The Key to Our Futures:
Expanding Access to High-Quality Preschool in Asheville and Buncombe County
A Report and Recommendations from the Asheville-Buncombe Preschool Planning Collaborative
Want something more bite-size? Check out our two page summary of the report
Expanding access to high-quality preschool is an imperative for Asheville and for Buncombe County for many reasons. The benefits of ensuring a high-quality preschool experience accrue not only to individual children, but to their fami- lies, communities and the economy in our area.
For children, high-quality preschool helps them become more successful in their education and through- out adulthood by providing critical early building blocks that help children thrive in school and close the achievement gap. Children who experience a high-quality early childhood education are more likely to achieve literacy and other development goals in school, graduate from high school, attain a college degree, get a high-paying job, and avoid conflicts with the justice system. High-quality preschool also helps children with developmental delays avoid the need for special education.
For families, high-quality preschool programs can provide peace-of-mind for working adults, help identify and address early developmental issues, and enhance parenting skills. In fact, the availability of preschool is often essential for parents who need or want to work.
For communities, high-quality preschool programs help save money over the long term, because they reduce high school dropout rates, special/remedial education costs, discipline issues, medical costs, as well as costs for law enforcement, courts, and incarceration. Nobel Prize winning economist James Heckman estimates that for every $1 spent on high-quality preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, communities save $7 in long-term costs for things like remediation, social supports, or criminal justice.
For local economies, high-quality preschool programs help produce a better educated, more stable work- force and safe, vibrant communities that can attract top talent and consumers. Economists at the Federal Reserve found that compared to other kinds of state investment that are considered as “economic develop- ment,” investment in early education yields a far greater return.