A Budget Deal That Invests in Our Youngest Children

President Barack Obama participates in a literacy lesson with children while visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom

President Barack Obama participates in a literacy lesson with children while visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom at Moravia Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., May 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In last year’s State of the Union address President Obama laid out his bold vision to expand access to high-quality pre-school to every child in America

He called on Congress to help turn this vision into reality, not just because studies show that children who start learning at the earliest ages are more likely to succeed in school and in life, but because for every dollar that is invested in early education, we save multiple dollars in areas like improved educational outcomes, increased labor productivity, and a reduction in crime.

You can find more about those stats and the President’s proposal in this blog post, but in short, an investment in America’s children is a great investment.

The President also made it clear during last year’s State of the Union address that the Administration couldn’t do this on our own - we needed Congress to step up and do their part, and make America’s children a priority.

Thankfully, the bipartisan budget deal is a step in the right direction, including:

  • $8.6 billion in Head Start funding, which will help support an additional 90,000 children and their families with early education and services. 
  • New funding to launch Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships across the country, to grow the supply of high-quality infant and toddler care for America’s youngest children.
  • $250 million in new funding through the Race to the Top Program for communities to develop and expand access to high-quality public preschool programs.

Clearly we have much more work to do, and this bipartisan budget agreement is not a perfect document – no one got everything they wanted, including the President – that is the nature of compromise. 

However, this deal does represent a step in the right direction when it comes to one of the best investments we can make as a nation – an investment in our nation’s children.

 

Cecilia Muñoz is the Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Related Topics: Education, Maryland
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