Preschool has gotten attention from the Boston Globe in the last few weeks. Three articles look at preschool’s impact on children, families, and the economy.
Here’s a look at the articles.
Globe reporter Stephanie Ebbert writes about the delayed release of a report on universal preschool commissioned by Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh.
“Two years after Mayor Martin J. Walsh named an advisory panel to come up with a citywide action plan for universal preschool, the committee on Friday released a report scant on details and devoid of cost estimates, calling for further study,” the article says.
“The report excised financial projections that had been prepared for the committee, though the mayor had previously told the Globe it could cost as much as $56 million to provide preschool to all city 4-year-olds. During his State of the City address in January, Walsh asked the state to contribute funding — a request ignored by Governor Charlie Baker.”
“The Walsh administration received the committee’s recommendations in December 2014, but kept them under wraps, claiming the report was only a draft that was exempt from public disclosure law.”
“The advisory committee is calling for preschool to last at least 6.5 hours a day, 180 days a year, like the Boston Public Schools’ preschool classes. The schools have only enough seats for about 2,500 of the city’s estimated 6,000 4-year-olds. Many others attend Head Start programs or subsidized child care programs, or private and nonprofit classes.”
“Putting early education front and center in Mass.” June 3, 2016
Globe columnist Shirley Leung writes about House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s efforts on early education, noting that the Speaker is done talking and is ready to take action.
“This week DeLeo began meeting with a group of business leaders to develop a plan on how the state could increase not only access to early education but improve quality. His goal: Come up with a set of recommendations that can be turned into legislation or new programs by the next budget cycle.
“More than expanding charter schools, reforming preschool could be one of the most important education initiatives for the Commonwealth in decades. Study after study indicates that kids who are schooled at an early age graduate from high school and college at higher rates than those who do not. They are also less likely to abuse drugs, end up in jail, or rely on public assistance.
“Yet in the fight for scarce public dollars, early education has been low on the priority list, overshadowed by the needs in K-12 and public colleges.”
In this column Shirley Leung writes about research from the consulting case McKinsey & Co that makes a business case for early education.
“If we do nothing, it will take another century before women can close the gender gap in the highest ranks of corporate America.”
McKinsey “estimates that we as a country will need to spend about $300 billion by 2025 on essential services such as access to affordable child care and paid leave. It is money that will help level the playing field for women in terms of participation in the labor force, pay, and representation in the ranks of management.”
Leung writes about single mothers who can’t afford to work because child care costs are so high. And she adds:
“A good chunk of the $300 billion investment McKinsey discusses would go toward building a child care and preschool industry. If it seems excessive, it’s not, when compared with other countries. Public spending on early education in the United States represents less than 0.5 percent of our GDP; it’s over 1 percent in France, the United Kingdom, and the Nordic countries like Denmark and Sweden.
“Nobody said creating a female-friendly workplace would be cheap. But that investment may be our best shot at creating the most robust economy possible by tapping talent that has been sidelined.”