ECE Systems and Workforce
A Vision for the Future of Early Care and Education
1.0 EARLY CARE & EDUCATION – WHY IT MATTERS
High-quality early care and education is absolutely critical for children, for parents and families, and for society and our economy. The tragedy in the U.S. is the absence of a fully publicly-funded early care and education system. Whereas kindergarten through grade 12 has full public funding in almost every state, this is not the case for early care and education for children ages birth to five.
Early childhood development. The research and data are overwhelming that the earliest years of a child’s life are the most critical years in terms of the developing architecture of the brain. Simply stated, these early years of growth and development inform the trajectory of the child’s entire life. With abundant love, compassion, care and developmental opportunities and supports, the child has the best opportunity for success – in all dimensions – both in school and throughout the lifespan. Without the proper love, compassion, care and developmental opportunities and supports, the child’s development during the most critical years is compromised, leading to a host of challenges throughout the lifespan.
Brain architecture. The early years matter because, in the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections are formed every second. Neural connections are formed through the interaction of genes and a baby’s environment and experiences, especially “serve and return” interactions with adults, or what developmental researchers call contingent reciprocity. These are the connections that build brain architecture – the foundation upon which all later learning, behavior, and health depend.
Disparities in vocabulary. Early experiences and the environments in which children develop in their earliest years can have lasting impact on later success in school and life. Barriers to children’s educational achievement start early, and continue to grow without intervention. Differences in the size of children’s vocabulary first appear at 18 months of age, based on whether they were born into a family with high education and income or low education and income. By age 3, children with college-educated parents or primary caregivers had vocabularies 2 to 3 times larger than those whose parents had not completed high school.
Developmental delays. Significant adversity impairs development in the first three years of life – and the more adversity a child faces, the greater the odds of a developmental delay. Risk factors such as poverty, caregiver mental illness, child maltreatment, single parent, and low maternal education have a cumulative impact. Maltreated children exposed to as many as 6 additional risks face a 90-100% likelihood of having one or more delays in their cognitive, language, or emotional development.
Adult heart disease and other physical health problems. A growing body of evidence now links significant adversity in childhood to increased risk of a range of adult health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, stroke, obesity, and some forms of cancer. Adults who recall having 7 or 8 serious adverse experiences in childhood are 3 times more likely to have cardiovascular disease as an adult. And children between birth and three years of age are the most likely age group to experience some form of maltreatment.
Benefit of high-quality ECE programs for children and families. The data cited above emphasize the importance of supporting the early development of brain architecture and vocabulary acquisition, and the reduction of risk factors which can lead to developmental delays and health problems later in life. Additionally, in the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Reports and Issue Briefs. January 2015. The Economics of Early Childhood Investments, the Executive Office of the President of the United States released a report which found that the benefits of high-quality early care and education for children include greater educational attainment, higher achievement scores and a lowering of the achievement gap, fewer remedial educational services, reduced involvement with the criminal justice system, and increased earnings later in life.
The White House report on The Economics of Early Childhood Investments found that early care and education programs can strengthen parents’ attachment to the labor force and increase their earnings potential by providing a safe and nurturing environment that furthers the education and development that parents are providing at home. The report noted that high-quality, affordable programs can help parents balance work and family responsibilities, and that providing better access to and lowering the cost of high-quality programs can significantly increase mothers’ employment rates and incomes, and thereby improve children’s outcomes as well. In the study Child Care and Health in America conducted by National Public Radio (NPR), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, researchers found that the majority of parents perceive early care and education programs to have a positive effect on their own well-being, as well as on their relationship with their child. However, despite these benefits, the study found that program options are very limited for families, the cost of programs is a common challenge for families, and many find it to be a major financial burden, especially for families with lower income. Additionally, finding backup care for a sick child challenges working parents who report that they miss work, lose pay, or have negative repercussions from their employer. Finally, on top of these challenges, the study noted that experts say the majority of early care and education programs in the United States are not high quality, with only 10 percent considered as very high quality.
Why High-Quality ECE Matters
With a return on investment of up to 13%, and a contribution of $163 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), the benefits of investing in high-quality early childhood education are clear and extensive – for children, adults, and society at large. A substantial research base confirms that when children participate in high-quality early childhood education, they are:
- more likely to experience improved cognitive and social outcomes;
- more likely to graduate from high school;
- less likely to require remedial education;
- less likely to commit crimes;
- less likely to be neglected or abused;
- less likely to be unemployed;
- less likely to require public assistance;
- less likely to become teen parents; and
- generally healthier and able to be more productive contributors to their local, state, and national economies.
Benefit of high-quality ECE programs for society and our economy. Investment in quality early care and education can improve the collective quality of life for society as a whole, and mitigate future costs in the public education, health care and corrections systems. The White House report on The Economics of Early Childhood Investments noted that expanding early learning initiatives can provide benefits to society of roughly $8.60 for every $1 spent, about half of which comes from increased earnings for children when they grow up. The report found that children who enter school at higher levels of readiness have higher earnings throughout their lives. They are also healthier and less likely to become involved with the criminal justice system. These positive effects suggest that investments in early childhood can benefit society as a whole:
- Research shows that by improving cognitive and socio-emotional development, investments in early childhood education may reduce involvement with the criminal justice system. Lower crime translates into benefits to society from increased safety and security as well as lower costs to the criminal justice system and incarceration.
- Research shows that benefits in children’s development may also reduce the need for special education placements and remedial education, thereby lowering public school expenditures.
In Invest in Early Childhood Development: Reduce Deficits, Strengthen the Economy, Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman noted that investments in early childhood yield a higher rate of return than investments later in life, and particularly so for children from families with low income:
The highest rate of return in early childhood development comes from investing as early as possible, from birth through age five, in disadvantaged families. Starting at age three or four is too little too late, as it fails to recognize that skills beget skills in a complementary and dynamic way. Efforts should focus on the first years for the greatest efficiency and effectiveness. The best investment is in quality early childhood development from birth to five for disadvantaged children and their families.
2.0 THE FIELD OF ECE: DEFINITIONS AND PRIORITIES
Defining the age range for early childhood. Many experts and leaders in the field define early childhood as birth through age 8, based upon the rapid development of the brain and human biology which occurs during these early years. I’m fine with that definition, although I’d like to offer two observations. First, I’ve had many conversations over the years in which folks in the field agree that, in terms of the front end of child development, we need to begin with a focus on pregnant women and prenatal care. In Early Head Start, for example, we support pregnant women around optimizing conditions for the birth of a healthy baby, such as refraining from smoking and alcohol, and assuring good nutrition during pregnancy. Second, for purposes of my ongoing work around early care and education systems, I focus on early childhood through age 5. This is because full public funding for children typically starts with kindergarten during which most children are turning 6. The tragedy of our current system (and the root of many of our societal problems, in my view) is the absence of full public funding for the care and education of children from birth to age 5 – the earliest and most critical years of development. So, for advocacy purposes here, I’ll define early childhood as birth to age 5.
Defining the name of the field. The field is referred to by several different names. The most common these days seems to be “early childhood education.” Some omit either the second word or third word and refer to the field of “early education” or the field of “early childhood.” I prefer another term, also used by many in the field, and that is “early care and education.” Clearly, we all agree on “early.” I prefer early care and education because I feel that it best describes the proper priorities for this field as follows.
Early care. “Early care” for me suggests that our foremost priority in this work should be the health, safety and well-being of young children. Young children are incredibly vulnerable and require extraordinary care. As a parent, when my child was very young and we would entrust her to the care of other adults, my highest priority was that those adults would assure her health, safety and well-being. This duty of care entails: active supervision of precocious infants, toddlers and preschoolers who can toddle, crawl or sprint out of range quicker than we’d like; assuring safe indoor and outdoor conditions and environments; making sure that children’s physical and mental health needs are well cared-for; providing young children with proper food and nutrition and, as appropriate, properly administering medications; and many other aspects of keeping our youngest children healthy and safe.
The U.S. Administration for Children and Families publishes Caring for Our Children Basics: Health and Safety Foundations for Early Care and Education. Caring for our Children Basics represents the minimum health and safety standards, based on evidence, that experts believe should be in place where children are cared for outside of their homes. It is the result of work from both federal and non-federal experts and is founded on Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, Fourth Edition created by the American Academy of Pediatrics; American Public Health Association; and National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. These guidelines inform federal Head Start regulations as well as the regulations in some states for licensed and registered early care and education programs.
Strong health and safety standards and regulations should be the foundation for early care and education systems. I always say, however, that regulations do not enforce themselves. We also need robust state and federal monitoring to assure that these standards and regulations are followed. And, we need excellent training and technical assistance systems in the field of early care and education to support continuous quality and improvement around child health and safety.
Education. I conceptualize “education” as inclusive of child health and safety, but adding to it the essential, evidence-based practices around guiding and supporting child development. And, I think of child development as the foundation and starting point for the continuum of human development throughout the lifespan, with a priority around social and emotional development. These practices, based in part on recommendations from Power to the Profession and the Unifying Framework for the Early Childhood Education Profession, include, but are not limited to:
- Planning and implementing research-based curricula inclusive of intentional, developmentally appropriate learning experiences that promote children’s social-emotional development, physical development, health, cognitive development, and general learning competencies;
- Establishing and maintaining safe, caring, inclusive, and healthy learning environments;
- Employing quality teaching practices, and observing, documenting, and assessing children’s learning and development;
- Developing reciprocal, culturally responsive relationships with families and communities;
- Advocating for the needs of children and their families; and
- Engaging in reflective practice and continuous learning.
Defining high-quality ECE programs. In 2015, I was a Gubernatorial Appointee on the Vermont Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable Child Care. Part of our mission was to come to consensus around the attributes which inform high-quality early care and education programs. Following much discussion and deliberation, and without expanding at length on each element, we arrived at the following statement and outline to conceptualize the necessary elements which comprise a high-quality program.
High-quality early childhood programs in Vermont strive to realize the promise of each child. These programs focus on: Child Health and Safety; Early Care, Education and Child Development; Family and Community Engagement; and Leadership and Management Systems.
1. Child Health & Safety
- Screening and referrals: health, sensory, developmental and behavioral
- Environmental health & safety
- Food & nutrition
- Assuring child and family access to health and dental care
- Healthy practices and routines
- Appropriate group sizes, ratios and supervision
- Safe transportation
2. Early Care, Education and Child Development
- Relationships and teaching practices
- Curriculum and assessment
- Services for children with special needs
- Cultural and linguistic responsiveness
- Transitions and school readiness
3. Family and Community Engagement
- Family stability and well-being
- Partnerships with families
- Parent-Child relationships
- Parents as their child’s educators
- Community partnerships
4. Leadership and management systems
- Governance, mission and vision
- Fiscal stability and integrity
- Human resources
- Credentials, training, professional development
- Compensation and benefits
- Supervision, evaluation and leadership development
- Practice-based coaching
- Facilities, materials and equipment
- Equity, access and inclusionary practices
- Enrollment systems and practices
Important national work in this area. The work of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and 14 other national organizations led to a multi-year initiative at the national level known as Power to the Profession – a national collaboration to define the early care and education profession by establishing a unifying framework. The Unifying Framework for the Early Childhood Education Profession, published in March 2020, is the consensus document which provides a set of national recommendations in four key areas:
- A clearly defined profession, with distinct roles and responsibilities
- Aligned professional preparation pathways, specializations and licensure
- Professional compensation
- Supportive infrastructure and shared accountability
Simply stated, the Unifying Framework represents visionary, groundbreaking work in setting forth an initial blueprint for the professionalization of the entire field. I wholeheartedly endorse and support this extraordinary work. While I will not reiterate here the extensive and detailed contents of the Framework, I will comment on several elements where I would like to add emphasis or provide slight variations on concepts or terminology.
ECE workforce crisis. We have a dire crisis in the early care and education workforce in the U.S., and we lack a coherent or sustainable system. The Unifying Framework – Executive Summary, aptly describes this as follows:
As a result of our country’s collective failure to adequately invest in high-quality child care and early learning, children aren’t getting what they need, families are paying more for child care than housing, and the early childhood education workforce is paid so little that nearly half live in families that depend on public assistance. This scarcity environment has resulted in a disjointed, inequitable, and undervalued field in which some educators have increased their educational attainment (though not their compensation), while many other educators still work in states and settings where they are not required to meet even minimal educational qualifications…The hodge-podge of preparation programs of uneven quality disproportionately harms students of color, first-generation students, and working students – perpetuating systemic inequalities and barriers to access and attainment at the bachelor’s and associate degree levels. At an average of $10.60 per hour, compensation is too low for the average early childhood educator to live on, while the sum of it is too high for the average early childhood setting – or family – to afford. Educators cannot make less, while parents cannot pay more.
At the heart of the problem is the lack of full public funding for an early care and education system for children ages birth to 5. As a society, in most states in the U.S., we have full public funding for children ages 6 to 18 in the K – Grade 12 system. While we can agree that K-12 has its imperfections, for the most part it is a system with coherence, professional licensing requirements, and livable wages for professional teachers (“livable,” though compensation should be better in K-12, of course). However, we have neglected to provide full public funding for children birth to 5. To the severe detriment of our society, we have failed to properly fund the absolute, most critical years of child development. I maintain that this failure leads directly to innumerable problems throughout our culture and society. Imagine if we did not have full public funding for K-12 and families were left to the private market to find care and education for children ages 6 – 18. Without clear standards, structures, funding and supports, we would have sheer chaos and abysmal quality for K-12. So it is for much of the field of early care and education. We have neglected to properly build the foundation and, inevitably, this does not bode well for the house built upon this poor foundation.
Naming the professionals: Teachers. The field of ECE is in a state of evolution in the path toward full professionalization. Generally, professionalized occupations have clear terminology for both the field and its practitioners – “nursing and nurses,” “accounting and accountants,” and so forth. While there may be some variations in credentialing and responsibilities – Registered Nurses (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), for example – society generally uses consistent terminology to describe an occupation and its professionals. Clear terminology to describe the field and its practitioners deepens the understanding, connection and support from the broader society.
In addition to the growing pains of naming the field itself, noted above, the field of ECE continues to struggle with terminology to name the professionals who provide care and education for young children. “Educators,” “providers,” “child care workers” and many other titles create inconsistency and confusion. In the Unifying Framework, referenced above, the Power to the Profession collaboration settled on the title of “Early Childhood Educator.” While I understand and appreciate the precision (and, to some extent, the formality) of this terminology, I prefer to refer to the professionals in the field as “Teachers.” My reasoning is as follows.
In the K-12 system, with full public funding, the professionals who care for and educate our youth are commonly known as Teachers. You’re a 10th grade teacher, or a 4th grade teacher, or a kindergarten teacher, and so on. Why not have “preschool teachers” and “infant/toddler teachers” to complete the spectrum of birth to Grade 12? My overarching concern here is that we want the gold standard for ECE, and that is full public funding which supports compensation, benefits and professional status for ECE teachers which is comparable and on par with those teachers who work in the K-12 system. So, let’s not undercut ourselves and our goals with new and different terminology for the professionals responsible for the care and education of children ages birth to 5.
Second, and finally, when is the last time you heard someone refer to their child’s preschool staff or infant/toddler staff as “my child’s early childhood educator”? Let’s face it. Everyone says, “My child’s teacher,” so let’s not lose the public with terminology that is cumbersome and unnecessary, and which is not generally used.
Credentialing, compensation, benefits and supports on par with K-12. While the field of ECE does not need to, nor should it, look entirely the same as the K-12 system in every respect, there are some elements where there should be strong alignment between the field of ECE and the K-12 system in terms of workforce. This begins with credentialing of the professionals who do the work. Given the rapid brain development during ages birth to 5, and the paramount importance of expert care and education for this age group, we need the absolute best, brightest and most highly qualified professionals in ECE. This is not a luxury but a necessity.
Typically, in the K-12 system, teachers have completed a 4-year bachelor’s degree program and have passed professional assessments which lead to state licensure. And, many states have reciprocity, governed by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement, with guidance around transferability of a teacher’s existing licensure or credentials to another state. The Unifying Framework, referenced above, endorses a structure of professional preparation, education, assessment and state licensure for ECE teachers, with varying levels of preparation and responsibility designated as ECE I, ECE II or ECE III.
In the fully publicly-funded system of K-12, research conducted by Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, found that licensed teachers in kindergarten have a median hourly wage of $32.80 per hour. The same research found that teachers for children ages birth to age 5 have a median hourly wage of $11.65 – $14.67 per hour. The same research found that, nationally, poverty rates are on average nearly eight times higher for early educators than poverty rates for K-8 teachers. And, while teachers in the K-12 system often have employment with health care benefits, this is often not the case for teachers in ECE. These economic disparities are unconscionable. It is a recipe for disaster for children, families, teachers and the greater society.
Finally, along with support for professional credentialing, compensation and benefits for the ECE workforce, we must also assure robust, ongoing training, technical assistance and professional development opportunities. And, I’ve heard folks with experience in teaching middle school (or older) children note that, for numerous reasons, the care and education of children ages birth to 5 is often more demanding than with older children. For example, in many cases, teachers working with children ages birth to 5 are literally working in direct service to children nearly 40 hours per week with little time for reflection, lesson planning, supervisory support and other critical accommodations. Accordingly, we must also care for the overall well-being of the ECE workforce, and structure programs which do not lead to overwork, burnout, and a detrimental toll on the physical and mental health of ECE teachers.
Centering equity: racism, classism, sexism. The field of ECE in the U.S. has, to date, been characterized by inequity. The work, and the pitfalls of the field outlined above, have fallen almost entirely on women. And, it is often women of color, and women with low income, who bear the entirety of these burdens. Arguably, this is due to systems of oppression which have been entrenched for decades and which have failed to evolve to meet standards of justice and decency for women of color with low income. The evolution of the field of early care and education will require that we center equity, and assure that we lift up and support those doing this critically important work for our children, families and communities.
4.0 ECONOMIES OF SCALE AND GOVERNANCE
Without full public funding, our current ECE “system” (of sorts) evolved in an almost entirely privatized space. This led directly to problems in terms of a disjointed system lacking high quality for children, and dire economic consequences for families and for ECE teachers. Imagine a town in the U.S. with a population of about 11,000 people. Based on current averages, that town would likely have 3 elementary schools. By contrast, in some states, that same town might have 19 different early care and education programs, inclusive of child care centers, family home providers and other pre-K and infant/toddler programs. And, the vast majority of those ECE programs would be privately owned and operated. Each program would have to assure that it has not only teaching staff and leadership, but: a facility; technology; food service; some sort of administrative, human resource, information technology and financial management support; outreach and marketing capacity; and more. There are simply no efficiencies or economies of scale in such a system. It is not sustainable, and leads directly to all of the challenges noted above.
As we envision a brighter future for early care and education with full public funding, I don’t advocate for the field of ECE to be governed exclusively by state agencies of education or to become the exclusive domain of the public schools. Rather, I look to models which have been developed in some states where, independent of an agency of education or an agency of human services, the state has developed a lead agency for early care and education with responsibility for multiple programs and functions. As of 2021, six states – Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Washington – have each created a lead agency with an exclusive focus on early care and education. I can foresee full public funding coming primarily from the federal government and states, with ECE programs funded and regulated through these types of state-based ECE agencies.
In addition to supporting the full professionalization of the workforce through credentialing, compensation and other elements, an organized and high-quality ECE system would also entail newer, world-class facilities for the provision of care and education for children ages birth to 5. Modern, expanded facilities designed for the birth to 5 population could accommodate more of the ancillary systems – technology; food service; administrative, human resource, information technology and financial management support – necessary to have a truly efficient and high-quality system. And, can you imagine, transportation systems for children birth to 5 (as in many K-12 systems, but developmentally appropriate for younger children) to attend programs at these beautiful facilities? It boggles the mind.
Finally, while we need full public funding to truly develop the world-class ECE system we need and which children, families and teachers deserve, this will entail changes in the current landscape of primarily private providers. While private providers would inevitably still exist (as they do in the world of K-12), most would likely have to transition to becoming part of the new, public system of early care and education, and we will need robust supports to help facilitate this transition. However, if we keep our eyes on quality, and assure that the new system entails small group sizes and low child-to-teacher ratios, I see no diminution of the existing workforce. Rather, I see a fully professionalized workforce with compensation, benefits and supports on par with their K-12 peers, working in vastly upgraded, modernized, high-functioning, beautiful environments, not to mention the return on investment of up to 13%, and a contribution of $163 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).
And so we arrive at the elephant in the room – “show me the money.” The process of establishing a high-quality early care and education system, as I see it, involves at least three major steps. First, research and design the optimal system. Second, determine the true cost of the system. Third, fund and implement the system. In 2015, I was a Gubernatorial Appointee on the Vermont Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable Child Care. We engaged, essentially, in the first two steps of this type of process on a state-level scale. We did a deep dive into the data around numbers of children likely to be served by a universal system, defined quality, and designed what we saw, at the time, as the optimal program structures for children, families and teachers. We then developed various cost estimates for the model based on different variables.
Design the system, project the cost, assess the gap. The work of the Blue Ribbon Commission is a prototype for a process that can be taken to a national scale, and which represents the preliminary work needed to pursue the gold standard and proper target: full public funding for the early care and education system for children ages birth to 5. Once an optimal model has been designed, and the true costs determined, we must then take stock of existing public funding streams – federal and state – which can be leveraged and incorporated to pay for the new system. After these existing, public funds are accounted for, we can then assess the “gap” – new funding needed to build and implement the system.
Four primary funding strategies. I suggest that we consider four primary strategies to address the funding gap for a modernized ECE system. First, we assess how the return on investment (ROI) in ECE will compare economically with the ROI of our current investments of public money – how our tax dollars are currently spent – and make some hard but prudent choices around redirecting funding as dictated by that research. Second, we consider more rigorous tax enforcement to collect the $307 billion in taxes that the U.S. Treasury reports the richest 5% of Americans “choose not to pay” each year. Third, we consider implementation of an appropriate taxation structure for America’s billionaires, many of whom pay a lower tax rate than average Americans. And, fourth, rather than wait for the first three strategies to bear fruit, concurrent with these strategies we launch a philanthropic pilot as an on-ramp to full public funding.
Capitalism, socialism, democracy and economic development. Let me segue into the third and fourth strategies with a few initial thoughts as follows. Our national and local communities and economies are built upon certain capitalist and socialist structures. As a democracy, we the people try our best to agree on and support those structures. In a democracy with capitalism, we strive to build economic resources for our family, our friends and ourselves (capitalism), and we also pool a portion of our resources to pay for the common good: K-12 education, roads, bridges, fire departments and more (socialism). An early care and education system with full public funding is part of the common good and it is mission critical. And, I maintain that building a world-class ECE system with full public funding can and will revolutionize the economic vitality of our nation for generations to come, and we may initially need a combination of public and private investment to get there.
The Philanthropic Pilot as an on-ramp to full public funding. The reality is that, with many billionaires currently paying a lower tax rate than the rest of society, some of America’s billionaires recognize the vast economic injustice in the U.S. and have advocated for higher taxes on the ultra-wealthy. However, some of us might be rightfully skeptical around the political will to raise taxes on the uber-wealthy in the U.S., and it may be a long and winding road to get there, even though time is of the essence. What if, while we work on this front, we also simply ask the multi-billionaires to help us do the right thing by our children, families and society. That is, we appeal directly to the billionaire class to help directly with initial funding for a modernized ECE system while long-term, public funding structures are being developed. You chuckle? Consider this. The top 20 richest people in America have a combined net worth of $1.83 trillion. Ahem. That’s one trillion, eight hundred and thirty billion dollars. It also looks like this: $1,830,000,000,000. Now, if your net worth is $100,000 and we ask you to donate 10% of your resources to a noble cause, you would donate $10,000 and have $90,000 left over. That $90,000 is probably not enough for most folks to afford a house, transportation, and other necessities of modern life. If we asked the top 20 richest people in America to donate 10% of their resources to help fund the foundation of a modernized early care and education system in the U.S., that contribution would be $183 billion. The amount those 20 people would have left? $1.65 trillion. On average, they would each have left approximately $82.3 billion – enough to afford an A+ standard of living for many generations to come.
What if there was an organized effort that these civic-minded billionaires could join which set forth plans for private and philanthropic investment for a modernized, American ECE system? I can easily imagine that if many of us had this type of immense wealth, we would be thankful for the opportunity to help structure, build and contribute financially to a system that cares for and supports the well-being of our nation’s children, families and communities. Some won’t. But I suspect that some will. And if even just a few choose to help with their vast fortunes, they will lead by example and validate not just themselves, but the common humanity we all share. And, as a wise sage once said, “Oftentimes, if ya don’t ask, ya don’t get.”
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one.