120 business leaders urge Congress to increase pre-K funding

(Reuters)
(Reuters)

A group of 120 business leaders from across the country have sent a nonpartisan letter to Republican and Democratic congressional budget leaders urging them to boost funding for early childhood education.

Earlier this year President Obama called on Congress to greatly expand quality early childhood education preschool programs around the country.

The letter was organized by a group of national early childhood organizations, including the First Five Years Fund, ReadyNation and America’s Edge, to show widespread support for significant pre-K funding.  It says in part:

Research shows that the skills deficit emerges as early as 18 months, widens throughout the early years, and is difficult and expensive to close. Simply put, early skills are the essential foundation for later success. Fortunately, developmental science and economics point us to an effective and cost-efficient solution: quality early childhood programs for disadvantaged children from birth to age five.

Here’s the text of the letter:

 

November 5, 2013

 

Senator Patty Murray
Chairman, Senate Budget Committee
624 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

 

Representative Paul Ryan
Chairman, House Budget Committee
207 Cannon House Office Building
Washington DC 20515

 

Senator Jeff Sessions
Ranking Member, Senate Budget Committee
624 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20515

 

Representative Chris Van Hollen
Ranking Member, House Budget Committee
B-71Cannon House Office Building
Washington DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman Murray, Chairman Ryan, Ranking Member Sessions and Ranking Member Van Hollen:

 

As business leaders from across the country, we urge you to make early investments in human capital development that drives greater economic productivity and strength for our nation. The Budget Conference Committee should seek to close our budget deficit, while making greater investments in closing the deficit in skills that is weakening America’s workforce and economic competitiveness. Both these goals can be accomplished by making substantial investments in high quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children from birth to five.

 

Our businesses, and our nation as a whole, face a lack of skilled workers, a shrinking middle class, and diminishing buying power among consumers in housing, durable goods, products and services that have traditionally driven our economy. A strong, sustainable economy hinges on a workforce that is knowledgeable, smart, persistent, and capable of working in teams to solve complex problems, earning higher wages, and moving their families ahead through opportunity and enterprise. That is why we cannot close our budget deficit until we close our skills deficit.

 

Research shows that the skills deficit emerges as early as 18 months, widens throughout the early years, and is difficult and expensive to close. Simply put, early skills are the essential foundation for later success. Fortunately, developmental science and economics point us to an effective and cost-efficient solution: quality early childhood programs for disadvantaged children from birth to age five. They more than pay for themselves in better education, health, social, and economic outcomes. Just as importantly, they impart the skills that are essential for building our future workforce, reducing costly social spending and producing our way out of our budget deficits.

 

Investing in early childhood education is a practical, not partisan issue. Across the nation, Republican and Democratic governors are employing early childhood education as a solution for greater achievement, less crime and social dependency and more effective workforce development. But states don’t have the resources to do it alone. We need a federal investment that helps states and communities continue their work to provide innovation, access and outcomes that pay off for everyone. Your budget negotiations present a critical opportunity to leverage this worthy and much-needed solution for advancing America’s economic future. Investing in early learning is good for children, great for families and essential for business.

Sincerely,

Nicholas K. Akins
President and CEO, American Electric Power

John W. Altmeyer
President and CEO, Carlisle Construction Materials

Steven M. Altschuler
CEO, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

 

Thomas E. Arenberg
Managing Director (Retired), Accenture

 

Darrell W. Auterson
President and CEO, York County Economic Alliance

 

Curt Bailey
President, Related Midwest

 

Bruce M. Bartels
Former President, WellSpan Health

 

J. Robert Baum
Chairman, Highmark Inc.

 

Peter A. Benoliel
Chairman Emeritus, Quaker Chemical Corporation

 

Donald M. Bernhard
Director, Community Affairs, PPL

 

B. Bradford Billings
President and CEO, Blessing Health System

 

Arthur M. Blank
Owner and CEO, Atlanta Falcons
Co-founder, The Home Depot

 

Betsy C. Bort
Vice President, Commercial Lending, ERIEBANK

 

Terry R. Bossert
Vice President, Legislation and Regulatory Affairs, Range Resources Appalachia LLC

 

John J. Brennan
Chairman Emeritus and Senior Advisor, Vanguard

 

Peter P. Brubaker
Former President and CEO, Susquehanna Media Co.

 

John Bucksbaum
CEO, Bucksbaum Retail Properties

 

Brad Busse
Former President, Daniels & Associates

 

Anthony P. Campisi
President and CEO, Glatfelter Insurance Group

 

Kevin Carnes
President, Lakeshore Learning Materials

 

Denise S. Cesare
President and CEO, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

 

Michael Chesser
Chairman and CEO (Retired), Great Plains Energy, Inc.

 

Robert H. Colson
Distinguished Lecturer of Accountancy, Baruch College
Former Partner, Grant Thornton

 

Tanny Crane
President and CEO, Crane Group

 

Ann C. Crouter
Dean, Penn State University College of Health and Human Development

 

Maria A. Culp
Former President and CEO, Central Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce

 

Peter J. Danchak
President, Northeast PA, PNC Bank

 

Philip E. Devorris
President and CEO, Blair Companies

 

Stephanie N. Doliveira, Esq.
Vice President, Human Resources, Sheetz Inc.

 

Edward Donley
Former Chairman, Air Products and Chemicals Inc.

 

Rob Dugger
Managing Partner, Hanover Provident Capital

 

Robert C. Esch
Vice President, External Affairs, American Refining Group

 

Varsovia Fernández
President and CEO, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

 

Frank J. Ford
President, St. Luke’s Hospital, Allentown Campus, St. Luke’s University Health Network

 

Charlene A. Friedman
CFO, Friedman Real Estate Group

 

Timothy M. Gage
Former Vice President, Human Resources, Brodart Company

 

James F. Glunt
Partner, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

 

Earl G. Graves, Jr.
President and CEO, Black Enterprise

 

Mike Grindell
Chief Administrative Officer, 22squared

 

Barbara B. Grogan
Chairman Emeritus, Western Industrial Contractors

 

Patrick W. Gross
Chairman, The Lovell Group

 

Ronald Grzywinski
Chairman Emeritus, ShoreBank Corporation

 

Carl Guardino
President and CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

 

Tom Haffner
President and CEO, P.T. International Corp.

 

Hollis Hart
Head, International Franchise Management, Citigroup

 

David W. Hawk
Chair of the Board, Gertrude Hawk Chocolates

 

Daniel B. Hoover
President and CEO, Roaring Spring Blank Book Co.

 

Henry G. Jackson
President and CEO, Society for Human Resource Management

 

Larry Jensen
President/CEO, Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors

 

George B. Kaiser
Board Chair, BOK Financial Corp.

 

Larry Kellner
Former CEO, Continental Airlines
President, Emerald Creek Group

 

Candace Kendle
Former CEO, Kendle International

 

Julia H. Klein
Chairwoman and CEO, C.H. Briggs Company

 

Lloyd H. Lamm
Regional Banking Executive, Capital Region, First National Bank of PA

 

David H. Langstaff
President and CEO, TASC, Inc.

 

Randall Lawton
Board Chair and Principal Owner, C. A. Lawton Co.

 

William Lehr, Jr.
Chairman of the Board, Capital Blue Cross

 

Alice G. Lindenauer
Managing Director, Global Human Resources, Hamilton Lane

 

Bob Linscheid
President and CEO, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

 

Susan W. Lipp
Chairman, Full Compass Systems, Ltd.

 

Bruce K. MacLaury
President Emeritus, The Brookings Institution

 

Brian Maher
Former Chairman and CEO, Maher Terminals

 

Anthony G. Marshall
President and CEO, Innovative Systems Group, Inc.

 

Daniel McCarthy
President and Chief Operating Officer, Frontier Communications

 

Ken McNeely
President, AT&T California

 

Lenny Mendonca
Director, McKinsey and Company

 

David Merage
CEO, Consolidated Investment Group

 

Deborah Hicks Midanek
President, Solon Group, Inc.
Chairman, Prevail Fund, Inc.
Chairman, Grenada Community Foundation

 

Alfred T. Mockett
CEO, Dex One

 

Anne Mulcahy
Former CEO, Xerox

 

Michael S. Murchie
Regional President, Central and Western PA, M&T Bank

 

Cynthia Murray
President and CEO, North Bay Leadership Council

 

Dean O’Hare
Former Chairman and CEO, Chubb Corporation

 

Steve Odland
CEO, Committee for Economic Development

 

Joseph J. Peluso
Management Consultant and Managing General Partner, Laurel Petroleum

 

John Pepper
Former CEO, Procter & Gamble

 

Philip A. Peterson
Partner, Aon Hewitt

 

Todd E. Petzel
Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer, Offit Capital Advisors LLC

 

P. Timothy Phelps
Executive Director, Transportation Management Association of Chester County

 

Michael A. Plazony
Senior Vice President, Erie Insurance Group

 

J.B. Pritzker
Managing Partner, Pritzker Group

 

Byron J. Quinton
President and CEO, Clarion Hospital

 

John R. Rathgeber
President and CEO, CBIA

 

Matt Rezvani
Managing Partner, California Strategy Advisors

 

Sean C. Rice
Founder and Owner, Hudson River Group

 

Norman S. Rich
Former President and CEO, Weis Markets Inc.

 

James Rohr
Executive Chairman, PNC Financial Services Group

 

Daniel Rose
Chairman, Rose Associates, Inc.

 

Jesse Ruiz
Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

 

Audrey Russo
President and CEO, Pittsburgh Technology Council

 

Edward Rust
Chairman and CEO, State Farm Insurance Companies

 

Anthony J. Salvaggio
President and CEO, Computer Aid Inc.

 

Manuel Sánchez
Founder and Managing Principal, Sánchez Daniels & Hoffman, LLP

 

David W. Scheible
CEO and President, Graphic Packaging Corp. and Graphic Packaging International, Inc.

 

Nick Scott, Jr.
Vice President, Scott Enterprises

 

Michael E. Smeltzer
Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Association of South Central PA

 

Peter P. Smith
Senior Vice President, Academic Strategies and Development, Kaplan, Inc.

 

Tim Solso
Former CEO, Cummins Inc.

 

Dave J. Spigelmyer
President, Marcellus Shale Coalition

 

Jim Spurlino
President, Spurlino Materials

 

Jess M. Stairs
Former State Representative, Pennsylvania’s 59th District

 

Harrison Steans
Chairman of the Executive Committee, Financial Investments Corporation

 

Jon Stellmacher
Former Senior Vice President, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

 

The Honorable Paula Stern
Chairwoman, The Stern Group, Inc.

 

John S. Sutika
President, DuBois Regional Medical Center

 

Vincentina C. Taylor
President, Waveline Direct LLC

 

Gary L. Toebben
President and CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

 

Lee B. Torrence
President, CWB Enterprises

 

Dr. Jerry Weast
Founder and President, Partnership for Deliberate Excellence, LLC
Former Superintendent, Montgomery County Public Schools

 

Thomas G. Welsh
President, MBL (USA) Corporation

 

Harold M. Williams
President Emeritus, Getty Trust

 

John S. Williamson
Vice President, Finance, Direct Energy Business

 

Andrew B. Williford
Vice President, Human Resources, Volvo Construction Equipment Operations Americas

 

Catherine J. Woods
Senior Director Compliance and Quality, excelleRx Inc.

 

Steven T. Wray
Executive Director, Economy League of Greater Philadelphia

 

Julie Meier Wright
Strategic Advisor, Collaborative Economics

 

Duncan Wyse
President, Oregon Business Council

 

Dr. Kurt E. Yeager
President Emeritus, Electric Power Research Institute

 

Michael A. Young
President and CEO, PinnacleHealth System

 

Jim Zimmerman
Former CEO, Macy’s

 

CC: Budget Committee Conferees

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss · November 6, 2013