Early education funding cuts would be devastating

March 02, 2011

In the past two days, readers of The Sun saw diametrically opposed views on education spending that show that, as a society, we still do not agree about the value of early education programs. Bebe Verdery of the ACLU decries cost cutting adjustments to the Thornton formula which, among other things, has funded the State's successful expansion of pre-K ("Proposed education cuts break a promise to Maryland's children," Feb. 27). David G. O'Neill writes that Head Start is a waste of money (Readers respond, Feb. 28).

However, there is no disputing the facts. Maryland's education system has been ranked No. 1 in the nation for three consecutive years. And our state's efforts to provide high quality early care and education for children from birth to age five are a key component in that ranking.

Now, many of the early care and education programs that contributed to the top ranking are slated for budget cuts as the state struggles to balance its budget. We trust, however, that knowing that a strong foundation is essential to school success, the governor and General Assembly will restore the funds to early childhood education programs as soon as the budget can possibly support it. Families and children will be waiting.

Margaret Williams, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Family Network.

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