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Universal Early Childhood Education

WHEREAS, the NAACP reaffirms its support for its 1977 resolution in support of Early Childhood Education; and

WHEREAS, pre-K does produce substantial long-term gains, particularly when programs are properly designed; and

WHEREAS, in response to the question whether the effects of high-quality preschool programs persist or fade out by third grade, the most recent peer­ reviewed meta-analysis, summarizing the results of 123 studies, found that despite some decline in effects after children entered school, on average, effects did not disappear and remained substantial; and

WHEREAS, cognitive gains from preschool programs were larger when programs focused on intentional and individualized teaching and small group learning. Long-term effects include gains in achievement and in social-emotional development, less grade repetition and special education, and increasing high school graduation; and

WHEREAS, many studies find that large-scale public programs have produced meaningful long-term gains for children; and

WHEREAS, they have tended to produce smaller effects than some of the well­ known small-scale programs, public programs also have been less well-funded and, therefore, less intensive. Quality matters greatly. Underfunded programs with low standards produce few significant benefits while higher quality large­ scale programs have produced substantive long-term gains; and

WHEREAS, although estimates of cost-benefit ratios for high-quality early childhood education have varied (e.g., $7to $1,$11 to $1,$16 to $1), the $7 to $1 figure is a reasonable estimate for the returns to public investment in one year of high-quality pre-K; and

WHEREAS, President Obama's recently-released budget provides the first details on how the President aims to fund his plan for the biggest expansion of early-childhood education since Head Start was launched nearly 50 years ago; and

WHEREAS, the plan would set aside $750 million in 2014 for a new federal-state partnership to create preschool slots for all low-and moderate-income four-year­ aids; and

WHEREAS, fewer than 3 in 10 four-year-olds are currently enrolled in high­ quality programs; and

WHEREAS, to expand high-quality early learning opportunities in the years before preschool, the President will call for a significant investment in a new Early Head Start child care partnership. Competitive grants will support communities that expand the availability of Early Head Start and child care providers that can meet the highest standards of quality for infants and toddlers, serving children from birth through age 3; and

WHEREAS, voluntary home visiting programs enable nurses, social workers and other professionals to connect families to services and educational support that will improve a child's health, development. and ability to learn. Having already committed $1.5 billion to expand home visitation to hundreds of thousands of America's most vulnerable children and families across all 50 states, the President will pursue substantial investments to expand these important programs to reach additional families in need; and

WHEREAS, in order to access federal funding, states would be required to meet quality benchmarks that are linked to better outcomes for children including state­ level standards for early learning, qualified teachers for all preschool classrooms, and a plan to implement comprehensive data and assessment systems; and

WHEREAS, preschool programs across the states would meet common and consistent standards for quality across all programs, including, well-trained teachers who are paid comparably to K-12 staff, small class sizes and low adult to child ratios, a rigorous curriculum, comprehensive health and related services, and effective evaluation and review of programs; and

WHEREAS, the President would pay for the program (aka Preschool for All) by increasing the federal tax on cigarettes to $1.95 a pack from $1.01.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that the NAACP provides its support to the President and to Congress in enacting, and in implementing, a universal, high­ quality pre-K early childhood education program.

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