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Early Childhood Education Task Force presents findings to City Council

Post Date:06/23/2016 2:33 PM
  • Lead Early Childhood Education Task Force presents findings to City Council. See full report at mesaaz.gov.

The keys to our prosperity lay at the intersection of education and the economy. Attracting top businesses and quality jobs to Mesa requires a highly educated workforce and that education begins before our children reach kindergarten.

To explore ways to ensure Mesa’s children arrive at kindergarten ready and able to learn, Mayor John Giles announced the formation of an Early Childhood Education Task Force in November 2015.

Today, members of the Task Force presented their findings to City Council at Study Session.

After five months and nearly 500 hours of meetings, tours of existing programs and facilities, research, planning, reviewing and debating, the Task Force summarized Mesa’s current situation, identified opportunities and came up with a list of recommendations.

“I want to thank the members of the Task Force and Councilmember David Luna for leading this effort,” Mayor John Giles said. “It appears we have a lot of work to do and I look forward to helping our youngest residents become successful.”

Research found that 90 percent of a child’s brain development occurs before kindergarten and that 31,238 children under the age of five live in Mesa. Also, 36 percent of Mesa’s 4-5 year olds are enrolled in an early education program compared to 48 percent nationally.

Cost and availability of programs are areas that require attention. The capacity of Mesa’s existing early childhood education facilities is 14,886 and the annual median cost for these programs is $8,400 while 25 percent of children under the age of five live in poverty.

Addressing this issue as a community is of the utmost importance because no one agency or organization can meet this need alone.   

The recommendations include:

  • Leverage and expand existing assets
  • Create equal opportunity and access
  • Implement community awareness campaign
  • Support at home early childhood education

“The City of Mesa has the opportunity to take on a leadership role to help organize community resources and advance early education opportunities and kindergarten readiness for our children,” Councilmember David Luna said. “I am proud of the work we have done on the Task Force and I look forward to continuing the work to help us take the next steps.”

After the presentation City Council asked City Manager Chris Brady to begin developing an implementation plan and report back to City Council.

Download the full Early Childhood Education Task Force Report.

For more information, contact City of Mesa Chief of Staff, Ian Linssen at ian.linssen@mesaaz.gov or (480) 644-3002.

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Mayor’s Office
Contact: Melissa Randazzo
Tel. 480-644-2069
melissa.randazzo@mesaaz.gov

 

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