Action Alert: Budget Blueprint? Call Congress!
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Children's Champions Update - March 16, 2017
NAEYC's Response to the President's Budget Blueprint
On February 28, in front of a Joint Session of Congress and the American people, President Trump announced that his Administration wanted "to work with members of both parties to make child care accessible and affordable." Just over two weeks later, on March 16, the President has released a budget blueprint that, with its proposed deep cuts to non-defense discretionary programs, undermines this very goal, as well as the goal of an American future that is both competitive and creative, with opportunities to help all children and families succeed.
The President's budget is a request to Congress, and there will be more details in a full budget that will be released in May, but if this blueprint were to be enacted according to the budget narrative, it would result in an 18% cut to the Department of Health and Human Services and a 13% cut to the Department of Education. It would mean cuts to programs in areas like housing, after-school, nutrition, teacher professional development, student aid, health care, work-study programs, literacy and more - all programs that support our current and future workforce, and the health and well-being of the families, schools, and communities in which our children are cared for and educated.
While early care and education is identified as a high priority for the Department of Health and Human Services, the overall 18% decrease in the agency's budget would make it challenging to provide support for the already underfunded child care system, one in which the vast majority of children (84%) do not receive the support for which they are eligible. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is looking to Congress to respond to the President's proposed budget by building on the bipartisan commitment to early childhood education - not by slashing discretionary spending, but by investing wisely in supports for children, families, and educators. This includes helping low- and moderate-income families choose and afford quality child care by protecting and increasing funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which was reauthorized by Congress in 2014 with strong bipartisan support.
A substantially increased investment in CCDBG is needed to implement the new provisions of the law while maintaining the number of children and families who are able to learn and work with its support. This investment would also help build a stronger early childhood education profession by supporting increases in payment rates for early childhood educators. This is important because skilled, supported, and knowledgeable early childhood educators provide high-quality early childhood programs - and an average wage of $10.40/hour undermines that quality and diminishes the benefits to children, families, and our economy.
NAEYC believes that there are smart tax, budget and education reforms that can support our goal of increasing access to high-quality early learning for all children birth through age 8. But wholesale domestic funding cuts fail to take into account the fact that America can only win when we invest in our future - which means investing in our children, families, and educators, and the communities in which they live. In the coming months, the President and Congress must make changes to the budget by rejecting and reversing cuts, investing in child care and early learning, and building a future that is stronger and brighter for all.
Call your elected officials in Congress (find them here).
Tell them how important it is for them to reject the wholesale domestic funding cuts to programs that support our current and future workforce, and the health and well-being of the families, schools, and communities in which our children are cared for and educated.
Tell them we need them to build on the bipartisan commitment to early childhood education and protect and increase investments in child care, Head Start and early learning.
- WHEN CALLING MEMBERS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, urge them to support families and children needing child care by signing on to the Dear Colleague letter from Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), and Marcia Fudge (D-OH), which supports an increased investment in CCDBG as well as support for Part B of IDEA.