We support increased access to quality early childhood education in Maine and we urge a “yes” vote on Question 4 on the November ballot.

Here is why.

From law enforcement to the Maine Children’s Alliance, from business leaders to the state’s Community Action Programs, we all agree: if we want our children to reach their full potential, we have to take early childhood education more seriously here in Maine.

As this year’s election season ramps up, the state’s future leaders have been discussing how they would approach Maine’s most pressing issues — like how to create more jobs and a better economy, how to assist those impacted by the opioid crisis, and how to keep children and young families in Maine — which has the oldest population in the country.

We want voters in Maine to know that we have a solution that will help address these problems across the board:

We have to invest more resources into helping Maine’s young children succeed. The return on this investment will be substantial.


Children who have access to quality early education are more likely to graduate high school, more likely to be economically successful and are less likely to commit crimes. It is that simple.

That is why we recommend a “yes” vote on Question 4 on Maine’s November ballot.

Passage of the question will approve a bond that would fund a number of critical education priorities through private and public resources.

Maine has a serious shortage of early childhood educators, and the education bond that Question 4 will approve is specifically targeted to address that need by including an innovative early childhood education program at the University of Maine Farmington’s Sweatt-Winter Childcare and Education Center.

The Sweatt-Winter center has provided a full-time childcare and education program for children in Franklin County and the surrounding areas for more than 30 years.

In addition to providing families with childcare, Sweatt-Winter also serves as a research site for investigating new approaches to early childhood education.


The program will both train our future early childhood education work force and expand child care opportunities for parents in western Maine, which sorely needs that help.

It is also important to remember that Maine has the oldest population in the country, and as current workers retire, the state faces serious and growing work force problems.

Voting “yes” on Question 4 will help the state address the work force problem in two ways — it will train more educators and get them in classrooms right away, and it will allow a new generation of children to access quality early childhood education — which has been proven to help kids grow into strong employees.

There’s another important reason that Maine should expand the program. It is a high-quality program that has received the country’s top accreditation.

The early care and education center is nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Only 10 percent of all centers nationally are NAEYC accredited, which is considered the “gold standard” for early care accreditation.

The program is clearly doing its job well and addresses a serious need in our state, so we should expand it.

Efforts to expand early childhood education have the strong support of the voters of Maine. In fact, polling by respected firm Critical Insights Inc. shows that three-fourths of Maine voters believe that helping parents with child care and preschool is a good idea.

Mainers have a clear opportunity to do just that by passing Question 4 at the ballot box in November. We can immediately start solving some of this state’s most serious problems immediately — and we can do it by helping our kids have a brighter future.

Kim Gore is the state director of the Council for a Strong America where she is involved with Fight Crime: Invest in Kids; ReadyNation; and Mission: Readiness. Rick McCarthy is a senior adviser for Maine Community Action Association. Rita Furlow is senior policy analyst for the Maine Children’s Alliance. Tara Williams is the executive director of the Maine Association for the Education of Young Children.

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