Harkin, Senate Democrats Introduce Legislation to Expand Access to High-Quality Early Learning Programs

Here is the news release. A snippet:

The early childhood education proposal is a 10-year initiative to expand and improve early learning opportunities for children across the birth to age 5 continuum. The bill would fund preschool for 4-year old children from families earning below 200% of the federal poverty level, and encourage states to spend their own funds to support preschool for young children with family incomes above that income level. The legislation would establish a new federal-state partnership with formula funding for 4-year old preschool, with a state match, to all eligible states, based on each state’s proportion of 4-year olds under 200% of the federal poverty level. States would provide sub-grants to high-quality, local providers, including school districts and community-based providers, such as child care and Head Start programs. The bill also authorizes a new Early Head Start partnership with child care to improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers.

Kline Statement on Universal Pre-K Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) issued the following statement on newly introduced House and Senate proposals to create a universal Pre-K program:

We can all agree on the importance of ensuring children have the foundation necessary to succeed in school and in life. However, before investing in new federal early childhood initiatives, we should first examine opportunities to improve existing programs designed to help our nation’s most vulnerable children, such as Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant.

Recognizing an opportunity to come together and strengthen these and other initiatives, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Committee will convene a hearing in the coming weeks to discuss the challenges facing early childhood care and education in America. I look forward to a productive discussion with my colleagues on ways to help get the youngest Americans on the path to a brighter future.

BACKGROUND: According to a 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the federal government dedicates at least $13.3 billion each year to operate 45 programs that provide or support early childhood care and education. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce has jurisdiction over seven of these programs, which received $11.4 billion in federal funding in fiscal year 2012. The programs include:

  • Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) – $2.28 billion
  • Head Start/Early Head Start – $7.97 billion
  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – Title I – $290 million*
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – Preschool Grants – $373 million
  • IDEA Infants and Families Grants – $443 million
  • Education for Homeless Children and Youth – $65 million**
  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School – $16 million

Additionally, 40 states have developed and/or implemented their own early childhood systems.

Education Cuts Hang in Balance as Budget Haggling Begins

Here is the discussion from ED Week.  An excerpt:

Education advocates are keeping close tabs on a congressional conference committee charged with coming up with a budget solution in hopes that lawmakers may stop a series of blunt, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration. The cuts, which have already eliminated thousands of Head Start slots and caused some schools near Native American reservations and military bases to lay off staff, are slated to stay in place for a decade unless Congress acts to halt or change them.

It’s unclear if this new panel, formed last month through legislation that reopened the federal government after a 16-day shutdown and suspended the debt ceiling after the nation nearly defaulted, will be able to make headway. Congress has tried—and failed—to get rid of sequestration since the cuts were put in place in August of 2011, as part of yet another debt-ceiling deal.

Wisconsin tribe works to teach Ojibwe language to next generation

Here is an article on an ANA grant for language preservation.

Young children in the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa tribe will soon have more opportunities to learn their native Ojibwe tongue from tribal elders as part of a language preservation grant from HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF).


The grant allows the Red Cliff Early Childhood Center Head Start Program to hire a language instructor and assistant to work with children in their three Head Start classrooms. In addition, they will work with the Bayfield School District as they plan an Ojibwe Language Immersion Charter School for fall 2015.