(Caution: 1998 Prop. 105 applies)
A. The people of Arizona find that:
1. Early learning experiences directly impact a child’s long-term educational success. Research shows that that the majority of a child’s brain structure is formed before age three and that the years between birth and kindergarten are when children develop many of their language skills, thought processes, self-confidence, discipline and values.
2. Health, vision and dental screenings that detect children’s health problems early enable them to receive the care they need to grow and thrive.
3. Children entering school who have had high-quality early childhood developmental experiences, inside the home or in other settings of their parents’ choice, are better able to succeed academically and have greater opportunities.
4. All Arizonans benefit from providing early childhood development opportunities for our children. For children, such efforts give them a healthy start and an opportunity to succeed. For parents, the availability and affordability of quality early childhood development programs helps them retain jobs and earn higher incomes. For taxpayers, early development programs save tax dollars by lowering drop-out rates, reducing crime and cutting the cost of social services.
5. All Arizona children should begin school with the skills they need for long-term educational and personal success.
6. For these reasons, the people of Arizona find that providing dedicated funding to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of early childhood development opportunities in the setting of the parents’ choice should be one of the state’s top priorities.
B. The people of Arizona therefore declare our intent to provide the necessary coordination and funding for early childhood development and health programs in Arizona that will:
1. Work with parents, community leaders, local governments, public and private entities and faith-based groups to improve the quality of and increase access to early childhood development programs in communities throughout the state.
2. Increase access to preventive health programs and health screenings.
3. Offer parents and families support and education about early child development and literacy.
4. Recognize the diversity of Arizona communities and give them a voice in identifying programs to address their particular needs.
5. Provide training and support to early childhood development providers.
6. Be subject to accountability and audit requirements, including requirements that the success of the board and regional partnerships, as well as the programs they undertake and fund, be measured by outcomes for children and families.