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Political Strategists Urge Lawmakers to 'Seize Opportunity' on Early Education

The GOP and Democratic leaders can find common ground in supporting early childhood education, according to a post-election memo drafted by Jim Messina, a former White House deputy chief of staff and the manager of Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign, and  Kevin Madden, a former senior advisor to Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign. 

The political strategists have been working on behalf of the First Five Years Fund, which has been widely circulating voter polls that suggest early-childhood education is universally appealing. From the memo: 

With a commanding, near-historic governing majority in Congress and a presidential primary process on the horizon, Republicans need a fully developed agenda and argument about what they stand for on the major issues voters have identified as priorities, such as the economy, health care, energy, and education. Likewise, Democrats need to forge a way to work across party lines, and across branches of government. In short, the political future of both parties is highly interconnected, and highly dependent upon joint success.

Early childhood education presents Republicans with an opportunity to rebuild the party's image and take steps toward reclaiming the traditional Republican brand of being a party of both new ideas and reform. Similarly, it gives Democrats a tangible, nonpartisan policy issue on which to make an impact and lay the groundwork for political candidates not only on the national stage, but in states and districts across the country.

Early education hasn't yet popped up on the policy agenda of GOP lawmakers, according to an analysis from Education Week's Lauren Camera. "School choice measures, funding issues, and generally scaling back the federal footprint on K-12" are getting the most attention right now, she wrote. 

However, at the state level, early education has been embraced by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. 


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