These days, it’s encouraging to see leaders at every political level championing early education. It’s great to see Congress filing pre-k bills that support children and complement President Obama’s historic preschool proposals. Increased federal support would help states offer more high-quality programs to more children.
The proposed Prepare All Kids Act, introduced by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), would create a Pre-kindergarten Incentive Fund to award grants to “qualified prekindergarten providers to establish, expand or enhance voluntary high-quality full-day prekindergarten programs.”
The Ready to Learn Act, filed by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), another proposed bill in the Senate, would award grants to states to fund “high-quality full day voluntary prekindergarten programs for children age four” in order to “promote school readiness for such children.”
Providing Resources Early for Kids Act of 2013 (its acronym is the PRE-K Act) has been introduced in both the House, by Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), and the Senate, by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and would give quality improvement grants to state-funded programs that use research-based curricula and meet other criteria.
Unfortunately, these bills face a long, tough road to get to the president’s desk, so they’ll need strong bipartisan support.
“The plans agree on several points, such as requiring comprehensive early learning standards,” according to a blog post from the National Institute for Early Education Research. Bloggers at the New America Foundation offer their take here, noting that “Other early childhood education bills in the hopper include the reintroduction of Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton’s (D-DC) Universal Prekindergarten and Early Childhood Education Act of 2013.”
Support for early education is growing in Congress, among governors, and in communities that want the best for children. We hope this culminates in a groundswell of federal action, and additional resources to increase children’s access to high-quality early education.