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.
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
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.
CEO, Bucksbaum Retail Properties
Former President, Daniels & Associates
Anthony P. Campisi
President and CEO, Glatfelter Insurance Group
President, Lakeshore Learning Materials
Denise S. Cesare
President and CEO, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Chairman and CEO (Retired), Great Plains Energy, Inc.
Robert H. Colson
Distinguished Lecturer of Accountancy, Baruch College
Former Partner, Grant Thornton
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.
Former Chairman, Air Products and Chemicals Inc.
Managing Partner, Hanover Provident Capital
Robert C. Esch
Vice President, External Affairs, American Refining Group
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
Chief Administrative Officer, 22squared
Barbara B. Grogan
Chairman Emeritus, Western Industrial Contractors
Patrick W. Gross
Chairman, The Lovell Group
Chairman Emeritus, ShoreBank Corporation
President and CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
President and CEO, P.T. International Corp.
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
President/CEO, Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors
George B. Kaiser
Board Chair, BOK Financial Corp.
Former CEO, Continental Airlines
President, Emerald Creek Group
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.
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
President and CEO, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
Susan W. Lipp
Chairman, Full Compass Systems, Ltd.
Bruce K. MacLaury
President Emeritus, The Brookings Institution
Former Chairman and CEO, Maher Terminals
Anthony G. Marshall
President and CEO, Innovative Systems Group, Inc.
President and Chief Operating Officer, Frontier Communications
President, AT&T California
Director, McKinsey and Company
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
Former CEO, Xerox
Michael S. Murchie
Regional President, Central and Western PA, M&T Bank
President and CEO, North Bay Leadership Council
Former Chairman and CEO, Chubb Corporation
CEO, Committee for Economic Development
Joseph J. Peluso
Management Consultant and Managing General Partner, Laurel Petroleum
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
Managing Partner, Pritzker Group
Byron J. Quinton
President and CEO, Clarion Hospital
John R. Rathgeber
President and CEO, CBIA
Managing Partner, California Strategy Advisors
Sean C. Rice
Founder and Owner, Hudson River Group
Norman S. Rich
Former President and CEO, Weis Markets Inc.
Executive Chairman, PNC Financial Services Group
Chairman, Rose Associates, Inc.
Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
President and CEO, Pittsburgh Technology Council
Chairman and CEO, State Farm Insurance Companies
Anthony J. Salvaggio
President and CEO, Computer Aid Inc.
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.
Former CEO, Cummins Inc.
Dave J. Spigelmyer
President, Marcellus Shale Coalition
President, Spurlino Materials
Jess M. Stairs
Former State Representative, Pennsylvania’s 59th District
Chairman of the Executive Committee, Financial Investments Corporation
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
President, Oregon Business Council
Dr. Kurt E. Yeager
President Emeritus, Electric Power Research Institute
Michael A. Young
President and CEO, PinnacleHealth System
Former CEO, Macy’s
CC: Budget Committee Conferees