Early childhood education pushed by former governor

Oct. 29, 2013 @ 08:30 PM

GREENSBORO — Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt is urging business, political and civic leaders to invest in early childhood education, saying children should start school ready to learn.

Hunt spoke Tuesday at a breakfast focusing on how to improve early childhood education in Guilford County.

Hunt urged the leaders to understand the first 2,000 days of a child's life are critical to shaping who they will be. He called investing in early childhood education, "morally important and economically the smartest thing we could do."

David Lawrence Jr., president of the Early Childhood Initiative Foundation in Florida, cited data showing more than one in three Guilford County third graders can't read with a minimum proficiency — and that many children will not catch up.

"If we want less crime, want more people to share in the basic costs of societal well-being, more people to own homes, we need to invest in childhood education," said Lawrence, who also spoke at the breakfast.

He said the goal is to have early education work in concert with K-12 education so both succeed, and that effort must begin with private sector leadership.