1. Strong Start Tucson (SST) is a Citizens’ Initiative
SST is citizens’ initiative because the establishment doesn’t truly support early childhood education, even when they talk a good game. Everyone talks about the vital importance of early childhood education for children, families and the community. But when it comes to spending money, children and families are always at the bottom of the list. Pediatricians, educators, economists, business people, progressive politicians and advocates and a diverse community of Tucson’s progressive, future-oriented citizens support SST.
As a community it is our responsibility to ensure a bright future for our children. No more waiting for State or Federal government to provide for our children. We can help thousands of children right now, right here.
2. Strong Start will be administered by a diverse group of community leaders.
It will be the job of the City Council to choose commissioners with appropriate knowledge, who put Tucson’s children’s interests first and foremost, and who do not have conflicts of interest.
3. Only high-quality early childhood education has a positive long-term impact
The Strong Start Tucson Commission will articulate high quality standards and eligibility of providers to participate will be based on those standards. There is nothing mysterious about this. It is well known that only high quality early childhood education results in the desired positive effects. Performance metrics are built into the extensively researched standards for high quality. This is science.
4. The Commission will choose a trusted nonprofit to administer scholarships
The initiative is clear that at least 92% of the monies will be used to underwrite the cost of high quality early educationNonprofits typically administer scholarship programs. Tucson’s nonprofit community has a long and respected history. Tucsonans rightfully trust their efficiency and integrity, perhaps more even than City agencies!
5. Children’s organizations support Strong Start Tucson
Children’s organizations have been at the forefront of advocacy for children and SST. CFR, for example, has been a champion for children in Tucson and Arizona for nearly 50 years. They have consistently advocated at the federal, state and local levels for all kinds of programming that benefits children and families. They are respected locally and nationally for their research, advocacy, and programming. They have received multiple city, state and national contracts and grants. It is their conviction, along with many other children’s services and advocacy organizations that high quality early education is the foremost program that will enhance children’s chances for success in school and in later life. All would contribute more to the campaign if their budgets allowed.
6. Strong Start Tucson will be good for Tucson’s economy
SST will trigger important economic gains. Firms considering Tucson as a location for a start-up or expansion invariably ask: “Will we be able to recruit the well-educated employees we’ll need?” Whether they’re seeking applicants with high-school diplomas or advanced graduate degrees, the firms we want to attract look for a thriving education system, and so do their employees. If we are to grow Tucson’s economy into the high-tech, knowledge-based, high-wage world of the future, we simply cannot afford to waste the talent and potential that school drop- outs and failures represent. The research evidence is clear: Success in school is hugely boosted when children enter kindergarten prepared to learn. SST will provide that preparation.