CEO Spotlight: David Merage

As a businessman and philanthropist, I believe, without question, that the return on our investment in early care and education will leave a lasting footprint for generations to come. As members of EPIC’s CEO Roundtable, we make the case to business leaders that quality early childhood investments are not only the right thing to do, but that these investments make economic sense as well. 

A child's earliest experiences are responsible for wiring the brain for future use, thereby building its basic architecture. The seeds of academic success are planted well before a child enters kindergarten. In fact, a child's brain reaches 80% of its adult size by age three and 90% by age five. Providing our children with high-quality early learning experiences is critical to their success in school, in business, and in life. Children who do not receive structured developmental supports from parents or early care and education providers are less likely to graduate from high school and more likely to receive welfare benefits and commit crimes. 

As a society, now more than ever before, we need to invest in high-quality programs for our children. Parents are working longer hours just to make ends meet in a struggling economy, which results in increased numbers of our young children in the care of others. The reality of the situation is this: Most of the early care and education programs are neither licensed nor quality-rated, which results in unstable environments that change from one day to the next. 

Early care and education has to be a top priority. We need to heed the evidence and expand, not curtail, public investments in early care and education programs in Colorado and, by so doing, expand our investment in our children’s success. Budget constraints must not be allowed to limit the future of our children and, ultimately, the future of our country. Our children deserve more; simply put, they deserve the best.