BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -
Two thirds of the language a person will use as an adult is acquired by age three. Did you also know, 3rd grade reading scores are used to predict the number of prison cells that will be needed in 10 to 12 years? Crime, health, poverty - experts say they are all linked to early education. Data proves children who receive a quality early education are far more likely to succeed in school, and ultimately life. That's why we're hearing so much about the issue right now.
President Obama hosted another summit on early education at the White House Wednesday. That's where we learned there is a collective investment of more than $1 billion dollars in the education and development of children birth to age five. A new initiative called "Invest in US" has been created by the First Five Years Fund. It challenges public and private partners, business leaders, philanthropists, advocates, elected officials and individuals to build a better nation by expanding high-quality early childhood education.
Meanwhile, the federal government this week just awarded $750 million in grants to support early learning for more than 63,000 children across the country. According to the White House, $250 of that was earmarked specifically for states looking to expand preschool programs in areas that need it most. You would think Mississippi would be a good candidate. We applied, but didn't get it. Louisiana and Alabama were among the 18 states that did receive grants.
South Mississippi childcare advocates say that's disappointing, especially when you consider recent efforts in our state to expand early education, like the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013. You may recall, the state recently doled out $3 million dollars to 11 communities to offer voluntary preschool.
If you want to help further efforts to bring more quality early education to Mississippi, please contact your local lawmakers.