Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children
Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Three hundred business leaders and organizations from 44 states have written a letter to President Obama and members of Congress expressing their support for early education.

“This letter shows that quality early childhood programs are important to more than just parents and schools,” said John Gomperts, president and CEO, of America’s Promise Alliance. The Alliance sponsors ReadyNation, a business partnership for early childhood and economic success.

“Business leaders who signed the letter come from a range of companies such as Delta Airlines, McKinsey & Company and PNC Financial Services Group, as well as major business organizations such as state and local Chambers of Commerce and Business Roundtables,” the alliance explains here.

The letter points to “overwhelming amounts of research and evidence” that show a solid return on investing in young children. The letter adds: “Many of us compete in a global marketplace. We see other countries investing in their young children both for the long-term benefits of a stronger workforce and the current benefits that come from enhancing the productivity of parents. To compete, we have to do the same.”

The letter lists six guidelines for early childhood public policy:

• Prioritize proven programs that benefit children and society, such as quality early education, home visiting and health programs

• Serve families beginning before children’s birth and continue through to age five

• Focus first on children from low- to moderate-income families and other children who are at risk for school failure

• Provide parents with high-quality program choices using a variety of partners and settings, including the private sector

• Encourage federal and state programs to meet higher quality standards, while allowing states the flexibility to deliver services in a variety of ways

•  Track and evaluate progress on children’s health, development and other outcomes; and encourage continuous improvement

The Massachusetts signers of the letter include:

JD Chesloff, Massachusetts Business Roundtable, Boston

Ron Freidman, RBJ&P, Boston

Arnold Hiatt, The A.M. Fund, Boston

John Lashar, Richards Barry Joyce & Partners, Boston

Linda Noonan, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, Boston

John Lippitt, Lippitt Consulting, Reading

Mancuso Communications Strategies, Reading

Aaron Mendelson, Northwestern Mutual, Springfield

Springfield Business Leaders for Education, Springfield

Michael Sweet, Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury and Murphy, PC, Springfield

Nancy Urbschat, TSM Design, Springfield

Joseph Kasputyis, Economic Ventures, Waltham

Jed Swan, Drydock Ventures, Wellesley

Paul O’Brien, The O’Brien Group, Weston

Early education has champions in the business sector, as well as in city, state and federal government. Now it needs the kind of widespread public support that helps legislators turn good ideas into action for children.

ReadyNation offers advocacy tips here. The letter can be shared with elected officials. There’s also advice on writing an opinion piece and submitting it to local newspapers. And the letter can be used in various social media outlets.