It seems rather fitting that the birthday of the late Fred McFeely Rogers (1928-2003) -- the renowned, award-winning creator and host of the creative children's television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood -- falls on the first day of Spring each year, March 20.
Have you ever carefully prepared a home-cooked meal (like roasted chicken with root vegetables and fresh herbs on top) only to have your kids refuse to take so much as a bite, insisting, instead, on eating those same nuked frozen chicken nuggets (again)?
Children without access to quality early education programs start kindergarten with an 18-month disadvantage, and that gap continues to widen. By the time they are in fourth grade, many cannot do math or read at grade level. And the simple reality is that they are unlikely to catch up.
When we served together in the Senate, we found ourselves on different sides of a variety of issues. But when it came to common-sense measures that benefitted our country and our citizens, we pulled together.
How our nation treats its children reflects our societal values. Children can't vote. They depend on us -- parents, grandparents, pediatricians, teachers, and other child health advocates and professionals, to do right by them.
Our country is engaged in a deep, delicate battle about how to slice up the federal budget. What may surprise some people is that early childhood education comes down to everything Americans are anxious about.