Three national polls conducted this summer (Gallup/Phi Delta Kappa, Education Next and Associated Press/NORC Center) show that a majority of Americans strongly support public investment in educational programs for young children.

Utah has made progress in early childhood education. However, many Utah children lack access to high-quality early learning experiences. Quality early learning programs are difficult to find and afford. Many kindergarteners begin school lagging behind peers who experienced high-quality early learning programs and environments.

On the federal level, there is a significant proposal to invest in children’s early development and learning from birth through preschool. A recently proposed state-federal investment partnership would invest $37.2 million to expand early learning in Utah.

Our representatives should vote to end flawed sequestration cuts and support this economically sound proposal to expand access to quality programs for young children. We can make smart investments now, or pay much more later because we missed an opportunity to come together for the sake of our children. Our current fiscal climate is difficult — but opinion polls and the work of noted economists show this should not be a difficult decision for policymakers. The commitment we make now will pay off for generations to come.

Jared Lisonbee

Salt Lake City