A recent article by the Bangor Daily News released information in regards to policymakers now looking at children and early education. This focus isn’t new, but in Maine it is one that is more of a “newer” approach– and above all else it finally gets us away from the bureaucratic whining for more state funding of higher education. It’s understandably so that any advancements in education programs revolve around money but should a large amount of funding be placed, let’s look at younger students. As children enter the developmental stages of ages of three and onwards, they are learning the very concepts of speech, math, and motor skills.
Higher education is a completely different frame than early education. In fact, most money given to higher education is dedicated towards renovations, upgrades in research, and accessing greater area to seat more students. But unlike this in early education, education in college and to the extent of senior and juniors in high school can be self-determined and framed. A driven student can go beyond the classroom to learn and its reinforced by an early development that they can reach a state where learning can come independently. As of now, money going towards research and suiting a (hopeful) demographic (see LR 1021, a push to modernize community colleges to increase enrollment) is completely imbalanced especially since that the research being done in smaller colleges in Maine is very little.
Let’s look at a payoff that could be achieved if we started to invest more in early education. In an executive report from the Maine Early Learning Investment Group, it showed from a cost benefit analysis that an additional investment of $26,200 of governmental funds would lead to a real fiscal gain of $125,400 from the investment. An ideal framework for early education would give Maine a quality boost of living standards through increased salaries that can be gained from success of graduating college. Early education must be seen as the seed of well being that will eventually flourish to an august flower. Preparing students and giving them the necessary abilities to create higher quality competition in the classroom and the insight of the meaning and vital importance of education is key, and when a platform for early education is constructed and maintained, maybe then we can start asking for more money in higher education.