Virtual rally pushes early learning investments

Chelsea Jones | 8/12/2013, 10:31 a.m.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius led a national effort last month to ...
A mother reads to her young daughter The Dallas Examiner

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama unveiled a nearly $100 billion proposal to expand early childhood education programs, and it includes implementing home-visiting programs. But the largest obstacle to enforcing this proposal is getting congressional support, especially from Republicans, for its funding.

Duncan expressed his frustrations with Congress’ apparent lack of urgency to support the proposal.

“If we invest early, the dividends are tremendous. Less dropouts, less teenage pregnancies, less crime, more high school graduates, more people working, more people becoming productive taxpayers and contributors to society. But far too many politicians are wired to think short-term. They think about tomorrow’s headlines and the next election,” Duncan said.

He told viewers that Congress would become swifter in supporting the proposal if people demand that they do so. Garner added that now is the time for people to advocate for young children.

“Everyone calls early childhood [education] the bobblehead problem, because anyone who talks to you says, ‘Oh yea, kids, very important … We love kids. We want to help kids, of course,’” Garner said. “But when it comes to putting money where their mouth is, it’s the easiest thing to go. Nobody’s fighting for kids in America. They don’t have a super PAC. They don’t have anyone like the NRA. There’s no one lobbying for kids, so we have to do it.”

The panel asked viewers who wished to push for more government support for early education programs to sign the “Expand Investments in Early Learning for Infants and Toddlers” petition at http://www.rally4babies.org/petition.