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Early childhood education

Early childhood education: Time to advocate for children now

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As a person of faith, I find myself compelled to serve others, especially when it comes to protecting and supporting children and their families.

I recommend Early Edge, an initiative proposed by Gov. Steve Bullock, as a powerful way to act on this commitment. This initiative would strengthen Montana’s working families by offering a public, voluntary, high-quality preschool option for their 4-year-olds.

We need Early Edge because too many hard-working families cannot afford to enroll their children in preschool. In fact, 20 percent of children in Montana live in poverty. These children miss critical opportunities to develop social and cognitive skills that help them succeed. They miss out time and time again because of lack of funding.

Publicly funded pre-kindergarten will help close the achievement gap between low- and high-income students, which has grown 75 percent since the baby boom generation.

Research shows that children who attend pre-kindergarten are more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school. Moreover, they are less likely to become teenage parents, require public assistance or go to jail.

Those of us who can advocate on behalf of children must act now. Please tell your legislator that Early Edge will build strong Montana families and help our children thrive.

Laurie Franklin,

spiritual leader and rabbinic intern, 

Congregation Har Shalom,

Missoula, 

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