More than 400 early childhood advocates and community leaders from Cuyahoga County gathered for Invest in Children's 2018 Annual Meeting on Monday to celebrate local success and elevate the call for statewide investment in quality early education. We know that local initiatives like Cuyahoga County's work for Ohio kids--a recent evaluation showed that kids who attended an Invest in Children UPK site for at least 18 months during the two years prior to entry to kindergarten were 2.67 times more likely to be on track for language and literacy than kids who attended a high-quality non-UPK site.
Despite Invest in Children's great outcomes, and the success we've seen in other local initiatives across the state, there are still far too many children who do not have access to quality early programs and are failing to receive the support they need for healthy early development. County Executive Armond Budish, PNC Regional President Paul Clark, and Groundwork Ohio Executive Director Shannon Jones shared a common sentiment as they each addressed the crowded room: Ohio needs to increase investment in early childhood education on the state level--and our next governor needs to make this a top priority.
Keynote speaker Art Rolnick, Senior Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, could not have been more clear--quality early childhood for our most at-risk kids is the best public investment we can make. As one of the first economists to calculate the return on investment for early education, Art Rolnick has spent the last several decades strengthening the case for quality early education programs. The economic and brain development research is clear--investing in early education is the right move for Ohio.
Want to raise your voice and help ensure Ohio's next governor commits to prioritizing investments in our earliest learners? Join the Vote for Ohio Kids coalition.