Take heart! For too long, one of the least heartening perspectives on the federal government budget came from early childhood education advocates, who, year in and year out, felt left out of the political dialogue during budget talks. They were either ignored or, worse, the recipients of unwanted attention as federal spending on education was slashed or level-funded as costs increased. However, during a time when we see much division in our country, especially coming out of Washington, D.C., it actually is a bit –just a bit – encouraging to look at early childhood education programs which are garnering more and more bipartisan support.
In fact, for the first time in many years, the early childhood education field knows what the next federal fiscal year holds before it’s well-underway, unlike years past when we were retroactively scrambling to determine funding levels as the fiscal year progressed. On September 28th, President Trump signed legislation from Congress to fund the critically important programs housed in the Labor, Health & Human Services (DHHS), and Education (ED) departments before the federal fiscal year begins on October 1st. The FY19 “minibus” appropriations package, which includes funding for other parts of the federal government through Dec. 7, 2018, importantly funds these education programs for FY19:
We will continue to unpack these appropriations to find the opportunities for improving quality and achieving our shared mission of ensuring every child has access to warm, responsive, organized classrooms with emotionally, socially, and cognitively supportive teachers who fuel children’s natural curiosity and love of learning. To read more about ways in which this Congress can fund programs serving young children and their families, see NAEYC’s federal early childhood education policy agenda.
A year ago, urged on by my insightful new colleague, Manda Klein, who was born and raised in Texas, I wrote a blog entitled, At Our Core. It praised the bipartisan efforts to discontinue the practice of separating children from their parents and caregivers at our country’s borders.
It’s been a great year. You have just conducted some professional development trainings for the group of teachers you are coaching. You got the opportunity to visit their classrooms and see them in action, do formal and informal CLASS observations, and had countless coaching conversations. You see that it’s all beginning to click. You have the teachers’ buy-in, and the motivation is high.
On a hot summer day in July 2016, I had the good fortune of being the one not on vacation on our small policy and research team. Instead, I went to DC to serve as Teachstone’s representative for a convening of policymakers, researchers, and ECE practitioners. They were gathering to discuss if and how exemplary Head Start grantees might be identified for Leading by Exemplar, an initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and led by Bellwether Education Partners.