Reverse trend of cuts to early education

To the editor:

As Massachusetts leaders get set to work on the budget, I'm hoping they can invest in early childhood education. We know that early education and preschool help children do better in school and in life, but since 2001 we've seen a 50 percent decrease in the state's commitment to early learning when factoring in inflation.

These cuts have led to long wait-lists for public early education programs and undermine quality. Nearly one in five early education providers have shut their doors over the last five years. Because underfunding puts so much pressure on early educators, staff turnover is at or above 30 percent.

Massachusetts has long been a leader on education, but when it comes to early education we're falling behind. It's time for our state leaders to invest in early education and make sure that every child gets the same strong start.

Nathan Proctor, Boston The writer is state director of Massachusetts Fair Share.