43 Bay State Economists Back Early Education and Preschool Bills
Massachusetts Fair Share coordinated economists from around Massachusetts to support bold new plans to invest in early education, earning the support of 43 economic experts who agree that an increase in access to quality early education services in Massachusetts will strengthen our economy.
The letter was delivered as part of written testimony for a June 20 hearing to support bills to create universal preschool programs and support the early education workforce.
Everyone deserves a fair shot in life, and that starts with a quality education. Failing to provide quality, universal early education is not only wrong; it’s shortsighted. Early education is a great investment, saving money for the public as students are more likely to graduate from high school and college, to be consistently employed, and to earn higher wages. They’re also less likely to use public assistance, require placement in special education programs, or be arrested and sent to taxpayer-funded prisons
Massachusetts should lead on early education. Giving every child a strong start creates a better future for all of us.
For the full letter and list of signers see below:
June 20, 2017
Dear Members of the Joint Committee on Education,
As you consider legislation to improve and expand early childhood education programs in Massachusetts, we would like to add our voices as economists to strongly support action that invests in these critical services.
There are many reasons to advance funding for high-quality early education, which has at least the same potential as other levels of education to be a powerful tool to reduce inequality and the opportunity gap. In addition, we would like to draw your attention to the ways that this funding will yield important returns by improving the Commonwealth’s economy:
- High-quality early childhood education elevates the quality of the workforce; children who have received this type of education experience an improvement in their cognitive, social and behavioral skills, which allow them to make greater contributions when they enter the workforce.
- Publicly-funded, high-quality early education programs allow more parents to join the workforce, confident that their children are well provided for while they are at work.
- High-quality early education decreases the amount children will need in special service programs as they progress through school and, later, in social service programs as adults.
In 2000, the Committee on the Science of Early Childhood Development of the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine noted: “From birth to age 5, children rapidly develop foundational capabilities on which subsequent development builds. In addition to their remarkable linguistic and cognitive gains, they exhibit dramatic progress in their emotional, social, regulatory, and moral capacities. All of these critical dimensions of early development are intertwined, and each requires focused attention.”
All children deserve, and the whole society benefits from, giving children this attention through high quality early childhood education. Specifically, we support:
- An Act Ensuring High-Quality Early Education H.2874 and An Act Ensuring High-Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education S.240 which would provide grants to schools to expand pre-kindergarten programs (starting at ages 2 years, 9 months), using a mixed-delivery system, prioritizing districts based on need and readiness to expand, and ensuring that educators are given competitive salaries.
- An Act relative to universal pre-kindergarten access S. 221 which would similarly create a grant program to expand pre-kindergarten access, and then would fold those services into Chapter 70 funding.
- An Act relative to rates of payment for early childhood education and care programs S. 238 which would create an annual review process to ensure that early education providers receive adequate funding to deliver professional, stable and high-quality service.
- Maria Luengo-Prado, Associate professor of Economics, Northeastern University
- Michael Manove, Ph.D., Boston University
- Stephen Marglin, Professor of Economics, Harvard University
- Harold Petersen, Associate Professor of Economics, Boston College
- Robert Pollin, Distinguished University Professor of Economics and Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), University of Massachusetts-Amherst
- Michael Samson, Director of Research Economic Policy Research Institute, Williams College
- Katharine Sims, Amherst College
- Peter Skott, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Professor Bryan Snyder, Department of Economics, Bentley University
- Peter Spiegler, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Anand Swamy, Professor of Economics, Williams College
- Vis Taraz, Assistant Professor of Economics, Smith College
- David Terkla Dean, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Vamsi Vakulabharanam, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Jeannette Wicks-Lim, Assistant Research Professor, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Andrew Zimbalist, Professor of Economics, Smith College
- David Zimmerman, Williams College
- Ken Ardon, Chair Economics Department, Salem State University
- Lee Badgett, Center for Public Policy & Administration and Dept. of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Ralph Bradburd, Professor of Economics, Williams College
- Michael Carter, Chair Economics Department, University of Massachusetts Lowell
- Gerald Epstein, Professor of Economics and Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Bilge Erten, Assistant Professor of Economics, Northeastern University
- Kade Finnoff, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Professor Gerald Friedman, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Monica Galizzi, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Lowell
- Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics, Harvard University
- Jonathan Haughton, Professor of Economics, Suffolk University
- Adam Honig, Amherst College
- Keren Mertens Horn, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Sarah Jacobson, Assistant Professor, Williams College
- Professor Roger T. Kaufman, Smith College
- Sari Pekkala Kerr, Wellesley College
- Marlene Kim, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Yun K. Kim, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Harry Konstantinidis, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Kevin Lang, Department of Economics, Boston University
- Barton Lipman, Boston University
- Jeffrey A. Livingston, Bentley University
- Arthur MacEwan, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Randy Albelda, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Madhavi Venkatesan, PhD, Bridgewater State University
- Tzuo-Hann Law, Assistant Professor of Economics, Boston College