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Florida Leaders are Talking about the Alachua County Education Compact

Florida Leaders are Talking about the Alachua County Education Compact

education compact signing feature“I suspect that in coming months, we will hear from other regions around the state and the country asking how we did it.”

These foretelling words were spoken by Chamber Board Member Rick Staab, who also serves as President/CEO of InterMed Biomedical Services Inc., at the May 18 Alachua County Education Compact signing ceremony.

True to Staab’s prediction, Florida leaders are already taking notice of the landmark commitment to transforming education, job and career opportunities for all Alachua County students demonstrated by local leaders in education, business and government as signers of the Compact. While attending the Florida Chamber’s annual Education Solutions Summit in Tampa, several state education community members —who collectively exert ongoing efforts to increase opportunities for Florida students—referenced the ACEC and asked Chamber VP of Workforce Development Ian Fletcher about the creation of the Compact and the initiative’s next steps. By October, those next steps will include the seating of a Stewardship Committee to oversee Compact development and measurement, and creation of working groups to execute ACEC strategies.

Early Childhood Education is Critical to Economic and Community Growth

Early childhood learning is a key issue at the state level and a primary focus of both the Compact and the community.

“Early education is extremely important in setting the foundation for a child’s view toward the rest of their education,” Staab said. “Research shows children who are invested in their education are less likely to end up in the juvenile or criminal justice systems, and are more likely to earn higher salaries when entering the workforce. Investing in early education is an investment in that child’s future as well as the community’s education.”

Research shows there are significant benefits to investing in early for children, families and society as a whole. According to Robert G. Lynch’s Enriching Children, Enriching the Nation: Public Investment in High-Quality Prekindergarten, “High-quality prekindergarten benefits government budgets by saving government spending on K-12 education, child welfare, and the criminal justice system, and by increasing tax revenues. Thus, investment in high-quality prekindergarten has significant implications for future government budgets, both at the national and the state and local levels, for the economy and for crime.” Click here to read the full report.

“Return on investment of early education – by a variety of studies – is as low as seven-to-one, but as high as 16-to-one depending on what factors are taken into account,” says Executive Director Bruce Watson Jr. of the Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County. “A lot of that return on investment is what the community reaps back, as not so much the individual, in terms of reduced incarceration rates, lower crime rates [and] less of an impact on social services.”

“The Importance of Early Education in Children” is posted by the Florida Chamber Foundation. The Florida Chamber Foundation is the business-led, solutions development and research organization, working in partnership with state business leaders to secure Florida’s future.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Board Member Bentina Chisolm Terry, VP, Customer Service and Sales, Gulf Power, Pensacola FL: “The reason why we are here today is because its very important for the business community to understand the link between early learning and […] our most important asset – our employees.”

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