents now, and generate a thriving economy.
Research shows that the early years are the most important time period for brain development, laying the foundation for building the executive functioning and technical skills and abilities necessary for a successful life. There is already a learning gap by age three, which is often especially pronounced for children of color. This is due to the legacy of racial discrimination and generational underinvestment in education in Black and Latinx communities, making the early years the root of much racial and economic inequity.
Quality infant/toddler child care in the District is both scarce and among the most expensive in the nation, creating a barrier to full employment. Public investments in quality early education and child care, including fair compensation that recognizes the valuable contributions of early educators, will help parents enter the workforce and focus on their jobs, as well as ensure the viability of this essential small business sector.
We believe that public investments in quality early education and health programs can generate benefits for employers, families, children and other residents across the District, now and in the future. A new resident - an opportunity and a responsibility - is born every hour. The District needs to build on its nation-leading Pre-K program to help all of those future employees and neighbors start on the path to life success.
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A strong education and workforce pipeline, starting at the earliest ages, is essential to promote
the life success of District residents, advance racial equity, and generate a thriving economy. The
District is not developing the workforce talent it needs, which could cost jobs now and in the
future. Business leaders have a vested interest in public funding for early childhood education
and care, health, and other services for children birth to age three that both prepare them for
success and enable working parents to focus on their jobs. This brief makes the case for funding
those services, which are incorporated in the landmark Birth-to-Three For All DC Act of 2018. Here is the version with full footnotes.