I applaud the Legislature’s Education Committee’s recent unanimous vote to put our state on a path to making voluntary pre-kindergarten programs available to all Maine children. Early learning programs are key to a child’s development. With the right start, including making sure all Maine kids have access to quality pre-K, more kids will be on course to do well in school and life. These foundational programs are key to the future success of Maine’s economy, employers and people.

High-quality early learning programs like pre-K can help lay the groundwork for the success of many Maine kids. The education they receive in the early years when rapid brain development takes place has a huge impact on a child’s skill development, how well they do in school, and their educational achievement level.

A 2017 research report by ReadyNation highlighted that children who participate in early learning programs are 35% more likely to graduate from high school and four times more likely to graduate from college. The report also found that higher educational achievement translates into stronger future employment: kids who participate in quality early learning programs are 42% more likely to be continually employed as adults.

The success of Maine’s economy, employers and people depends on a strong workforce. Projections show Maine is facing challenges in both the number of future workers and their skill level. Our state must do all we can to prepare today’s kids for strong futures so we all can prosper.

Increasing access to quality early learning programs like pre-K is one of the wisest investments Maine can make. I hope all Maine legislators agree with their colleagues on the Education Committee and make pre-K access a reality for all Maine kids.

 

Megan Sanborn
senior government relations specialist
Maine State Chamber of Commerce

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