85% is the amount of a child’s brain that is developed by age 5. 300 million is the number of fewer words that children from low-income families have been exposed to by age three, compared to their more affluent peers. Billions is the amount of money that it costs the nation in remedial and special education, unemployment, and in too many cases, criminal justice-related interventions because of what the first two numbers represent—an achievement gap that is a result of a lack of high-quality early learning.
Governments have invested in early learning for decades hoping to bridge the gap for these at-risk kids and to make sure they start school on track. These investments have produced mixed results because not all early learning programs are created equal. Some work well, some partially work, and others don’t work at all. Yet government agencies continue to pay up front, based on their best predictions, regardless of a program's actual results. But is that changing?
Pay for Success is an innovative approach to driving government funding toward high-quality, effective programs that measurably improve lives and communities. Members of the America Forward team, Coalition organization Institute for Child Success, and Network organizations United Way of Salt Lake and Center for American Progress have posed a provocative question to the attendees of SXSWedu: Pay for Success: Next Big Bet in Early Learning?
Pay for Success has the potential to bridge the divide between the “business as usual” system —where we continue to provide the same services, in the same way, to address the same problems but with little to no accountability for achieving the desired results – to the future we want, where we measurably decrease the need for special education for low-income children, increase employment opportunities for those seeking second chances, and provide the opportunity for families to stay together and thrive without the need for government intervention or support. However, there is much discussion about how it could work, whether it is appropriate for the early learning space, and whether Pay for Success really has the potential to change ‘business as usual’?
This is where you come in. We need your votes in order to have the opportunity to explore if Pay for Success is the next big bet in Early Learning at the SXSWedu conference. SXSWedu brings together diverse and energetic stakeholders from a variety of education backgrounds to engage in innovative dialogue to promote creativity and social change. Our session proposal is being considered for inclusion in the event program and we are asking that you vote for our proposal—Pay for Success: Next Big Bet in Early Learning? Voting begins today and runs through September 4th. VOTE HERE.
Thanks for your support!