Early Learning rally-goers push for action

Posted at 5:42 PM, Feb 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-10 19:47:57-05

Idaho is now one of only five states that does not fund any early learning.

On Wednesday, pre-kindergarten advocates rally for change saying not investing in the state's youngest citizens is a huge mistake.

Pre-school opportunities are out there but not all families can afford it, according to Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children Executive Director Beth Oppenheimer. She says half of Idaho's kids entering kindergarten are playing "catch up."

Advocates for a state-funded pre-school program say the brain develops 90 percent by the time a child reaches 5-years-old.

The early learning rally was held to raise awareness and to let lawmakers know how they feel.

Lieutenant Governor of Idaho Brad Little was one of the speakers. He is currently working with lawmakers  on legislation to support the state board of education's goal of having 60 percent of Idahoans, ages 25-34,  to go on to college or purse some sort of certification by 2020.

"If they don't have the skills that first day of school, and more importantly if they don't value education, then that task of getting to that 60 percent goal is significantly hampered," Little says.

The rally was part of "Early Learning Legislative Day" at the statehouse. Inside, children demonstrated for house education committee members how they learn through play.

If you missed the rally and still want your voice to be heard, pick up the phone or send an e-mail to your representative.