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George Miller and Rick Santorum: Invest early in America’s children

USA TODAY

Monday, January 16, 2017

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The two of us have a lot in common. We’re fathers, former legislators, and share a deep love for our country. But in Congress we rarely agreed on policy solutions to the challenges facing the nation.

America is home to the world’s largest economy and most powerful military. She is blessed with tremendous natural resources and agricultural wealth and can boast great industrial power. But our most valuable national asset is the tens of millions of children who will shape America’s destiny. We both believe that ensuring our kids get a good start in life is essential.

Early childhood development is an issue that can unite both political parties.

We are convinced that supporting early childhood development is an issue that can unite both political parties. It’s also an area where Congress can begin immediately to work with the Trump administration to support the needs and aspirations of working families: a group our political system has neglected for far too long. The recent election results demonstrate that the Washington political establishment needs to recalibrate its focus. Research is clear that brain development in the earliest years is hugely influential on a child’s long-term success and health. We now know that effective interventions like high-quality early learning programs and parent-focused programs can make a real difference in the lives of children and families. Yet many children arrive at kindergarten without the skills they need to succeed in school. And children who arrive at school behind their peers tend to stay behind…

We are joining forces with the Bipartisan Policy Center this month to launch a new Early Childhood Initiative. Making sure all our nation’s children start the journey of life equipped for what lies ahead is central to the American ethos of equality of opportunity — the notion that America is a place where everyone, regardless of background and circumstance, has a chance at achieving success. Through our work with BPC, we also hope to demonstrate the possibility of developing meaningful solutions that can bridge political and ideological divides. We owe our children nothing less.

KEYWORDS: GEORGE MILLER, BPC OP-EDS, DONALD TRUMP, 115TH CONGRESS, RICK SANTORUM, EARLY CHILDHOOD INITIATIVE