Stephanie Roque/Contributing Writer
Throughout the past few years, a big spotlight has been put on education reform. One of the main aspects education advocates are discussing is that of early childhood education: what can be done to increase funding of early childhood educational institutions to ensure the best outcome for America’s children?
However, the question that should be asked is not what should be done, but who should be taking the initiative in order to ensure America’s youth have the best early childhood education possible, to set a solid educational foundation for the future of America?
U.S. News’ Sara Mead discusses what exactly the government is and is not doing in terms of early childhood education and its future in America. Mead details the current argument being used throughout education policy discussions: the demographics depict that America cannot afford to make “big investments in new, large scale public programs.”
The argument does make sense. With social security and Medicare rising in the coming years due to the retirement of the baby boomers, America’s pockets are being emptied out. As a result, funding for education seems to be the collateral damage and is being placed on the back burner.
Nevertheless, the future of education may not be so bleak. In a new Urban Institute Report, federal budget and finance expert C. Eugene Steuerle discusses how despite all the financial strains to come, tax incentives and federal spending is predicted to grow by about $15,000 per household within the next 10 years.
However, without the political gusto, or incentive, to back these funds and allocate them correctly and respectively, education funding will remain as is.
Furthermore, Steuerle argues that “investments in education- and early childhood education in particular- are exactly the kind of opportunity investments that must become an increasing priority for federal resources.”
He argues that we can increase education spending without cutting others out thanks to economic growth: generating increasing revenues with which “policymakers can fund opportunity investments.” In addition, editing current policies can also make a big difference spending wise.
The deduction of spending is not necessarily a “fiscal problem of constrained resources,” but a political one: policy makers are unwilling to make difficult choices about “resource allocation.”
In the long run, we can see that increased spending for early childhood education is not unfathomable, it’s completely possible. Advocates of early childhood education need to begin coming up with not only arguments detailing the benefits of what increased spending can and will do for America’s children, but also “feasible policy proposals.”
America’s educational system can have a very bright future ahead of her; she just needs a little help from the right people.
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