In his State of the Union address, President Obama vowed to “make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America,” and he traveled to Georgia today to discuss the need for early childhood education. Improving education is a priority at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) that we support through proven national service efforts that make a difference in the lives of millions of students.
Like the President, we know that the foundation for future success is laid early in life, and children can quickly fall behind if they are not prepared when they begin formal schooling. The consequences of ignoring early preparation linger throughout life, resulting in behavioral issues and reduced earning potential.
CNCS programs through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the Social Innovation Fund are working across the country to help at-risk children avoid this fate. Our programs reach more than 3 million disadvantaged youths, keeping them engaged in education and improving academic achievement.
The importance of early education cannot be overstated. Studies have shown that students not reading at grade level by the time they reach the third grade will have difficulty keeping pace with their classmates. Many of our AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs are working to keep children on the path that leads to educational success.
Early childhood literacy is the focus of several grantees of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), which supports nonprofits creating innovative, evidence-based programs with strong track records of performance. The SIF requires that each federal dollar granted be matched dollar-for-dollar by the grantmakers and again by the nonprofit organizations they select for grants, leveraging the federal investment multiple times for greater impact.
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