Early Childhood Education Action Tank Releases Policy Recommendations to Expand High-Quality Early Learning

Media Contact: Allie Wright, [email protected], (202) 794-1823

Members of the Action Tank include Save the Children Action Network, XL Catlin, Goldman Sachs, PNC Financial Services Group, Pearson, First Five Years Fund, First Focus, Institute for Child Success and the YMCA of the USA

Washington, D.C. (January 17, 2017) – Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) has convened a diverse coalition of children’s advocacy groups, businesses and financial institutions to release a report with tax policy recommendations aimed at expanding access to high-quality early learning in the U.S. These recommendations could become part of comprehensive tax reform legislation planned by the new Congress and incoming Administration.

The group, called the Early Childhood Education Action Tank, first met last May and has met regularly since then to hammer out recommendations to expand early learning across the United States.

Mike McGavick, co-chair of the Action Tank and CEO of XL Catlin, said: “It has been known for many years that early childhood education is the most cost effective investment our nation can make in breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty and fulfill this nation’s ideals of allowing individual merit, rather than birth circumstance, to decide outcomes. It is time to act decisively on this knowledge.”

Thomas Lamb, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at PNC Financial Services Group, and a member of the Action Tank, agreed. “Early childhood education is key to the success of our society and one of the best ways to end the cycle of poverty. PNC has been committed to this issue for more than a decade. I would like to thank Save the Children Action Network and the Early Childhood Education Action Tank for bringing together a diverse set of partners to tackle this critical issue, so that we can help make the future brighter for all our children.”

Congressman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) praised the Action Tank for its work.

“Investing in our children through early childhood education provides the foundation for a secure future in America,” said Cole. “Studies have shown that investing in early childhood education improves the quality and resources that our educators and schools need, and in the long run, greatly improves the quality of life for all Americans through better health, lower crime and greater economic opportunities. I applaud Save the Children Action Network and their President, Mark Shriver, for the initiative and leadership they have provided on this important issue.”

Shriver, who convened and co-chaired the Action Tank, said there is broad bipartisan agreement among voters about the importance of early childhood education programs.

“What’s missing has been the political will and the innovation that can finance the expansion of these critical investments,” he said. “We are committed to working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress, as well as the incoming Trump Administration, to adopt some of the Action Tank’s recommendations and make expanded access to high-quality early education a reality for the kids and families who need it most.”

In addition to SCAN, the other partners in the Action Tank are XL Catlin, Goldman Sachs, PNC Financial Services Group, Pearson, First Five Years Fund, First Focus, Institute for Child Success and the YMCA of the USA.

“America has moved beyond asking ‘if’ we should invest more in quality early childhood education,” said First Five Years Fund Executive Director Kris Perry. “We’ve reached the point of asking ‘how best’ to ensure more children have access to the early care and learning programs that have the potential change the course of their lives. Thanks to the leadership of Save the Children Action Network in convening the Action Tank, these recommendations offer real and innovative opportunities to allocate the resources needed to meet this challenge head on.”

In the report, the Early Childhood Education Action Tank proposes specific action to expand upon what is “right” with existing tax policy and create new incentives to promote federal, state, local and private collaboration in expanding access to early learning programs. It is also vital, according to the Action Tank report, that the federal government ensures any policies and programs are built on a high standard of quality to guarantee the best outcomes are achieved.

The recommendations will help break down the two greatest barriers to early childhood education: cost and lack of access to quality programs. In doing so, the nation would close a major gap in our social safety net and empower the next generation to achieve prosperity for themselves and their families to come.

The Action Tank’s specific recommendations include:

  • Expand Tax Credits & Deductions
  • Expand Municipal and Private Activity Bonds
  • Social Impact Financing/Pay for Success
  • Early Education/Higher Education Parity
  • Expand the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program
  • Pre-Kindergarten Scholarship Tax Credit