Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children
Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

We’re throwing back to April of this year when a group of 85 economists sent a letter to Massachusetts lawmakers asking them to invest in early education in the FY 16 budget.

And while it’s the holiday season now, we know that the FY 17 budget season will be upon us soon, so we want to keep the advice of those 85 economists in mind.

“Much is said about the cost of universal early childhood education, but what we cannot afford is to fail to implement such a program,” Arthur MacEwan said in April. MacEwan is a professor emeritus of Economics and Interim Director of the Center for Social Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. “Every year we put it off, we suffer more long-term losses in economic growth and fail to improve the well-being of our children.”

The letter itself says in part:

“As you consider the FY16 budget, we, the undersigned economists, would ask you to increase available funding for early childhood education.”

“…we would like to draw your attention to the ways that this funding will yield important returns by improving the Commonwealth’s economy:

• High quality early childhood education elevates the quality of the workforce; children who have had this education experience an improvement in their cognitive, social and behavioral skills, which allow them to make greater contributions when they enter the workforce.

• Publicly-funded high-quality early education programs allow more parents to join the workforce, confident that their children are well provided for while they are at work.

• High-quality early education decreases the amount children will need in special services as they progress through school and in social service programs when they become adults.”

Thanks to our colleagues at Massachusetts Fair Share for helping with the letter and for their continued advocacy.

And when budget season comes, be sure to share this sentiment: Investing in early education makes good economic sense.