81st Annual Meeting: June 21-24, 2013 in Las Vegas

U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS PRIORITIES FOR INVESTING IN HIGH QUALITY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

WHEREAS, research demonstrates that the early years of a child’s life are formative; characterized by immense growth - cognitive, linguistic, and social - and that the pace of this growth is significantly impacted by the child’s environment; and

WHEREAS, children who attend high quality early childhood education programs   demonstrate higher academic performance in math and reading during elementary school, are less likely to require special education services, less likely to have to repeat a grade, and more likely to graduate high school; and

WHEREAS, research shows that full-day kindergartners demonstrate higher academic achievement in later grades; better attendance in kindergarten and           through the primary grades; faster gains on literacy and language measures; enhanced social, emotional and behavior development; and reduced retention and remediation rates; and

WHEREAS, research from pre-k programs in the states of Michigan, New Jersey, and Oklahoma shows that children who receive high-quality early education are better equipped to compete with their peers by the 3rd grade; and

WHEREAS, children who attend kindergarten for a full day are more prepared for school; they do better with the transition to first grade, show significant gains in school socialization and are equipped with stronger learning skills; and

WHEREAS, children from low-income families enter kindergarten performing, on average, 12-14 months behind their peers in pre-reading and language skills; and

WHEREAS, by third grade, children from low-income families reading below grade level are six times less likely to graduate from high school than children who are reading proficiently; and

WHEREAS, the United States ranks 28th in the world for the percentage of 4-year- olds enrolled in early education programs and 25th in public funding for early learning; and

WHEREAS, nationwide, approximately 28 percent of 4-year olds are enrolled in state-funded pre-K programs; and

WHEREAS, nationwide, approximately 65 percent of 4-year olds from families in the bottom two income brackets (bottom 40 percent) are enrolled in pre-K (public or private) compared to 90% of 4-year olds from the highest income bracket (top 20 percent); and

WHEREAS, preschool programs nationwide vary dramatically in terms of quality, curriculum, and organization; and

WHEREAS, only 30 percent of 4-year olds are enrolled in a quality early childhood education program; and

WHEREAS, high quality early childhood education is proven to be a sound public investment; and

WHEREAS, research shows that for every public dollar spent on high quality early childhood education, taxpayers save an average of $7 in future costs through increased workforce productivity and savings on public assistance and a reduction in crime; and

WHEREAS, parents, teachers, and principals nationwide agree that we need to do more to guarantee that children from disadvantaged families enter kindergarten with the same level of educational readiness as their peers from affluent families; and

WHEREAS, the members of The U.S. Conference of Mayors have previously adopted resolutions that support an increased public investment in early childhood education,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors supports the following policy priorities:

    ·         Aim to provide access for all 3 and 4-year olds from families with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line to a high-quality, full-day early childhood education; and

    ·         Aim to provide funding for year-round, high quality early childhood education to prevent summer learning loss; and

    ·         Aim to provide access to all 3 and 4-year olds to attend a high quality early childhood education, prioritizing access for children from low- and moderate-income families to close the achievement gap before it begins; and

    ·         Create consistent standards for quality in early childhood education programs across all states, including: a full-day program; well-trained & effective teachers; low adult-to-child ratios and small class sizes; a rigorous curriculum that includes developmentally appropriate strategies and fosters a lifelong love of learning; and effective evaluation systems based on child learning and development, and the quality of the child-teacher interactions; and

    ·         Develop early childhood education standards that are aligned with Common Core Kindergarten standards in order to promote kindergarten readiness nationwide; and

    ·         Attract and retain a robust early childhood workforce by establishing salaries that are competitive with K-12 educators and reflect the importance of the profession, and by providing professional development; and

    ·         Ensure states and/or cities develop accountability systems for monitoring early childhood education quality and supporting struggling early childhood educations programs; and

    ·         Ensure states and/or cities collect and publicly report data and information, including child outcome data, and other indicators of quality, about their early childhood education programs; and

    ·         Ensure early learning options and quality ratings are readily accessible to parents to empower them to make informed decisions in choosing the best early childhood education for their child.


RESOLUTION ADOPTED JUNE 2013