- 42% of children are NOT READY for kindergarten in literacy, math, social skills and self-regulation (VKRP, Fall 21).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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