Fast Facts

  • 40% of children are NOT READY for kindergarten in literacy, math, social skills and self-regulation (VKRP, Fall 22).
  • The gaps are widening for Black, Hispanic, economically-disadvantaged, English learners and students will disabilities (PALS, Fall 2021).
  • The reading and math gaps are widening (VKRP, Fall 2021).
  • More children in K-2 are at high risk for reading difficulties.  This will impact third grade reading for years to come (PALS, Fall 2021).
  • THIRD GRADERS not reading on grade level are more likely to drop out of school (National Conference of State Legislators, 2019).

The Economics

  • Investing in the early years can result in returns as high as $7-13 for every $1 invested.
  • Studies show investing in quality early education is more cost effective than remediation.
  • Investing in quality early learning through third grade benefits ALL children, families, communities and society.

The Science

  • 90% of a child’s brain is developed before the age of five.  Early brain development has a lasting impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed.
  • Children are born learning.
  • Children who start behind, stay behind without intervention.
  • The foundation for reading ability is built in the first five years.
  • Children through third grade are learning to read; after third grade they are reading to learn.
  • Every environment is a learning environment.
  • Teacher-child interactions matter.
  • Parent-child interactions matter.  Parents are a child’s most important teacher.
  • The “soft skills” matter (cooperation, critical thinking, grit, paying attention and teamwork).  They set the stage for learning and life.

The Politics & E3 Polling

Virginia voters are concerned that children are entering kindergarten not ready.  The VKRP data resonates with Republicans, Democrats and Independents.  2021 polling data tells us that voters:

  • Believe VKRP data.  Two thirds say we need to do more to help children begin kindergarten with the skills they need.
  • Say terms like early learning and early education resonate with them.  Terms like child care, day care, early childhood and universal access DO NOT.
  • Support new dollars for early learning up to third grade to help our children recover, prepare and thrive in school.
  • Favor using “sin taxes” from casino gaming, legalized marijuana and an increase in tobacco tax as additional revenue.
  • Support more funding in the classroom to ensure access to high quality curriculum, professional development and other resources to help teachers.
  • Agree that more tools for parents and teachers are needed to improve reading and math and help our children recover from the pandemic

Invest in our Children!