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Early Childhood Summit encourages Columbia businesses to help fund education

Thursday, May 28, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., speaks at the Early Childhood Summit, held Tuesday in Memorial Union on the MU campus. In addressing early education issues, Bond drew on his support and development of the Parents as Teachers program, which he considers to be his "greatest accomplishment in ... eight years as governor."

COLUMBIA — An education summit Wednesday morning encouraged businesses to get involved in early childhood education.

The city of Columbia and Boone County co-sponsored the second Early Childhood Summit to talk about increasing funding for early childhood education.

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Tyler Nottberg, chief executive officer of U.S. Engineering of Kansas City, spoke about why businesses should contribute to funding early childhood education. An educated workforce is fundamental to his company’s success and business leaders need to “get with the program” when it comes to early childhood education, he said.  

“From my opinion, the evidence is clear: Business leaders who are engaged in early childhood education are able to move the dial,” Nottberg said.

Ken Pearson, Boone County Presiding Commissioner, and Mayor Darwin Hindman were present at the summit to lend support to the issue. 

Pearson said he hopes Boone County businesses will become more involved.  

Early childhood education is important for the whole community, he said, and businesses can focus on achieving specific goals, which is how they can lend to the process.

Hindman said he thinks it is important for businesspeople to realize the importance of early childhood education.  

The business community has already committed itself to education through Partners in Education, Hindman said, but that program is for kids already in school. Hindman said there needs to be some way to help younger children.

Part of the challenge is breaking up the problem, because "it’s such an enormous issue,” Hindman said. The business community cannot attack the whole problem, but it can attack parts of it. 

Jerry Wade, Fourth Ward Councilman, also attended the summit. He said early childhood education should be an important part of what the community offers and he wanted to be knowledgeable about the issue. 


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