Federal “Strong Start” Legislation Would Improve Early Learning Access

Written by: Bill Jaeger
Date Posted: November 15, 2013

Wednesday was an exciting day for early learning advocates around the country. A bipartisan group of legislators introduced the “Strong Start for America’s Children Act.” The proposal is a strong statement about the importance of early learning and development for all children, birth through preschool. The act would support state and federal partnerships to improve access to high quality preschool and early learning opportunities for children.

pre-K billChild at work at Educare Denver at Clayton Early Learning

Specifically, it would provide matching grants to states to invest in expanding both access to and the quality of services for 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families. States would also be able to use funds to expand preschool services, improve the quality of programs and set aside a portion of funds to target grants for high quality early care and education for infants and toddlers. In addition, a separate set of grants would ensure that more children birth through age 3 would have access to quality early learning experiences.

Given Colorado’s extensive waiting list for the Colorado Preschool Program and the high cost of quality child care and preschool that many families face, the proposal would be a welcome step forward to ensure all children enter kindergarten ready to learn. According to a bipartisan poll conducted earlier this year, 70 percent of Americans support a plan to help states and local communities provide better early childhood education programs to children from birth to age five—and want Congress to act now. We look forward to monitoring the progress of this proposal in the coming months.

Bill Jaeger

About Bill Jaeger

Bill Jaeger, Vice President of Early Childhood Initiatives at the Children's Campaign, has spent the past decade teaching, studying, and working on issues in public education and public policy. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a master’s in education from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education before working as a public school teacher and administrator in the greater Hartford, Connecticut area for several years. Bill also holds master’s degrees in public policy and political science and worked in several positions in the non-profit sector prior to joining the Colorado Children’s Campaign as Vice President of Early Childhood Initiatives. Bill is a graduate of Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs and enjoys spending time in the mountains with his wife, son, daughter, and golden retriever.