Subcommittee Discusses Importance of Investing in High-Quality Early Childhood Education

WASHINGTON  Today, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing focused on ways to expand access to high-quality early childhood learning programs. The federal government must increase its investment and commitment to early education programs while ensuring program quality.

“The lack of availability and the rising cost of childcare hits working families especially hard,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Jared Polis (CO-02). “Many parents can’t afford or don’t have access to high-quality childcare. I represent several large four-year universities and community colleges in my district. I’ve heard countless stories of college students who have children who struggle to find the childcare their kids need. Strong investments – at the local, state, and federal levels – in early learning will make an enormously positive difference for our future.”

Both Republican and Democratic witnesses agreed that strong investments in high-quality, early education is a fiscally smart, non-partisan issue. Moreover, the witnesses explained that access to early childhood education means better educational outcomes, stronger job earnings, and lower crime rates. Dr. Pamela Harris, the President and CEO of Mile High Early Learning, served as the Democratic witness. Dr. Harris testified on the importance of federal investment in early childhood education.

“We have an enormous responsibility,” said Dr. Harris. “We are entrusted by parents, most of them living at or below poverty level working hard to improve their family’s circumstance, to care for their children and help prepare them for school, so they can grow, learn, and thrive. Because of the wide array of services we use to do this, we have several federally funded early learning programs that are tailored to specific goals. These include Head Start/Early Head Start, the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), and IDEA—Individuals with Disabilities Education Act—Part B and Part C. These programs provide complementary rather than duplicative services, with each targeting a unique population or specific need.”

Dr. Harris also emphasized the progress that has been made with the help of federal initiatives.

“By successfully coordinating these federal programs at the state and local levels, Colorado has been able to better address our access and quality gaps,” continued Dr. Harris. “From discussions over the years with my colleagues from other states, it is evident that this systemic collaboration has had similar positive effects across the country.”

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