Can you name a U.S. Senator who is a former preschool teacher? Give up? Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) says her career in early childhood education helped inform her work on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) signed into law this month. Murray praised the new law saying, “If we are serious about closing achievement gaps in elementary and secondary education, and if we are truly committed to making sure every student has the chance to succeed, we must invest in quality early childhood education.”
One way the ESSA boosts early education is by establishing a competitive Preschool Development Grant program to help states and communities plan, coordinate and expand their early childhood programs for low-income children. For the first time, the law establishes key connections between early childhood education and the K-12 system. The National Association for the Education of Young Children hailed this development, given that learning begins well before children enter Kindergarten.
For a more detailed account of the law’s provisions on early education, see this New America blog post from the director of Early & Elementary Education Policy.