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Early Childhood Education is an Economic Imperative
By Scot Ebron, PNC Bank Market Executive
As Maryland pushes for economic growth and development, there’s an often overlooked catalyst that’s elementary; it’s preschool. Early childhood education is an economic imperative with far reaching implications for our quality of life and competitiveness.
Research shows that disadvantaged children under age six are more likely to enter school with less developed skills. Should they enter first grade unprepared, they will rarely catch up. And the problem compounds.
Nobel laureate economist James Heckman estimates more than 20 percent of U.S. workers lack the skills to write simple sentences or complete basic math. If the trend persists, Heckman projects a 50 percent decline in productivity gains attributable to education over the next 20 years.
Perhaps that’s why quality preschool is now viewed as an economic imperative. Research shows every dollar spent on early childhood education reaps as much as $16 in long-term savings for society. Children with access to quality preschool are more likely to attend college, earn higher wages and live productive lives.
Through PNC Grow Up Great, a 10-year, $100 million initiative in school readiness, PNC is helping prepare children from birth to age five for success in school and life. As such, PNC is collaborating with local nonprofits to help preschoolers foster a foundation in science, math and reading. Employees volunteer their time at local Head Start Centers and various Grow Up Great events throughout the year.
In Southern Maryland, PNC funded grants to the Greenwell Foundation for its Nature Time program which enhances the science curriculum program of local Head Start Centers and United Way’s Success by Six Program to help ensure that young children in Calvert County develop the emotional, social, cognitive and physical capacities and skills they need to achieve well being and to enter school ready to learn. Last year, more than 745 children experienced PNC’s Mobile Learning Adventure and the One World, One Sky Mobile Planetarium. In addition, complimentary bilingual educational kits are available, free of charge, at every PNC Bank.
Further collaboration among corporations, policymakers and the community is needed to elevate discussions and action around the importance of access to quality early childhood education. It’s one investment that will benefit society and the health of our economy for generations to come.
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