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Make Young Children a Priority
Securing a bright future for young children secures a bright future for Massachusetts. Preparing young children to become productive, engaged adults is good for children, families and taxpayers.
As a Voter
bullet VOTE! Make sure you vote in the Thursday, September 6, primary and the Tuesday, November 6, general election. Not sure where to vote? See where. The deadline to register to vote in the general election is October 17.
bullet Learn about the candidates in Massachusetts and for president and about their education platforms.
bullet Stay current. Follow early education news by joining our e-mail list and reading our Eye on Early Education blog.
Enagage Candidates
bullet Speak up! Ask questions and engage candidates in conversation about prioritizing young children. View some sample questions to ask the candidates.
Enagage Your Community
bullet Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper urging candidates to prioritize young children in the election. Contact Irene Sege, SFC's communications director, for assistance.
As a Candidate
Be a Champion for Young Children
bullet Children are born learning Make sure your education platform supports young children and families by including high-quality early education and care and third grade reading proficiency.
bullet Learn more about the research and data about children and families in your communities. For more information contact Titus DosRemedios, SFC's senior research and policy associate.
bullet Understand the progress made in early education and care in Massachusetts.
bullet Stay current. Follow early education news by joining our e-mail list and reading our Eye on Early Education blog.
bullet Include early education and young children in your education platform.
The Challenge
Massachusetts is recognized as a national leader in education, but below the surface there is a crisis:

bullet Statewide, 39% of third graders read below grade level, including 60% of third graders from low-income families.

bullet Children who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school by age 19 than proficient readers.
bullet In Massachusetts, the average high school dropout costs $349,000 more over a lifetime than the average graduate in reduced tax revenues and increased social costs.
bullet Our achievement gaps are among the largest in the nation, and they take root in early childhood.
bullet By age 3, children in low-income families have vocabularies that, on average, are half the size of their higher-income peers' vocabularies.
bullet Demand for early education and care is high, but so is the cost. On average, families pay $11,669 per year for a 4-year-old in a center-based program, making Massachusetts the most expensive state in the nation.
bullet Only 27% of preschool-age children receive public funding for early education, and nearly 40,000 children from low-income families are on a waiting list for a state child care subsidy.
bullet The economic downturn has affected young children. State funding for the Department of Early Education and Care and its programs has declined by $82 million (14%) since Fiscal Year 2009.
bullet We must ensure all children have the education and skills they'll need for the 21st century economy. College- and career- readiness begins with a strong foundation for learning in the early childhood years.
The Solution
Make research-based investments in young children. Help ensure children have access to high-quality early education and become proficient readers by the end of third grade.
bullet The path to literacy begins at birth, with children's earliest language development, and includes high-quality early education.
bullet Low-income children who attended high-quality preschool are 40% less likely to be placed in special education or retained in grade, 30% more likely to graduate from high school, and twice as likely to attend college.
bullet Nobel laureate James Heckman and other leading economists say high-quality early education prepares our future labor force and provides an estimated 10-16% return on investment.
bullet Policy should support children's language and literacy development in all settings throughout the birth-third grade continuum.
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