A group of 120 business people have sent a letter to the top lawmakers who are negotiating next year’s federal budget, arguing that they should increase spending for early education for disadvantaged children from birth up to age 5.
The four who got the letter were Sens Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Reps. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.
The letter argues that it’s possible to close the deficit and increase spending on early education, and that the two are linked. It doesn’t suggest an amount.
But it argues that the U.S. has a lack of skilled workers, a shrinking middle class and diminishing buying power in the products and services that drive the economy. And it says the “skills deficit” starts early in the lives of children, widens in early childhood and is difficult and expensive to close later in school.