Did you know that in Montana:
- More than 222,000 children (under the age of 18) live in the state;
- Almost 3 out of every 10 children live in a household with only one parent;
- Over 4,090 children participate in the federally-funded Head Start program, including almost 2,200 Native American children;
- 54 percent of eighth graders are below grade level in math;
- 64 percent of fourth graders are reading below grade level; and
- 18 percent of high school students do not graduate on time with a high school diploma.
Our 2013 Policy Priorities
In 2013, America’s Edge members will be urging their Congressional delegation to do the following:
Federal Policy Priorities:
- Protect Access to High Quality Early Care and Education and Increase Quality of Programs by:
a) Fighting against cuts, and where possible seek increases, for Head Start, Early Head Start and both the discretionary and mandatory funding streams of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG); and
b) Seeking to, at minimum, maintain the current investment in the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge program to enable States to build up the necessary infrastructure to increase access to high-quality early care and learning programs, especially for the most at-risk children.
Business Leaders Meet with Congressional Delegation to Support Early Ed Programs in Montana
On June 14,2011, two Montana business leaders met with the state’s Congressional delegation to stress the importance of high-quality early care and education to the future of Montana’s business community.
Ken Holmlund, who owns Holmlund Mobile Lock and Key in Miles City, and Ron Schafer, managing member of the Schafer and Company accounting firm in Bozeman, met with Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester and Rep. Denny Rehberg to urge continued federal support for early care and education programs which could face severe cuts in next year’s federal budget. Holmlund has owned his firm for 28 years, and Schafer has run his firm for 14 years.
In separate meetings with the federal legislators, Holmlund and Schafer noted that investments in early care and education provide strong economic benefits to businesses in the state, both in the short-term and over the long-term. They cited the new America’s Edge report, which found that quality early care and education programs in Montana generated $1.61 in total spending for every dollar invested – more than investments in other sectors, such as transportation, construction, and farming, forestry, fishing and hunting.
- The Miles City Star published an article regarding the meetings with the congressional delegation. Click here to read it.
AMERICA’S EDGE Members Discuss Early Learning with Rep. Denny Rehberg and Sen. Jon Tester
On June 7, 2012, America’s Edge members, Steven Reynolds and Leslie Womack met with Congressman Denny Rehberg and Senator Jon Tester to discuss the short- and long-term economic benefits of investments in early care and education.
America’s Edge Releases New Report in Montana
On September 11, 2012, a briefing entitled “Ready to Compete” was released in Butte by members Leslie Womack, President of Montana Educators’ Credit Union and Shane Ford, Owner and President of ReBath Montana. They discussed how investments in early care and education programs benefit Montana businesses’ bottom lines immediately and help lay the foundation for a highly-skilled workforce.
America’s Edge Members Meet with Senator Max Baucus
On October 23, 2012, two Montana members – Sharon Palmer of Lambros Real Estate and Glen Wheeler of Liberty Mutual – met with Senator Max Baucus at Kalispell at an early learning center to re-release a report showing the economic benefits of investments in quality early learning programs.
Letters to the Editor and Op Eds published by America’s Edge Members
- December 19, 2012. Morrison, Robert. Guest Commentary. Big Sky Business Journal.
- May 24, 2012. Shane Ford, Shane. “Early learning key to economic future.” Montana Standard.
- April 2, 2012. Womack, Leslie. “Investing in education good for economy.” Missoulian.
- December 25, 2011. Mangis, Edward. “Cheers for Head Start”. Independent Record.
- November 24, 2011. Ford, Shane. “Key to long-term economic success is start learning early.” Montana Standard.
- July 18, 2011. Womack, Leslie. “Debt crisis: Cuts shouldn’t be across the board.” Missoulian.
- June 2, 2011. Morrison, Michael. “Early learning programs give edge to kids, economy.” Great Falls Tribune.
- “Think small to build economy.” Missoulian.
- October 3, 2010. Pedersen, Eva. “Investments in kids pay off.” Missoulian.
*For more information, please contact the Montana State Director, Dave Curry.