Voices’ Blog

Federal Wins for Early Childhood Education

Posted:  -  By: Emily Griffey

The first two weeks of December have brought big wins at the federal level for early childhood education. Last week, the reauthorization of the Early and Secondary Education Act (now the Every Student Succeeds Act) included early childhood for the first time. The new act authorizes a new take on the Preschool Development Grants that Virginia currently receives. Our funding for the VPI+ grant would remain, but the focus in the future would allow states to do more collaborative planning to expand preschool programs and would be less prescriptive. The new language also clarifies that other funds in the ESSA can be used for preschool classrooms as well. You can read more about these details over at EdCentral.

This week, the House and Senate reached a budget deal for the current fiscal year that allocates significant funding increases to early childhood education including the following:

  • An increase of $326 million for the Child Care Development Block Grant. This maintains a set aside of $127 million for infants and toddlers that is slightly more than FY2015.
  • An increase of $570 million for Head Start, which includes $294 million for supplemental funding to increase the hours of Head Start program operation, and a $135 million increase for Early Head Start, Early Head Start-Child Care partnerships, and conversions from Head Start to Early Head Start.
  • The continuation of $250 million for Preschool Development Grants through the Department of Education.
  • A $15 million increase in IDEA Part B Preschool Grant; and
  • A  $20 million increase in IDEA Part C Grants for Infants and Families.

In addition, the bill makes permanent both the refundable tax credits for low-income families through the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit as well as making permanent a partially refundable tax credit for college tuition expenses. Without the changes in the Child Tax Credit, 8 million children would have been pushed into poverty.

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