Improvement to Early Learning Opportunities
Yesterday, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the “Strong Start for America’s Children Act of 2015″—legislation (originally introduced by former Senator Tom Harkin [D-IA] in 2013) that would expand quality preschool programs. The bill aims to direct the U.S. Secretary of Education to allocate matching grants to states to sub-grant local educational agencies in order to implement high-quality pre-kindergarten programs for children from low-income families. In conjunction, a sister bill is being introduced in the U.S. House of Representative’s Education and the Workforce Committee, led by Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) and Richard Hanna (R-NY-24).
The bill also addresses access to music and arts education, designating that states must establish early learning guidelines that include creative arts expression, as well as demonstrate that they are encouraging eligible local entities to coordinate with community based resources, such as arts and arts education programs. NAfME has endorsed the bill and the Music Education Policy Roundtable is planning to issue a statement of support.
Full issued press release and summary of the bill may be found on the HELP Committee website.
Ronny Lau, Special Assistant, Center for Advocacy and Constituency Engagement, May 20, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org).