During the State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama proposed a major expansion of programs that affect children between the ages of 0 and 5 years old.
The administration released its detailed plan yesterday. Below are the plan’s major highlights.
- Preschool Expansion: A state and federal partnership to provide preschool to all 4-year olds in families at or below 200% of the federal poverty line. The programs would be provided by school districts and other local partners with instructors holding the same education and training level as their K-12 colleagues. The proposal also provides incentives for states to broaden preschool enrollment to middle-class families.
- Early Head Start Expansion: A new Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership program that will support states and communities that expand the availability of Early Head Start and child care providers. Both groups would have to meet high quality standards for infants and toddlers from birth through age 3.
- Expansion of Home Visitation Initiative: This program provides nurses, social workers and other professionals to meet at-risk families in their homes and connects them to support services for the child’s health and development.
- Expansion of Full-Kindergarten: In order to ensure that kindergarteners have enough time to reach rigorous benchmark standards, funds can be used to expand kindergarten to full-day. This is after states have provided preschool to low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds.
- Head Start Investments will Continue to Grow: The plan includes maintaining and building on current Head Start investments to support infants, toddlers and 3-year olds.
The president’s comprehensive early learning plan is a huge step in the right direction. During the weeks and months ahead, ACNJ will be contacting you to both keep you up-to-date on how these proposals are proceeding and to let you know when your advocacy is needed to move these efforts forward.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ACNJ Policy Analyst
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