Last week was BIG for ECE. President Obama released the 2015 federal budget which outlined a continued and broadened commitment to Early Childhood Education. The State of Illinois also received an additional $80 million, in Race to The Top money/Early Learning Challenge, to be distributed and matched by the state over the next 4 years. What this means is there is a lot of money coming into Illinois for early childhood expansion and improvements. Very exciting.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant of 2014 demands additional quality controls, compliance measures, and transparency for all licensed and publically-funded child care. To see a quick description of the requirements, click on the link above.
The President also called on private companies and philanthropies to invest in Early Childhood. Many, many people are stepping up to the challenge. For those of you who support ECE by working in it, you can take the pledge of commitment to the cause without pledging any money. (I believe you recommit yourselves everyday when you step through the door). Click here to see the Invest in US website. According to the fact sheet from the Invest in US website, this will provide:
•$330 million in new actions from corporate and philanthropic leaders to expand the
reach and enhance the quality of early education for thousands of additional children.
• Up to $750 million in new federal grant awards announced by Secretaries Duncan and
Burwell, to support early learning for over 63,000 additional children across the country.
These investments will expand high-quality preschool or grow the supply of early care
and education for infants and toddlers beginning next year.
• The launch of Invest in US, a new initiative created by the First Five Years Fund, a
bipartisan non-profit organization, in partnership with private philanthropic leaders, in
response to the President’s call for action.
• New private and philanthropic resources and support for Early Learning Communities, an initiative of Invest in US. Invest in US will connect communities interested in expanding
early learning programs and opportunities with 10 leading partners that have committed
to helping connect leaders with resources, planning grants, technical assistance, and
other support for their youngest learners. (Invest in US Fact Sheet, Nov. 2014)
The new budget also reveals an increase in spending for Head Start, Early Head Start, Home Visiting Programs, Preschool for All, Quality Improvement Initiatives, and Early Learning Comprehensive Services expansions. This is only a partial list of the new promises.
Take a look at some of these websites to get a complete picture. Many of these plans will affect you – so find out as much as you can about them.