SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Deficit reduction, a stronger economy and safer streets are within the grasp of Californians as election day approaches, according to a leading advocate for early childhood education.
Passing Propositions 30 and 38 is the key to a host of financial and social benefits statewide as well as to halting a devastating slide in educational funding, which over the past four years has seen a 42 percent reduction in funding.
"Early education can be a child's ticket out of poverty forever," says Giuliana Halasz, CEO of PACEAPP, the Professional Association for Early Childhood Education Alternative Payment Program."Unfortunately, without it we see their future written in stone – poor school performance and too often failure to get a diploma. High school dropouts are seven times more likely to go to prison. And we wonder why we spend so much on the criminal justice system. We have it all backwards." A vast body of scientific evidence indicates that before a child reaches the age of 3, 85 percent of the brain's core functions are permanently formed. These functions govern abilities that will predict whether the child succeeds, thrives and grows up to become a productive member of society. Early childhood education fosters positive development, leading to increased test scores, high school completion, higher rates of college enrollment, lesser rates of involvement in crime and greater worker productivity. "The minimal taxes proposed by Props. 30 and 38 are our initial investment in California's future," says Halasz, whose organization claims members, including pre-schools that operate more than 1,000 education centers statewide, serving more than 55,000 children and 10,000 teachers and directors throughout California. PACE's commitment to reversing devastating cuts to early childhood education is inspired by such authorities as James J. Heckman, Ph.D, a Nobel laureate in economics and an economics professor at the University of Chicago. "Investing in early childhood education for at-risk children is an effective strategy for reducing social costs," says Dr. Heckman.