Early Learning in Your State

Early Learning ClassroomEvery parent wants their child to have opportunities for lifelong success – and that starts with getting kids off to a strong start. All of our nation’s students deserve a chance to compete on a level playing field, but too many children – especially those from disadvantaged communities – start kindergarten already behind.

We know expanding high-quality early learning opportunities is simply one of the best investments we can make as a country, and President Obama has proposed to dramatically increase access to high-quality preschool and expand early learning and support services for infants, toddlers and families.

Today, the White House released state-by-state fact sheets, outlining what states could expect to receive in federal funding to expand these early learning initiatives in their states.

The President’s proposal builds upon the strong work already done by states across the country.  Governors from states as diverse as Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Vermont, and West Virginia all called for expanded access to preschool to more 4-year-olds.  These state leaders – regardless of party affiliation – recognize that early learning helps prepare young children for educational success, provides crucial support for families, and ultimately strengthens our nation’s economy.

The White House fact sheets explain how the President’s plan will:

  • provide high-quality preschool for all 4 year olds,
  • invest in high-quality infant and toddler early learning and development and
  • expand effective parent and family supports.

These investments – financed through a mixture of federal funding and a partnership with states – will help close America’s school readiness gap and ensure that children enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

The benefits of investing in early education are well-documented. Research has shown that high-quality early learning programs and services improve young children’s health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes; enhance school readiness; and help close the school readiness gaps that exist between children with high needs and their peers.

President Obama understands that the stubborn opportunity gap that confronts far too many American children and limits their life chances often begins before they even enter school kindergarten.

Together these investments can continue to close achievement gaps, provide life transforming opportunities for children, and strengthen and build a thriving middle class.

Read how the President’s plan would increase access to high-quality early childhood education in your state.

Cameron French is the deputy press secretary at the U.S. Department of Education

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  1. Think big picture. In the long run free “Preschool For All” will save this country a lot of money. Does anyone know when the money listed on the state-by-state fact sheets will be available to the states?

  2. The federal government is already spending more money than it has, putting us and our children further in debt. Our leaders should think of cutting other things before taking away more local control of our school systems.

  3. Early learning is the best concept in the field of education right now. Starting at the age of three, children are mature enough to learn basic phonics, blend sounds and could be reading independently by age four or five. I am a witness to this fact. I hope the Early learning program administrators will advocate intensive reading instruction and basic math computation for Head Start students. While they are sponges for knowledge and have not yet been corrupted in public school environments, now is the time to teach critical skills. Toddlers will show a longer attention span than you might imagine if you present lessons that capture their interest. I have never met a preschooler that didn’t want to read. Their brains are able to absorb tons of information at this point. This is the time. I just hope that local administrators will not fail to use the opportunity to transform young children into creative writers and avid readers. Please note, this is not done by using the same methods of instruction that has been sanctioned for first grade and up. Please do not burn out young students with an avalanche of assessments and paperwork, pre-scripted, boring lessons from publishers (many of whom never taught in a classroom), and such. That which is already not working in schools should be discarded and room allowed for teacher creativity rather than recycling the same stuff and reusing. Fun drills will work wonders for the little ones. I am a retired language teacher. I’ll create some fun lessons for Head Start for you with the Department of Ed’s permission.

  4. I agree in early interventions for all students. My kids has early interventions due to speech and physical issues. I don’t know where they would have been without that support.
    However, as a gifted facilitator, I am concerned at the number of gifted students not identified early. The numbers of minority students ( and non-minority ) who drop out because their giftedness was not identified early is a major disappointment. Too many people (government included) think that gifted means no help needed. This is one of the major myths of education!
    Teachers need to trained in how to work with gifted students as well as how to identify them. Early interventions for them, especially the “underachiever” and minority gifted, will pay off in the long run. These are the students who will be our inventors and entrepreneurs. They will keep the American Dream alive if we reach them early!

  5. NJ gets $50,600,000 federal + 5,100,000 state for preschool education for 6,186 students or about $9,000/student. Average cost to educate a child in NJ is $20,000+. Hang on to your wallets homeowners because you will be picking up half the tab on this bill and the whole tab when the federal and state funding disappear. Yet another mandate that is underfunded! Instead of creating new mandates, how about fully funding IDEA!

    • Pay now or pay later through the jail systems. When did education become a debatable issue? Our children are our future and if we don’t invest in them we we pay a very dear price.

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