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President Obama Links Early Education to Reducing Poverty

President Obama addresses poverty and racism in America by podcast.

A couple of weeks ago, President Obama appeared on Marc Maron's WTF podcast, where he spoke candidly about race, poverty, inequality, and a host of other issues.

Recorded only days after the shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, the president spoke eloquently about how to break the cycle of racism and poverty in America. He stated:

"What are we doing to help those lowest-income communities? We know that, for example, early childhood education works. That is one way to break the legacy of racism and poverty. If a three-year-old, four-year-old kid is in an environment of love and is getting a good meal and has a teacher that's trained in early childhood development and is hearing enough words and is engaged enough, they can get to where a middle class is pretty quickly.

"The problem is that it happens spottily. It happens in this community, or this school district, or this neighborhood. Or this outstanding principal is making something happen, or this philanthropist decided to do something. But what hasn't happened is us making a collective commitment to do it.

"When you look with how to deal with racism ... I'm less interested in having an ideological conversation than I am looking at what has worked in the past and applying it and scaling up."

That is precisely what Common Sense Kids Action is trying to achieve. By providing a consistent and powerful voice for kids, we will continue to advocate for more early childhood education programs to give every child a fair start, regardless or race or socioeconomic background.

The president's mention of early learning programs as a path to solving greater societal ills is a powerful and important reminder that this work matters. By committing ourselves to an equal start for kids when it comes to learning and brain development, we can combat the institutional racism that still plagues our great nation and help combat the growing inequality that is a growing problem for our kids and our country.

You can listen to the full interview here. The president's comments about early childhood education begin at about 48:30. 

Jim Steyer

Jim is Common Sense Media's CEO and founder -- read all about him here.