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Our children, our future – bridging the partisan divide

August 2, 2016
AccessGovernance and AccountabilityOutcomesQuality and CurriculumState & Local
Mark Shriver
The Huffington Post [Op-Ed]

Our children’s future is our future, and therefore a crucial element to consider when solving the challenges facing our nation. Studies show the human brain develops most rapidly between birth and age 5, yet almost all public investments in children happen after the age of 5. We cannot let our nation’s leaders forget this as they forge our future at the conventions. Our organizations – Save the Children, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) and Johnson & Johnson – joined forces to act as a catalyst to try to drive a policy consensus among influential Republicans and Democrats in Cleveland and Philadelphia, respectively. . .

When we talk about ensuring equal opportunity for all kids and investing in our shared future, liberals, moderates and conservatives agree we cannot wait any longer to accomplish meaningful change. We believe there are two bipartisan initiatives that should be injected into the debate at the conventions and serve to unite our nation behind our leaders from both sides of the aisle. First, we must increase access to high-quality early childhood education in the United States. High-quality early learning programs are the best investment our country can make. A study from Nobel Prize winning economist James Heckman shows that for every dollar invested in early education, there is a return of at least $7. Parents have the ultimate responsibility to raise their children, but high quality early learning programs can assist families so all children have an equal opportunity to succeed in school and in life.

Second, bipartisan support for children’s issues also extends beyond America’s borders. Republicans and Democrats understand that when we engage and lift up some of the most vulnerable populations abroad, we are not only acting morally but we are solidifying America’s reputation as a beacon of hope and creating allies in an increasingly dangerous world.