AFSA Endorses Bipartisan Proposal to Increase Early Childhood Education

WASHINGTON – The Strong Start For America’s Children Act, a new proposal to expand early-childhood education nationwide, will be announced today at the Senate Visitor Center with the endorsement of 46 organizations including The American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA).

The proposal will be introduced by U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) with the support of Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), Education Secretary Arne Duncan and actress Jennifer Garner comes as an expansion of President Obama’s Pre-School for All framework and would expand high-quality, early education for children from birth to age five.

“As school leaders in many of the nation’s largest urban school districts, AFSA members know the great need for an expanded early childhood education system,” stated Diann Woodard, president of AFSA in an official letter of endorsement. “While several states do have a pre-K system in place, they are too often unable to enroll all of the children who wish to attend. This legislation will help states and districts provide high quality pre-school programs to all, low-income children.”

Currently, 39 states and the District of Columbia offer state-funded preschool programs. The Harkin-Miller proposal would take these programs a step further helping states to start or expand high-quality early learning programs. The proposal would also build on Head Start investments and improve access to high-quality preschool programs for infants and toddlers.

In closing to AFSA’s letter of endorsement, Woodard said of Senator Harkin and Rep. Miller, “We applaud you both for your tremendous leadership and dedication to improving early childhood education, and look forward to working with you to pass this bill into law.”