Blog | March 9, 2017

Highlighting the Impact of Early Education in Wisconsin

This early education center in Milwaukee got three visitors to support its dedication to high-quality early childhood care

Three Council for a Strong America members visited Next Door Educare Milwaukee, a high-quality early education center in Wisconsin. Milwaukee Chief of Police Ed Flynn of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Jerry Clusen of Mission: Readiness, and Northwestern Mutual Chairman and CEO John Schlifske of ReadyNation visited with preschoolers there while highlighting the importance of high-quality early education.

Flynn, a longtime member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, explained how early childhood programs can lead children to strong academic and social outcomes, making kids less likely to become involved with crime later in life. He also is a strong proponent of home visiting programs, which can cut child abuse by half.

Chief Ed Flynn

There are things that work. And research shows that kids with access to early childhood education have better academic and social outcomes.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn

Clusen discussed the role that outcomes can play in combatting the major factors that keep young adults from having the opportunity to serve in the military: poor education, obesity, or record of crime or drug abuse. “The days of joining the military to get your GED are gone. 70% of our youth cannot qualify for the military,” said the Admiral.

Schlifske highlighted the role that early childhood interventions can play in preparing young people to learn the basics in school–but also develop critical social-emotional skills. Problem-solving, collaborating with others, and demonstrating empathy toward customers and colleagues are the attributes that employers want and need. “Every child deserves to be well-prepared to join the workforce. Children who are not truly ‘ready-to-learn’ when they start school are at greater risk of dropping out or falling behind. We must work on many fronts to better prepare our kids to be the future leaders of our community.” said Schlifske.

Wisconsin lawmakers can prioritize access to these programs by supporting efforts like Governor Walker’s recommendation for an additional $3.9 million investment in the Wisconsin Family Foundation Home Visiting Program. At the federal level, programs like Head Start, the Child Care and Development Block Grant, Preschool Development Grants, and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program are critical for public safety, our national security, and our workforce needs.

At the end of their visit, Flynn, Clusen, and Schlifske read to children from “B is for Badger,” an A-Z alphabet book tailored to the state of Wisconsin. This story was captured by the USA Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as three local television affiliates.

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