Susan A. Buffett and Partners
Omaha is a mid-sized city with big-city challenges. This new investment will serve children and families living in two neighborhoods that are home to three of Nebraska’s four designated “high poverty zip codes”—and the two zip codes in the state with the highest percentages of young children in poverty. Inspired, in part, by compelling longitudinal data that shows Educare students outperforming their peers in third and fifth grade, Omaha Public Schools (OPS) has embarked on an ambitious preschool expansion that will eventually bring universal preschool services to all three- and four-year-old children in the district. The OPS preschool classes will be six-hour days. Buffett Early Childhood Fund and other private funders are eager to work in public-private partnership with the schools and other public funders to help reach the neediest children and families even earlier in their lives, and to provide full-day, high-quality care for those families who need it. The achievement gap is measureable as early as a baby’s 18-month birthday and even before. Educare research shows vulnerable children and families who receive high-quality care and education from their earliest weeks, months and years do better in school. As the Omaha Public Schools expand preschool education, Buffett Early Childhood Fund and other private funders commit to investing $15 million to expand high-quality early childhood services for an additional 192 infants, toddlers and their families.