All Children Deserve a Fair Chance to Thrive and Succeed
Marin County is known for being one of the healthiest counties in the State, earning this title in part because of its commitment to young people’s health, education and wellbeing. And yet there are significant numbers of families without access to childcare, preschool and other pillars of a strong start in life. On November 8th, Marin County has the opportunity to change this by supporting Measure A, a ¼ cent sales tax to support the creation of a children’s fund. This investment has the potential to impact children, families and all residents of Marin County while setting an example for the region of what a community can do to ensure the success of its future.
Why do we need a local measure?
Measure A would generate approximately $12,000,000 annually, funds that are guaranteed to stay in the community and cannot be taken away by the state. During the great recession and its aftermath, state policymakers made deep cuts to key programs that provided much needed resources for the families who are struggling to find work and build toward self-sufficiency. The Bay Area’s economic recovery has yet to reach many families struggling to make ends meet. The economic challenges facing our region’s low-wage workers such as wage stagnation, high costs of housing and childcare has forced an increasing number of struggling families deep into poverty.
Who will benefit?
Everyone. Decades of research prove that direct investments in high quality preschool and childcare programs go beyond helping just children and families – it also benefits society overall by accelerating economic expansion and promoting socio-economic mobility over time. Early childhood education not only reduces the need for remedial education, narrows the achievement gap and reduces criminal justice expenditures, but it can increase children’s later adult earnings.
We should not dismiss that affordable quality child care benefits parents and their employers as well, allowing working parents to balance work success with family responsibilities. A great deal of empirical evidence suggests that parents with access to quality and affordable child care are more likely to be employed, retained and succeed on the job by reducing absenteeism or being forced to cut back their hours due to child care needs.
If we continue to dis-invest in early childhood programs, we will pay a higher price later, in the form of remedial education, health expenditures, criminal justice spending, and other societal costs. According to a Bay Area Council Poll, Bay Area residents overwhelmingly support early learning and recognize the long term impact on our economy and future workforce. In fact “69% agree that improving childhood development save billions in future spending and 69% support increase local funding for pre-k and early childhood education.”
It is time to shift our view of high quality childcare and early childhood education as the sole responsibility of an individual household, to the shared responsibility of society. It is indeed in our collective best interest to ensure early childhood success regardless of the child’s family situation.
Expanding access to quality childhood programs offers a win-win opportunity for Marin County’s children, their parents and the tax payers as a whole.
Rise Together is a Bay Area initiative to cut poverty through Education, Employment and Basic Needs. Ending poverty depends on every child being given a fair chance to thrive and succeed. Rise Together supports policies that create sustainable solutions through shared responsibility, putting power into the hands of counties to shift what isn’t working and create new alternatives. This is why Rise Together is supporting Measure A, and we hope you will too.