On Monday, March 31, 2008, the Committee for Economic Development (CED), a national business-led public policy group, in partnership with the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business and Greater Richmond Chamber hosted a public forum on the economic promise of investing in early childhood development for all children. Delegate Christopher K. Peace was one of the keynote speakers. Peace remarked that, “To improve economic growth, financial security and sustainability of our communities, investments must be made in education, at all levels.” He noted the critical need for workforce supply and quality, and the role which business leaders play in shaping this issue, highlighting the need for public-private partnerships in addressing concerns.
Peace presented a number of issues within the educational arena which legislators and business people may address. Issues such as, working together to reduce the current dropout epidemic facing our nation and increase graduation rates, cutting wasteful spending of educational dollars and ensuring a greater amount of tax dollars are spent in the classroom, employing the use of technology in the classroom, and making targeted investments in needy areas of education.
Investing in high-quality early childhood education is one of the most promising ways to help strengthen the future economic and fiscal position of states and the nation. Given the education challenges the country is currently facing, this forum addressed how local business, civic, and education leaders can actively encourage investment in early education and move forward on strengthening the nation’s economy, workforce, and community.
Joan Marable, Director of Public Affairs for the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce stated, “We appreciate Delegate Peace’s dedication to the early childhood development issue. He understands the economic impact of preparing children to enter school ready to succeed and is willing to explore changes to the early care system that will benefit everyone in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”