My Turn: Van Ostern is the right choice for governor

  • Van Ostern

For the Monitor
Published: 10/13/2016 3:10:27 AM

All children are born ready to learn, yet far too many of New Hampshire’s children do not have access to the early learning opportunities needed to prepare them for school and life.

New Hampshire is one of the only states east of the Mississippi River without state-funded preschool. This presents our kids with an unfair disadvantage.

Despite this fact, early childhood education is seldom discussed on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. But as one who talks often with parents of young children and constituents, I know that it’s an important issue to Granite State voters.

Fortunately, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern is a proven champion for kids and will invest in high-quality early education. He understands that in order to build a stronger economy where every child has the opportunity to succeed, our state must fully fund and ensure access to full-day kindergarten and expand high-quality public pre-K options across New Hampshire.

Voters agree with him. And so do I.

According to a recent survey commissioned by Save the Children Action Network and conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, when voters heard about Van Ostern’s plans to expand early childhood education, his support increased. Furthermore, a majority of the poll’s participants said the next governor of New Hampshire should make education, specifically early childhood education, a high priority.

I support Colin Van Ostern because he understands children and knows that providing high-quality early learning opportunities for every New Hampshire child isn’t just the best thing to do – it’s also a proven way to promote our economy.

Van Ostern knows that early childhood education allows all children to start on an even playing field, and strengthens our workforce.

If we invest today in setting a strong intellectual, social and emotional foundation for children at a young age, we can significantly raise the odds they will perform well in school, avoid teenage pregnancy, keep away from drug-related and violent crimes and, more generally, contribute to making our communities more livable and prosperous.

In fact, Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman has done research to show that for every $1 we invest in high-quality early learning, we get $7 in return by avoiding costly interventions. This just makes good financial sense.

Our children deserve a bright future. Colin Van Ostern has a plan to make sure they get it.

(Mary Stuart Gile of Concord represents Merrimack District 27 and is the ranking Democrat on the New Hampshire House of Representatives Committee on Education. She is currently serving her 10th term.)

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