America’s Governors to Congress: Early Childhood Education Must Be a Priority

This week Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, both Vice Chairs of the National Governors Association, wrote a letter to leaders in Congress on behalf of the nation’s governors, urging them to strengthening the state-federal partnership on early childhood education.

“For governors, education and care for our youngest learners is equally important to our nation as health care, tax reform and investments in infrastructure. We urge Congress to build on the recent reauthorizations of the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Child Care Development Block Grant by elevating the federal government’s support for state progress on early childhood education, during the 115th Congress.”

This bold show of leadership builds on the ever-growing bipartisan support from governors across the country, who have made high-quality early childhood education a priority. During the 2015-16 school year, overall state funding for preschool rose 8 percent to $7.4 billion, a $564 million increase across states. State funding per child increased 5 percent to $4,976, exceeding pre-recession levels for the first time.

Yesterday, a subcommittee of the U.S. House Education & Workforce Committee held a hearing on the federal early childhood education and child care programs. The Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education hosted, “Opportunities for State Leadership of Early Childhood Programs,” and featured testimony from early childhood scholars and practitioners, as well as a representative from the Government Accountability Office. Republican and Democratic subcommittee members noted the importance of early learning.

That same day, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor and Health and Human services also demonstrated continued bipartisan support by releasing a draft funding bill for fiscal year 2018, which increased or maintained funding for federal early learning programs.

  • The draft appropriations bill provides spending increases or maintains funding for:
  • Child Care and Development Block Grants($4M increase to $2,860M)
  • Head Start ($22M increase to $9,275M)
  • Early Head-Start Child Care Partnerships (funding maintained at $640M)
  • Preschool Development Grants (funding maintained at $250M)

FFYF’s 2017 national poll shows 82% of American voters support expanding the federal partnership with states and communities through
grants that will allow them to improve access to quality preschool for children from low- and middle-income families. That includes 70% of Trump voters and 94% of Clinton voters.

We are grateful to the National Governors Association for their steadfast commitment to ensuring America’s children have access to high-quality early learning and care, and we join them in urging Congress to prioritize early childhood education in the FY2018 funding bill.

Read the letter from the National Governors Association here:

NGA Early Learning Letter to Congress