Columbus Contributes To New Agenda For Early Childhood Education

Columbus, OH, September 10, 2004 – More than 100 experts and advocates of quality early childhood education gathered in Columbus yesterday as A National Task Force on Public Education convened to facilitate dialogue with local experts and advocates on the future of early childhood education in our country. Renewing Our Schools, Securing Our Future: A National Task Force on Public Education organized by Bob Borosage, president of the Institute for America’s Future and John Podesta, president and chief executive officer of the Center for American Progress will visit a total of 6 cities before concluding its tour.

 Among the local participants was Mayor Michael B. Coleman who welcomed the task force to study local efforts to expand access to quality learning for our youngest citizens, and cited the visit as just one more way that Columbus can help drive forward a national issue that matters to every family.

Expert testimony was offered by Barbara Haxton, Director, Ohio Head Start Association, Inc.; Michelle Katona, Interim Coordinator, Early Childhood Initiative of Cuyahoga County; Chris Stoneburner, Project Director, Build Ohio; Charleta Tavares, Councilwoman, Columbus City Council; John Taylor, Regional President, PNC Bank; and Susan Tave Zelman, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio Department of Education.

 “Visits to cities like Columbus afford the Task Force the opportunity to gain insight to assist in publishing a report with recommendations for modernizing and renewing public education in the United States,” says Podesta. “This report will provide an important information base as we work
to improve the design of education in America.”

Borosage notes that every child should be able to enter school ready to learn. “When a child can’t learn because they are sick or hungry, that’s a child left behind,” said Borosage. “Ohio has begun to confront this problem head on and the task force hopes to learn how to prepare all of our nation’s children to be able to live up to their potential.”

The group presented Investing in Early Childhood Education in Ohio: An Economic Appraisal, a report prepared by Clive R. Belfield (Teachers College, Columbia University) that details the economic pay-off to society that results from quality early childhood education. Using economic analysis and new empirical evidence, this paper describes and calculates the economic pay-off for the state of Ohio.

Task Force members participating in the public forum and collecting data include:
• Charita Crockrom, Principal, John F. Kennedy High School, Cleveland, OH
• Margaret McKenna, President, Lesley University
• Philip D. Murphy, Senior Director, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
• Delia Pompa, DMP Associates and former Director, Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs, United States Department of Education
• James Pughsley, Superintendent, Charlotte-Mecklenberg Public Schools, Charlotte, NC
• Chauncey Veatch, National Teacher of the Year, Coachella Valley High School, CA

Renewing Our Schools, Securing Our Future: A National Task Force on Public Education is a joint initiative of the Institute for America’s Future and the Center for American Progress.

About the Institute for America’s Future
Institute for America’s Future is a center of nonpartisan research and education. Drawing on a network of scholars, activists and leaders across the country, the Institute develops policy ideas, educational materials and outreach programs. The Institute provides a growing network of progressive writers, leaders and activists with facts, ideas, and arguments, through an active web page and e-mail network. Visit www.ourfuture.org for more information.

About the Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. It believes Americans 
are bound together by a common commitment to these values and aspires to ensure national policies reflect these values. Visit www.americanprogress.org for more information.