Lobbying for Early Education Funding

According to the National Institute for Early Education, Iowa ranks 32nd in the nation for state spending on preschool.

Mark Shriver, President of the Save the Children Action Network, is working to try to change that. “Ninety percent of brain growth happens before the age of 5, but public investment is flat until that age. We spend billions of dollars trying to remediate. These kids are not entering kindergarten ready to learn,” he says.

During this River to River interview, host Ben Kieffer talks with Shriver about funding for early childhood education and his organization’s efforts to try to encourage Iowans to lobby for funding to send 4-year-olds to preschool.

Shriver says he became interested in the conversation about preschool when he was a part of Maryland’s state legislature. “A teacher told me she can predict who will drop out of high school after the first week of kindergarten,” he explains. “People who have a lot of money spend a lot of time making sure kids are ready to learn when they enter kindergarten, but poor kids don’t have that option.”