WHEREAS, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) seeks equality in education, nutrition, and equity in healthcare; and
WHEREAS, education, nutrition, and equity in healthcare should be regarded as a fundamental right of all people, giving young children the ability to develop and grow into productive members of society; and
WHEREAS, pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) programs can provide quality education and screen for nutritional and developmental delays that require medical intervention. Pre-K programs support growing maternal employment rates by providing high quality, beneficial childcare; and
WHEREAS, research has demonstrated the importance and benefit of positive early childhood experience and brain development; and
WHEREAS, there have been three major reports on state and federal funding conducted by the General Accountability Office (GAO), with the reports having been released in 1994, 2012, and 2017. These reports show that Pre-K produces substantial long-term gains, particularly when programs are properly designed; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP reaffirms its support for its 1977 and 2013 resolutions regarding Early Childhood Education in light of growing evidence of lasting cognitive and social benefits; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP reaffirms its position in light of recent peer reviewed meta-analysis, summarizing the results of 123 studies, that found that despite some decline in effects after children entered school, on average, positive social and cognitive effects of Pre-K do not disappear with advanced age and remained substantial; and
WHEREAS, cognitive gains from Pre-K programs were larger when programs focused on intentional and individualized teaching and small group learning. Long-term effects included gains in achievement and in social-emotional development, less grade repetition and special education, and increasing high school graduation rates; and
WHEREAS, many studies find that large-scale public programs, such as Head Start, have produced meaningful, long-term gains for children; and
WHEREAS, the United States is not keeping pace with other developed countries regarding pre-kindergarten education, ranking 26th in the world for the percentage of four-year-olds enrolled in early education; and
WHEREAS, Head Start provides services to children and families with household incomes up to 130% of the federal poverty level (about $33,000 for a family of four). Head Start is the program for children from ages three to five years old.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, thatthe NAACP reaffirms its support for its 2013 Resolution to expand high-quality early learning opportunities in the years before preschool, and calls for the renewal of Presidential support for significant investment in a new Early Head Start child care partnership. Continuation of competitive grants will support communities that expand the availability of Early Head Start and child care that can meet the highest standards of quality for three and four-year-olds.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms its support for its 2013 Resolution to require states to meet quality benchmarks that are linked to better outcomes for children in order to access federal funding. This includes implementing state level standards for early learning and qualifying teachers for all preschool classrooms.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all units of the NAACP support and promote the 2013 Resolutions and support the Department of Health and Human Services' 2016 Revised Rules. The NAACP emphasizes that Head Start programs will meet common and consistent standards for quality across all programs, which includes having well-trained teachers who have bachelor degrees (paid comparably to K-12 staff), small class sizes, low adult to child ratios, a rigorous curriculum, comprehensive health and related services, effective evaluation and review of programs, and programs that are full-time and service children for a minimum of 1,020 hours per year by 2021.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NAACP supports increasing the percentage of teachers with a relevant bachelor's degree (such as early childhood education, or child development) to one-hundred percent of Head Start teachers by 2021.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls upon the Federal Government and Congress to increase funding to the Head Start program.