A Moment We’ve Been Waiting For!

By Ellen Galinsky

National Academy Of Sciences

You may wonder why I am cheering as loud as I can about today’s release of the National Academy of Sciences report that answers the question: “Does quality early childhood education lead to more successful lives as adults?”

It’s because the Academy’s answer is a resounding YES!

Exactly 30 years ago—the fall of 1990—I was speaking to a “live” cheering crowd of 5,000 members of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The legislation for the Child Care and Development Block Grant was coming up for a vote (it passed, as you know) and we wanted to make sure that:

  • Child care and early education were seen as inextricable. “Children can’t learn if they aren’t cared for” was one mantra.
  • The focus has to be on quality. We worried about over promising the impact of early education without an explicit quality assurance.
  • It was known that teaching and caring for young children requires enormous knowledge and skill. When asked what we did, some of us said, “Investments?” “Oh, stock and bonds?” was the answer. “No investing in young children,” we replied.
  • All children deserve quality, not just some. Equity must be a focus.
  • This would require new funds from government, business and philanthropy. Otherwise, the three-legged stool of quality, accessibility and affordability would collapse.

The report released today—which is backed by decades of research—addresses all of these concerns. Listen to my interview with scholar Dr. Patricia Kuhl of the University of Washington. She’s one of 12 councilors to the National Academy of Sciences and shares with me the backstory on the Academy, along with key report findings. After you watch, I hope you will cheer along with me... and help spread the word!