ERIC Number: EJ864145
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep-23
Reference Count: 0
Early Education Returns to Policy Spotlight
Robelen, Erik W.
Education Week, v29 n4 p1, 18 Sep 2009
Amid a recession that's squeezing state budgets and pushing more families into poverty, teams of officials from 39 states gathered near Washington last week to explore ways to better meet the educational and health needs of young children. The Sept. 16-18 meeting, sponsored by the National Governors Association, came as the U.S. House of Representatives debated and approved a bill that aims to pump $8 billion over eight years into states to improve the quality of early-childhood education from birth to age 5. Although many advocates for early-childhood programs are worried, especially with states still forecasting deep budget deficits, analysts suggest that, in general, state support for early learning so far appears to have been largely spared compared with the cuts elsewhere in state budgets. One big help, observers say, is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which has provided at least $5 billion for early-childhood education. Federal aid under the economic-stimulus law has gone mostly for Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant. In addition, the stimulus program includes money to help states set up state advisory councils on early-childhood education and care. Such councils were first called for under the 2007 reauthorization of the Head Start program, but no money was provided for them at the time. Supporters of early learning also pin high hopes on the federal Early Learning Challenge Fund that would be created under legislation passed last week by the House as part of a larger college-loan bill. A portion of the savings projected under that bill would be used to provide competitive grants aimed at helping states build coordinated learning systems for children from birth to age 5 that ensure they are prepared for kindergarten.
Descriptors: Health Needs, Federal Aid, Early Childhood Education, State Aid, Disadvantaged Youth, Block Grants, Educational Needs, Young Children, Educational Improvement, Budgets, Federal Legislation, Student Loan Programs, Economic Climate, Financial Exigency, Federal Programs, State Programs, Educational Policy
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Authoring Institution: N/A