Never before has the connection between our economic growth and our education system been so critical. In the antiquated industrial economy of the past, a country that could efficiently manufacture and produce material goods succeeded. In today’s new knowledge-based economy, a nation’s success is contingent on its citizens’ human capital. As the Council on Competitiveness predicts, “where once we optimized our organizations for efficiency and quality, now we must optimize our entire society for innovation.”
The drive for innovation demands that we look at improving our education system from the ground up. However, to date, we have heard little in the education debate about children’s early years. This is radically different than our competitors, who begin investing much earlier in their citizens’ education, knowing that these investments have long-term benefits for children and families. For America to succeed, we must do the same. We make the case for a fundamental change in U.S. early education policies, looking specifically at prekindergarten through third grade -- what we call the PK-3 agenda.
The reforms we outline below are critical to developing the foundation for learning that children need to succeed in a global economy. PK-3 efforts will also help to ensure that children who start from behind are able to catch up and become full participants in America’s future growth and prosperity.
For the complete document, please see the attached PDF version.