Corporate Voices for Working Families and Business Roundtable are calling for a renewed emphasis on high-quality early care and education and a commitment to focusing resources on the first five years of life.

 In a newly released policy paper – “Why America Needs High-Quality Early Care and Education” – the two business advocacy organizations outlined six interconnected principles for assessing existing early education programs; considering philanthropic priorities; evaluating policy proposals on pre-kindergarten, Head Start and other programs; and formulating policy positions. The policy paper is available on the Corporate Voices for Working Families Web site.

 “The investments in early childhood education provide significant benefits to individuals, employers and our nation’s economy,” Donna Klein, president and founder of Corporate Voices for Working Families, said. “Concentrating on the first five years of life is essential for meeting the education and development needs of young people and helping American businesses remain competitive in today’s challenging global economy.”

“The commitment by forward-looking leaders from business, government and education to high-quality early childhood education provides an opportunity to make sure children enter school ready to learn,” Edward B. Rust, Jr., chairman & CEO, State Farm Insurance Companies, and issue leader, Pre-K-12 Education, Business Roundtable, said. “Investments in quality early education, with a particular focus on children most at risk, are a wise and safe investment in our nation’s success.”

“Why America Needs High-Quality Early Care and Education” was released in conjunction with the W.K. Kellogg national forum, held in Washington March 30-31. The Corporate Voices for Working Families and Business Roundtable statement of principles, originally developed in 2003, was updated to reflect the latest research and trends involving early childhood education, lessons from K-12 education reform efforts and applicable lessons from the nation’s experience in building a voluntary system of higher education.