Preschool Development Programs Receive Important Second Year Funds, Future of Program Uncertain

Media Contact: Brendan Daly (202.794.1580)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 2, 2015) – Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) applauds the announcement today of $250 million for a second year of funding for the Preschool Development Grant program.

Last year, 18 states won a development or expansion grant, totaling nearly $250 million in funding for pre-K programs. Having served more than 33,000 children in the program’s first year, today’s announcement of continued funding will allow these states to continue to expand access to high-quality preschool programs in order to serve even more children moving forward.

The Preschool Development Grants competition supports states to build or enhance a preschool program infrastructure that would enable the delivery of high-quality preschool services to children and expand high-quality preschool programs in targeted communities that would serve as models for expanding preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.

SCAN President Mark Shriver expressed support for the grants, saying: “Today’s announcement ensures that an additional 41,000 low- and middle-income children receive continued access to high-quality preschool services. These children will have an early education that lays the groundwork for future success both in the classroom and in the workforce.”

At the same time, Shriver expressed concern about the lack of funding for the same program in next year’s spending bill pending in Congress. Both the House and Senate fiscal year 2016 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bills eliminate funding for Preschool Development Grants. Making things even more difficult, there is a sequestration budget cap in place since 2011 which limits discretionary spending.

“I am disappointed in Congress’ lack of investment in our future by cutting funding for these vital early learning programs,” Shriver said. “Zeroing out the funding for fiscal year 2016’s Preschool Development Grants is unacceptable. Unless the budget caps are raised and funding is restored to this program, at the beginning of next school year, these grants will not be available to states across the country, hurting the long-term success of tens of thousands of children. Without access to a high-quality education, kids fall behind. Many never catch up.”

SCAN, alongside other organizations that prioritize early childhood education, sent a letter in July to Rep.

Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, asking for more investments in high-quality early learning programs.

“There is too much at stake and too many children at risk for falling behind to place artificial barriers on our ability to give them the best possible start in life,” the letter stated.

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Save the Children Action Network is the political voice for kids. We believe that every child deserves the best start in life. That’s why we’re building bipartisan will and voter support to make sure every child in the U.S. has access to high-quality early learning and that no mother or child around the globe dies from a preventable disease or illness. By investing in kids and holding leaders accountable, we are helping kids from birth to age five survive and thrive.