Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 14, 2011 Governor’s Weekly Transcript – Putting Young Delawareans Ahead: Improving Early Childhood Education

Efforts to improve public education in Delaware are well underway – thousands of people are putting in countless hours to give our state the strongest possible public schools and give our state the strongest possible argument to make to potential employers the First State their first choice to locate new jobs.

It’s a reform effort that brings together teachers, students, parents, administrators, public officials and private sector employers – all committed to the same cause of helping great teachers make a real difference in our children’s lives. But it’s an effort that’s made more clear lately that education cannot start the moment a child shows up for his or her first day of kindergarten. Kids who arrive years behind their peers that first day can take years to catch up- at substantial cost to their school districts and themselves.

Research has demonstrated clearly that investing in early childhood education is one of the best investments a state can make in its own economic growth. Children receiving quality early care and education are less likely to be disruptive and much more likely to be successful. They are less likely to drop out and more likely to succeed in school, become better citizens, earn more, contribute more, and require far less in government services.

It’s an investment that clearly pays dividends. That’s why we are expanding the Delaware Stars- for-Early- Success quality rating program, which provides technical and financial assistance to enable centers to achieve higher standards. It’s why we are focused on getting more centers enrolled in the optional quality rating system – so they can benefit by providing even better care and our state’s youngest minds can benefit from even stronger instruction.

Just as great teachers are the bedrock of great success in a public school classroom, great staff at these centers can make all the difference for the children in their care. That’s why we are also expanding the reimbursement rate for centers caring for children eligible for Delaware’s Purchase of Care system – so centers can help keep top talent, and these children can keep learning.

Our commitment to improving K-12 education is clear and constant – because it gives children a much better chance to graduate ready to succeed in the work world. Our commitment to early childhood education is becoming more clear as well – because children need every opportunity to show up, ready to learn, ready to succeed, and ready to make the most of the great public schools our state provides - all critical components to keep our state, moving forward.