America Forward believes in the importance of high-quality early education, especially for our most vulnerable children. Rigorous research has shown the positive impact that high-quality early education can have on both cognitive and interpersonal skills; better preparing students to succeed in school and later in life. We are currently engaged in the federal early education policy conversation to advance on our Coalition’s priorities and principles in the early learning space.
Below we outline the specific opportunities to advance a coherent, targeted early education policy agenda that supports innovation, elevates the need of modern families, and lifts up best practices:
Implementation of the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA)
ESSA includes several provisions that can be leveraged to support the development of high quality early education programming, engage families, and promote the use of technology. Over the course of the next year, America Forward will engage with policymakers at the federal, state, and local level and emphasize the potential for high-quality learning strategies under the new law.
The 2016 Presidential Election
Another significant opportunity to advance policies related to early education is the upcoming presidential election and transition. We look forward to working with the next President to advance a concise set of key ideas related to early education, including the role of Pay for Success.
The Reauthorizations of the Head Start and Higher Education Acts
In addition to a new President, there will be a new Congress in 2017. Following the successful reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, lawmakers are likely to turn their attention to, among other priorities, the reauthorization of the Head Start Act and the Higher Education Act. Both pieces of legislation have the potential to significantly impact the early education space. The Head Start Act is the authorizing statute for Head Start and Early Head Start which, together, serve nearly 1 million children under the age of five, and the Higher Education Act has the potential to significantly impact preparation for the early education workforce.