The forum held on July 31 and sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Center for American Progress in partnership with ReadyNation is titled: “Oh the Places We’ll Go: Benefits of Investing in Childhood Education.”
Canary will be part of a panel on “Starting Smart: Investing in Early Childhood Education.” He said that early education is a “win-win scenario” for the students and society because dollars invested in early education are returned seven to nine times.
“Children with quality early-learning opportunities are more likely to read at grade level, graduate from high school, earn more money and contribute more tax dollars,” Canary said. Among other volunteer activities, Canary is a member of the U.S. Chamber’s Committee of 100, the ReadyNation Advisory Board and the Alabama School Readiness Alliance Pre-K Task Force.”
The Legislature’s appropriation of an additional $9.4 million for Alabama’s voluntary pre-kindergarten program for the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 is due to the partnership with ALSRA and the broad coalition built to offer Pre-K to more children.
The ReadyNation pledge states a belief “in the importance of quality early childhood development programs and a commitment to work locally, in your state and/or throughout the nation to make sure children are ready to succeed.”
Canary said the pledge does not endorse a particular program or policy but acknowledges a commitment to ensure that children show up for school ready to succeed. The pledge recognizes that the United States’ workforce pipeline does not always produce the employees that meet the need of business.
“The U.S.’s economic strength and fiscal sustainability depend on the capabilities of an educated workforce,” Canary said.
With family and community support, starting early is more likely to result in children ready to succeed in school, become part of a highly skilled workforce, and become productive contributors to economic growth, Canary said.
The BCA and the business community are committed to building on-the-ground support for programs that will yield returns for health, prosperity, and an educated workforce by investing in our children.
The BCA is a member of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance and a supporter of early education opportunities including pre-kindergarten in Alabama. The goal is to close student achievement gaps by helping Alabama’s children enter school ready to succeed.
The BCA champions the Business and Education Alliance as a pillar of education. As others have suggested, “The best ways to improve our schools is to improve the students sent to them,” he said.
The July 31 forum includes introductions by Margaret Spellings, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress. Spellings served as U.S. Education Secretary from 2005-09 under President George W. Bush.
Delaware Governor Jack Markell is scheduled to give opening remarks on weaving early childhood education into the fabric of the state.
The BCA is Alabama’s foremost voice for business and is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. The BCA is a non-partisan statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly 1 million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama.
For more information visit these links: