Right now, child care costs more than in-state college tuition in Tennessee, and quality early childhood education is unattainable for too many Tennessee families.
The Promising Futures Act – a newly proposed scholarship program for low- to middle-income children ages birth through 5 to attend high-quality early care and learning programs – can help.
Fill out the form TODAY to tell your Tennessee lawmakers: Pass the Promising Futures Act!
On average, Tennessee families pay over $9,000 for child care each year, more than the cost of in-state college tuition. A quality early childhood education improves outcomes for children and allows parents to focus on work, yet it remains out of reach for many Tennessee families due to the high cost. In fact, the cost of center-based care for an infant and toddler is 81 percent higher than the average annual rent across all housing types in Tennessee.
Child care is crucial to our state's economy. A recent study found that over 80 percent of working parents in Tennessee cite inadequate child care as the reason they quit, were fired, or turned down a job offer. This costs Tennessee workers $1.65 billion annually in lost earnings and revenue and costs employers $497 million from lower productivity, reduced revenue, and increased hiring and retention costs.
That is why I urge you to support the Promising Futures Act (SB750/HB785). Promising Futures takes inspiration from the successful Tennessee Promise scholarship program for higher education by providing a last dollar scholarship for low- to middle-income families to access high quality early learning programs for their young children. Research shows that 90% of children's brain development happens before they begin kindergarten, so it only makes sense that we invest in children's first five years to make sure that they're filled with enriching experiences. Not only will this be an investment in the future workforce, but supports today's workforce by allowing parents to be productive in their jobs and more effectively provide for their families.
I urge you to support the Promising Futures Act to give Tennessee's children the best chance to thrive in school and in life.