Governors Tell Congress Early Childhood Top Priority

The nation’s governors tell Congress that early childhood education is just as important to them as health care, tax reform and infrastructure. In a letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the governors write:

“On behalf of the nation’s governors, we write to encourage support for 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.”

They call on Congress to:

  • Reauthorize current federal early childhood education programs together to allow greater coordination, alignment, flexibility and equity among state and local programs.
  • Consider any proposed new early childhood education and child care programs or tax credits in regard to how they will complement current programs.
  • Redesign the structure of existing federal early childhood education programs to: o discontinue the current siloed approach common across all programs;
    • focus on programs that serve children statewide;
    • plug into state accountability and quality rating systems; and
    • connect with programs in every state that serve learners from birth into their careers.
  • Refrain from using funding mechanisms that would ultimately lead to a reduction in quality or federal support for early childhood education and child care.
  • Prioritize the unique needs of the populations served by the 44 federal early childhood education programs as alignment, redesign and consolidation are considered.
  • Explore opportunities for early childhood alignment and support in federal social safety net programs, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
  • Place governors and states at the center of the state-federal early childhood education structure to reflect their role as the caretaker of the entire educational system and the chief economic development officer in each state.

Read the letter.