I applaud District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp’s sentiments regarding Fresno County youth. Enhancing our investments in high-quality early care and education today will ultimately result in higher economic productivity and a more employable workforce.
I can tell you from experience, as more and more California jobs require advanced education, California’s preschool investment is essential for the development of the 21st century workforce.
The research is clear: high-quality early education has been shown to have a positive impact on school readiness, literacy and math skills. Recent studies of California state preschool programs in Fresno, Los Angeles and Sacramento found that state-funded pre-K public schools produced substantial gains in vocabulary and math at kindergarten entry.
High-caliber early education has also been shown to save local businesses money every day by reducing employee absenteeism and turnover. It is estimated that an average working parent in the U.S. misses five to nine days of work per year because of childcare issues, costing U.S. companies $3 billion annually.
It’s time for California legislators to fulfill their promise and adequately invest in early care and education programs. Our kids, communities and businesses will all reap rewards. Our kids deserve more; we should do our very best for them.
Richard Alves, Fresno