Legislators have given preliminary approval to a proposed state budget, which suggests reducing funding for Smart Start by $16 Million. Early education advocates fought hard to keep the figure relatively low, considering that only a month ago the figure swelled as high as an unreasonable $28.2 million. Still, those who understand the value of early education cannot call this a victory. Any cut to children’s early education hurts families in the present and can have lasting consequences for our state’s future.
What’s at stake?
- North Carolina’s future prosperity. Investments in young children are one of the strongest investments for sustained growth and job creation.
- The healthy mental development of our children. The brain of a child who has had positive early childhood experiences looks different from one who has not. The structure and wiring are visibly and significantly different.
- The state’s future economy. North Carolina will pay more for children requiring special education and more for adults who are under-employable, unemployable, or incarcerated.
Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., discussion on the science of brain development and neuroscience at the Leadership Forum on Preparing North Carolina for a Prosperous Future. To learn more about how children’s brains develop in the early years, which can affect all future learning, view other presentations at the Smart Start YouTube channel