Alexandria, Va. (October 4, 2011) – The Pre-K Coalition, representing leading education organizations, today called on the U.S. Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) with a strong early education component.
At a Capitol Hill briefing today, the coalition released its new report, Ensuring America’s Future, Policy Statements and Recommendations from National Education Organizations recommending how federal policy can better support states and communities around early education.
“The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act offers us an opportunity to demonstrate a collective commitment to a strong, aligned P-12 system of education,” said Anne L. Bryant, Executive Director of the National School Boards Association, which is spearheading the coalition. “We all agree it is time to reframe the law to better support policies and practices that ensure young children are ready and able to succeed in school.”
According to coalition, this means expanding federal policies and practices to include younger children and early education interventions.
“Pre-kindergarten education is an important part of the learning continuum and we must adjust our thinking at all levels to embrace this,” said Chrisanne Gayl, Director of the Pre-K Coalition.
Over the last decade, enrollment in state-funded pre-kindergarten programs has grown more than 70 percent. Public schools are now more involved than ever before in early education—whether they serve as the administrative agent for a pre- kindergarten program, provide space for a program, or partner with local preschool providers. Data show that two-thirds of all children in publicly funded pre-k are in public school settings.
The coalition’s work has enabled education leaders to come together to highlight the prevalence and importance of early learning to Congress, and to recommend federal policies that will build upon innovative state and local initiatives.
“Providing children with a high quality early education, takes the collective commitment of multiple parties including teachers, school districts, communities, parents, state education agencies and the federal government, ” noted Gayl. “The coalition has taken the first step in this regard. Today, we are calling on the Congress to do its part.”
# # #
Ensuring America’s Future, Policy Statements and Recommendations from National Education Organizations: http://prekcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Pre-K-Documents-for-policy-statement_lowres.pdf
The Pre-K Coalition is a collaboration of the American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, Council of Chief State School Officers, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Education Association, and the National School Boards Association to develop consensus on pre-kindergarten policy goals.