The Good Economist May 2016 - Page 3

Early childhood education has been shown to boost the economic prospects for children from low-income families. Full-day pre-K for one school year at age 4 can boost long-term earning by 10 percent. Quality pre-K also has a more immediate impact as these programs have been shown to support parents’ efforts to enter into and thrive in the workforce.

More than 17,000 children in the city currently do not have access to pre-K. High quality child care is out of reach for many working families. In 33 states and the District of Columbia, child care costs exceed the average cost of in-state college tuition at public 4-year institutions; in Washington, D.C., the average monthly cost for a household with one child is $1,472.

The widespread inability to access quality early childhood education threatens the viability and sustainability of the local economy. Without the skills to enter high-earning career pathways, income inequality leaves scarce levels of disposable income to support local enterprises. And as the availability of skilled labor has become the number-one cited quantitative issue, the local workforce will place Philadelphia at a competitive disadvantage as businesses decide where to locate, as the talent pool will be unable to satisfy the labor demand.

Business can ill afford to stay on the sidelines and ignore this crisis any longer. Though our ability to successfully tackle the education challenge is incredibly dependent on strong government leadership, our success will ultimately hinge upon our collective strength. It will take the ability and commitment of our entire community - government, non-profit, and business - to address this most pressing challenge. It is for this reason that SBN supports Mayor Kenney’s proposed sugary beverage tax.

SAleem Chapman

Policy & Advocacy Manager

The Good Economist 3