Kansas Action for Children set a bold agenda for the future of Kansas, one that elevated children and families, while ensuring a sound funding structure to support them for years to come. We focused on highlighting opportunities to remove barriers created by systemic racism facing communities of color. We reached out to audiences across the state, built unlikely champions, and positioned ourselves to create transformational change—and as a result, the state took its first big steps down the road to recovery. While the path is long and the challenges daunting, Gov. Laura Kelly and legislators made concrete progress for Kansas children and families.
Nebraska’s Unicameral adjourned six days early this year when senators could not reach consensus on a comprehensive property tax relief package or a business tax incentive program. Despite the contentious atmosphere at times, the session concluded with some notable successes for early childhood.
Working with our supporters and partners in Texas and across the country, Texans Care for Children has had several great victories this year that will help more children and their families be healthy and thrive. But we are celebrating one of the biggest victories for Texas kids in recent memory: Governor Greg Abbott recently signed HB 3, the school finance bill that funds full-day pre-k for currently eligible four-year-olds.
For the first time in a decade, more Louisiana working families will have crucial support in sending their children to a quality early care and education program thanks to a governor and legislative-supported budget that includes an $18.8 million increase for early ed programing and seats—and this was accomplished even though the state budget bill started the legislative process with $0 new dollars for early learning for children birth through age four.
The January 2019 session of the Georgia General Assembly welcomed a newly elected Governor and many new members of the legislature, and we were determined to ensure that our policy makers kept the needs of Georgia’s infants and toddlers at top of mind. Thus, on the second day of the 2019 session of the Georgia General Assembly, GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students and the Metro Atlanta Chamber worked with two early education champions, Representatives Katie Dempsey and Robert Dickey, to host our first Georgia Early Learning Legislative Academy.
The Alliance for Early Success believes that protecting or making progress in early childhood investments depends largely on state leadership. Governors have a lot of discretion over how to allocate, maximize or misuse resources. And their policies will either support or harm young children; and either help or prevent their families from becoming independent, successful and secure.
Like its predecessor, the new Preschool Development Grants seek to support early childhood education, but the similarities don’t extend much beyond this general commonality. The first Preschool Development Grants were issued by the U.S. Department of Education in 2015 and 2016 to help states expand high-quality pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds from low-income famliies.
NCSL’s Early Care and Education staff traveled to Olympia, Wash. to support an Early Learning Forum during new member orientations in January.
The forum, which was supported through a grant from the Alliance for Early Success, was organized for the 49 members of the Senate, six of whom are newly elected, and the 98 members of the House, with 23 newly elected representatives. More than 40 participants, including advocates and experts, attended.
The midterm elections of 2018 is ushering in a group of new state superintendents who will put their stamp on states’ education systems and reforms. Though most of them probably will not have much early education background, many of them will also lead state pre-k programs and in some cases, even child care systems and other early childhood programs. Based on strong public and policymakers’ support of ECE, we're optimistic that many of the new superintendents will understand its importance and draft strategic plans that include it as a priority or a key component. But how will that translate into their agencies’ structure and operations? Albert Wat, Senior Policy Director, discusses.
Your state has goals for performance in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. Do you know what they are? As an early childhood advocate you may well not, as all of the goals are based on standardized assessments given to children in third grade and up. But you should, because chances are those state goals are out of reach for your state unless it puts more focus on early learning.