Both sides agree: We must invest in kids

This piece originally appeared in the Des Moines Register.

Though we come from different sides of the political aisle, one thing we agree on is that all presidential candidates must prioritize kids during their campaigns.

Through working with local children during Sunday school classes and outreach, each of us has learned that taking the time to connect with kids at an early age can pay huge dividends later in life. Nothing is more fulfilling than seeing our sons and daughters thrive. By age 5, a child’s brain is already 90 percent developed. Despite this, many kids don’t have the chance to attend early learning programs.

Thousands of Iowa children from middle-and lower-income homes do not arrive at school with opportunities equal to those of their more well-off peers.

As Iowans who have experience in early learning and working with homeless families and disadvantaged youth in central Iowa, we have seen first-hand the challenges many face. We know that investing in our children is something that cannot wait. A small investment to help prepare every child for kindergarten pales in comparison to the cost of dealing with broken lives resulting from educational failures.

To raise critical kids’ issues in the upcoming presidential caucuses and primaries, Save the Children Action Network launched the High 5 for Kids campaign. When a candidate comes to your community, raise your hand and ask them how they will invest in early learning programs. Use your voice and be an advocate for our kids.

You’ll be glad you did.

— Carolyn Meyer, Adel, and Mike Hamilton, Urbandale