NAEYC Children’s Champions Alert
January 14, 2014
A Big Funding Win for Early Childhood – But We Need to Get it Passed by January 18!
The re-opening of the government included a budget deal that reduced the impact of sequestration and required the Congress to pass appropriations bills for fiscal year 2014 by January 15. (There is a short extension of time until January 18.)
Last night, the appropriations committees published the omnibus (appropriations for multiple government agencies) bill and early childhood is a big winner – roughly $1.5 billion increase post-sequestration levels! We thank all of you for working so hard to fight the sequestration and to make early childhood a national funding priority, even in tight fiscal situation where the overall spending on Labor/Health and Human Services/Education programs remains below fiscal year 2013 levels. NAEYC thanks the House and Senate Appropriations Committee members for a bipartisan bill that invests in early childhood education access and quality.
But it still has to pass the House and Senate – contact your members of Congress here and tell them vote YES on the omnibus appropriations bill. Your calls are important to make sure that all members of Congress support the passage of the bill.
Highlights (all numbers are post-sequestration levels):
The bill also directs the U.S. Department of Education’s facilities clearinghouse “to collect, disseminate information on effective educational practices and the latest research regarding the planning, design, financing, construction, improvement, operation, and maintenance of safe, healthy, high-performance public facilities for early learning programs, kindergarten through grade 12, and higher education.”
What are the preschool development grants?
These grants are part of the Strong Start proposal. The appropriations include $250 million for grants to States for preschool development grants. The departments have until December 14, 2014 to award the grants to states. Here is a description:
Whoever is local grantee – school districts or community providers – must form strong partnerships with the other.
In the report that accompanies the bill, Congress adds that funds should be used to help early childhood educators attain higher credentials and degrees and that States receiving the grant shall ensure that the use of child assessments conform with the recommendations of the National Research Council’s reports on early childhood. Congress also directs the Secretary to award two types of grants to States: one type is low-capacity States (with small or no state funding for preschool) and another to high-capacity states that have larger state funding for preschool.
Infant and toddler care, especially for low-income families, is hard to find and often of very poor quality. In an effort to improve quality and expand access, the Strong Start proposal also includes additional funds for Early Head Start-child care partnerships. These grants would partner new or existing Early Head Start with local center and family-based child care providers serving subsidized infants and toddlers, to provide training and technical assistance as well as funding to help child care programs meet the Early Head Start standards.