A Bold Budget for Children

News & Resources from the Office of Early Learning February 2015

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Message from the Deputy Assistant Secretary Libby Doggett

Libby's Photo

A Bold Budget for Children


The President’s strong commitment to our youngest learners is evident in the 2016 budget request.  If passed, this budget would lay a strong foundation for children’s learning and development from birth to kindergarten and beyond.


At Education, the budget proposes investments to support young children including:

  • A commitment by the federal government of $75 billion over 10 years for Preschool for All to help states implement voluntary, universal high-quality preschool programs for all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families;
  • $750 million to significantly extend the reach of the Preschool Development Grants to help states, as well as the Bureau of Indian Education, tribal educational agencies, territories, and the Outlying Areas, expand high-quality preschool programs in local communities across the nation. Up to $20 million of this request would be used to test innovative approaches to strengthening the effectiveness of early learning interventions and improving the transitions of children from preschool into kindergarten through third grade.
  • An increase of $65 million for Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities;
  • $50 million more to support Preschool Grants for Children with Disabilities; and
  • An increase of $1 billion for Title I Grants, funds for which can be used to support early learning and currently support over 600,000 children before they enter kindergarten. 

At Health and Human Services, the budget proposes investments to support young children including:

  • $82 billion to support Child Care and ensure that all families with incomes below 200% of the poverty line with children under age four, have access to high quality child care so that parents can work, attending school, or participate in training;
  • $1.5 billion increase for Head Start, including funding to extend half-day programs to full-day;
  • $650 million to expand the Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships; and
  • $500 million proposal for the home visiting program in FY 2016, and a commitment to a $15 billion investment over 10 years for evidence-based home visiting programs.

The President laid out a bold vision that reflects the belief that every single child in America deserves the opportunity for success in school and in life. To learn more, please see the President's FY 2016 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Education.


To achieve the promise early learning offers requires substantial new dollars at every point along the continuum.    President Obama’s 2016 budget invests in our youngest learners and would finally help us build the early learning system of programs our children need and deserve.


"Voices from the Field"


Interview with Clayton Burch, Chief Academic Officer for Teaching and Learning, West Virginia Department of Education


by Senior Policy Advisor Steven Hicks

It’s hard to find people at the state level that don’t support early childhood.  But what you really need isn’t just people who say it; you need people willing to step up and advocate for it.  Saying you support early childhood is one thing, but in the state of West Virginia, what we’ve been able to do in the last decade is we don’t just want legislators saying they support early childhood.  We want to work with them so they understand how to support early childhood.  We have a governor’s office and a state board of education that says we really know what we’re talking about.  When they say early childhood, it’s not just kindergarten anymore in West Virginia.  They want to talk birth through eight years old.  And they want to have a comprehensive conversation.  Read the complete interview here.

Preschool Development Grants


Montana received a $10 million Development Grant for the first year

The state of Montana is focused on increasing high-quality preschool for children throughout the state as evidenced by Governor Bullock’s Early Edge Preschool Initiative which would provide $37 million in state funds for preschool education, new program and accreditation standards for state funded preschool, and revised education requirements and licensure qualifications for public preschool teachers.  Nearly half of Montana children live at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Read Montana's abstract here. Read Montana's application   here.

RTT-ELC: Program Spotlight


This Months Spotlight is on Minnesota

Minnesota  has recently released its Knowledge and Competency Frameworks. There are currently three new versions of the document. One version is for those working in Family Child Care; one for those working with preschool-age children; and one for those working with infants and toddlersThese documents, created through Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge funding, combine the Board of Teaching (BOT) Standards and field-developed competencies to describe what adults working with young children need to know and be able to do. This unique combination responds to concerns of employers that people entering the field with degrees don’t always have the practical skills needed and those entering through in-service and experience sometimes don’t have the theory that is essential. By combining BOTH standards and competencies, theory is married to skills.  Each of the documents articulates competencies at three levels - Explores, Implements and Designs and Leads. The levels align horizontally to show a progression of skills that is not dependent on the educational level but rather on the competence demonstrated.  Minnesota will use the documents as the basis for professional development regardless of delivery method.

Technical Assistance


Incorporating early learning strategies in the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO), along with the Center on School Turnaround, released case studies exploring how School Improvement Grant (SIG) winners were incorporating the early grades into their efforts.

Upcoming Webinar: Supporting Principal Leadership for Pre-K – 3rd Grade Learning Communities  

March 2 at 3:00-4:15 pm EST, CEELO, The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS-SDE) will host a webinar on supporting principal leadership for P-3 communities. Click here for more information.  A CEELO FastFact and NAESP Executive Summary provide background.


New Resources on Sustaining ECE Financing

The ELC TA program worked collaboratively with other TA partners to compile a Summary of Resources on Sustaining Early Care and Education Financing. This annotated list includes blending and braiding funding; state-specific funding scans; strategies specific to sustaining pre-k and other programs; tax credits; public-private partnerships; and social impact bonds/pay for success.  Read more here.


What is the DaSy Data System Framework

The DaSy Data System Framework is the Data Systems Component of the larger ECTA System Framework for Part C & Section 619 and includes specific quality indicators and elements of quality for each of the following data systems subcomponents:

Purpose & Vision, Data Governance & Management, Stakeholder Engagement, System Design & Development, Data Use and Sustainability.

Early Learning at ED

ED Homeroom

Top 10 Reasons for High Quality Early Learning Programs

Here are some top 10 reasons why you should enroll your child in a high-quality early learning program.  Read more here.


OSEP-funded Supporting Change and Reform in Preservice Teaching in North Carolina (SCRIPT-NC) Beginning in February, OSEPwill be offering free webinars for early childhood faculty nationwide. The primary audience for these monthly webinars are faculty in early childhood associate degree programs, but the content and resources also are relevant for bachelor’s level instruction and other forms of professional development. You can sign up here for the webinars.

OSEP’s Center on Technology and Disability (CTD) has a number of resources for families and providers on acquiring and using effective assistive technology (AT) and instructional technology (IT) for children with disabilities to participate fully in daily routines, early learning opportunities, and interactions with others.  CTD will be holding a free three-week e-learning module on Instructional Technology in Early Childhood, and a Café event on AT for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers.  Sign up for these events and find additional resources at CTD’s website here.

International News

The World Bank

Stepping Up Early Childhood Development

A new World Bank report, Stepping Up Early Childhood Development, provides a practical guide for policymakers and practitioners about how to invest in young children. It identifies 25 essential ECD interventions that can be delivered through five integrated packages at different stages in a child’s life, spanning the education, health, nutrition, water, sanitation, and social protection sectors.  Read more here.

Federal Agencies at Work

Administration for Children and Families

2015 Brings New Federal Action to Prevent Child Trafficking  Human trafficking has devastating impact on the lives of many children and youth globally and in the United States. As reflected in ACF’s Guidance to States and Services on Addressing Human Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States, human traffickers often target young people receiving child welfare services who may have low self-esteem and minimal social support due to their histories of abuse, neglect, trauma and family instability. Read more here.

Administration for children and families

The Child Care Technical Assistance Network (CCTAN)  A service of the Office of Child Care (OCC), is pleased to announce a page on its Web site dedicated to the new National Center on Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships (NCEHS-CCP). The Web page, which can be found at http://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/early-head-start, contains a wide range of links and resources on topics pertinent to Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships, including:

  • Reports highlighting lessons learned from successful partnerships
  • Information on Early Head Start and child care policies and regulations
  • Resources on relationship-building, fiscal management, and professional development for early care and education staff
  • Links to other useful Web sites highlighting partnership best practices.

For any questions or concerns, please contact the Child Care State Systems Specialist Network.

Stop Bullying

The Roles Kids Play

There are many roles that kids can play. Kids can bully others, they can be bullied, or they may witness bullying. When kids are involved in bullying, they often play more than one role.   Read more here


Early childhood often marks the first opportunity for young children to interact with each other. Between the ages of 3 and 5, kids are learning how to get along with each other, cooperate, share, and understand their feelings.   Read more here.

usda logo

Free USDA Resources for National School Breakfast Week (March 2-6, 2015)  Request these free Team Nutrition materials for your School Breakfast Program activities. Shipping usually takes 2-4 weeks. Order now to have materials for National School Breakfast Week!  Read more here.

Research and Reports


State Pre-K Funding: 2014-15 fiscal year

 A new ECS analysis of 2014-15 appropriations by the 50 states, found that 28 states plus the District of Columbia increased their investments in pre-K, and state investments in pre-K rose by 12 percent nationally. California led the nation with a 79 percent funding increase, to a total of $397,500,000. Read more here

Trends in teacher certification: Equipping teachers to prepare proficient readers, a new ECS trends analysis looks at several states and how they have begun requiring teacher candidates to pass a reading instruction test before being licensed.

Institute for Child Success

A New Brief from the Institute for Child Success

When Brain Science Meets Public Policy: Strategies for Building Executive Function Skills in the Early Years, explores the development of executive function and self-regulation skills, identifies evidence-based and promising practices that foster them, and suggests four strategic opportunities for policy makers.  Read more here.

Resources You Can Use

WCEG logo

Economic Benefits Shown by Improving U.S. Educational Outcomes A new report shows that by improving educational performance, the United States could increase its gross domestic product over the next 35 years.  Read more here.


Early Care and Education 2014 Legislative Action

In review of the 2014 legislative session, state lawmakers addressed an array of policy issues relating to young children through the introduction of more than 900 bills in 49 states.  Read more here.


Two Generations Together: Case Studies from Head Start

Last month The National Head Start Association (NHSA) released a report “Two Generations Together,” highlighting the exceptional efforts of Head Start programs in designing effective two-generation solutions aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty and putting families on the path to self-sufficiency.

American Educational Research Association

Access to State-Supported Early Childhood Programs

A study published by the American Educational Research Association finds when children have access to state-supported early childhood programs; they're less likely to be placed in special education by the end of third grade.  Read more here  

New America

Collecting Data on New Technology usage in Early Literacy

Over the next few months, New America’s Early Education Initiative and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop are collecting data to map early literacy programs that use new technologies. If you are a program that promotes children's language development, emergent literacy skills, basic reading skills, or reading comprehension skills, go here for more information. 

Council for Professional Recognition

Council CEO’s Exchange Article Looks at Value of Degree Programs

Valora Washington, Ph.D., chief executive officer for the Council for Professional Recognition, is a contributing writer in the January/February issue of Exchange Magazine. "Degree Programs: Progress and Pitfalls for ECE," offers a balanced view of higher education's shortcomings while also illustrating examples where colleges and universities have teamed with the Council to meet the demand for competent early childhood professionals.  Log on to www.cdacouncil.org for more information.

Monthly Multimedia



Watch this short video to explore basic principles of child development. This information can help staff as they support and individualize care for infants and very young children.


Early Childhood Teacher Certification: The current state policies landscape and opportunities

A new brief from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, "Early Childhood Teacher Certification: The current state policies landscape and opportunities," and new state profiles are available on NAEYC’s website.  Read more here.

Last Word

President and children in class

President Obama's National Day of Service

President Obama spent the 2015 MLK National Day of Service alongside with Jumpstart Corps members from George Washington University at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington.