Business leaders champion full-day kindergarten

Nashua Telegraph editorial

The Nashua Telegraph featured this editorial on the business support for full-day kindergarten funding:

There are many truisms about business and government, mainly revolving around the idea one should operate more like the other. We know of another old chestnut that offers the following advice: When business speaks, government should listen.

…Business leaders champion the bill [that funds full-day kindergarten] as a way to attract and retain young families to the state, which has been a major focus in an aging region. There are also multiple long-term positives for those with early childhood learning, leading to a well-prepared future generation of skilled workers.

“One of the problems we have is that we’re an aging city and we need to attract and retain younger families and young people,” Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess said during the Tuesday conference…

“If you talk to the business community, if you talk to Realtors, they all say that one of the questions that they most commonly get from people who are thinking about staying or relocating is, ‘What’s the story with the schools? Do you have full-day kindergarten?’ “ Donchess said. “And if the answer to especially that second question is, ‘No we don’t,’ it seems like we’re out of step with educational quality and out of step with the rest of the United States.”

Moving forward without universal full-day kindergarten hampers business growth, as well as retention. Other states are recruiting workers with this promise of quality education for their young children.

“At a time when we face shortages of skilled workers and are working to attract young people and their families to our state, we need to be aware of and responsive to what they’re looking for: a place to raise their families where education is valued and supported,” said Tracy Hatch, president and CEO of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce.

Even the statewide chamber, the Business and Industry Association, announced its endorsement of universal full-day kindergarten.

“The business community has a vested interest in universal full-day kindergarten in New Hampshire,” BIA President Jim Roche said. “Research shows participation in early childhood education pays multiple dividends down the road. As we currently struggle with turning out a labor pool that has the necessary skills for 21st-century jobs, full-day kindergarten is a long-term investment in workforce development.”

We can argue whether a government should operate more like a business. But when business and government agree, that bypasses any cliche and goes right to a complete and well-planned deal for the public.

Last week, the House Education Committee voted to send SB 191 to the House floor amended to provide full funding to all communities who choose to provide all day kindergarten.  On May 4th, the House passed SB 191, 247-116.  The bill will now move on to the House Finance Committee.

Read more at: A business angle for kindergarten – The Nashua Telegraph