The single most impactful investment we can make to strengthen our middle-class economy and way of life is in our children. As a child, my mother couldn't afford childcare but thankfully my grandmother was able to watch over me. During my service in the US Department of Labor, we promoted affordable, high-quality childcare for working mothers and single parents. We also supported expanded family leave because a parent should never have to choose between their job and newborn child.
Studies show that 85 percent of brain development occurs within the first three years of a child’s life. That's why I support investing in proven programs such as prenatal and developmental screenings and post-natal family nurse visits. We should invest in universal preschool, so that every child has a head start to succeed in kindergarten. Investing in our children should be an end in itself, but it also has a broader community impact: students who participate in early education programs end up relying less on government assistance, have fewer altercations with the criminal justice system, are high academic achievers, and go on to lead successful careers.
With the common core curriculum standards in place now, kindergarten classrooms are more like the first-grade classrooms of the past. Children are expected to be reading by the end of their kindergarten year. This gives preschool educated children a huge advantage in the classroom over their non-preschool educated peers. The likelihood of being school ready is 9 percentage points higher for children attending preschool.
From a family perspective, universal preschool provides a lifeline for struggling families who often rely on both parents to work extra jobs solely for the purpose of paying for childcare. Providing quality preschool education to children ages 3-5 can eliminate the need for expensive private childcare and put that money back into the pockets of American moms and dads.
How do we invest in our children without raising taxes on middle-class families? First, by making sure we hold major corporations that ship American jobs accountable and remove the tax loopholes and benefits they receive to cheat the American worker.
Second, I would restore the Reagan era tax code.
Lastly, I would cut down on the excessive fraud waste and abuse that exists in our federal government by streamlining and modernizing our government through the use of technology.