Early Education in ESEA: Continuum of Learning Act Introduced

Aug 05, 2011

Today, Representative Hirono (D-HI), along with Representatives Jones (R-NC), Young (R-AK), and Polis (D-CO), introduced the bipartisan Continuum of Learning Act of 2011, legislation that would strengthen the connections between early childhood programs, local education agencies, and elementary schools by making changes to Titles I and II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

While current law permits school districts to use ESEA funds for children from birth through school-entry, there is currently little encouragement to use funds in ways that increase the availability of high quality care. School districts are also not required to provide information on how they use funds to support quality early education. Among other provisions, the Act requires local educational agencies to report for the first time on how Title I funds are being used for children prior to school entry something CLASP has long advocated. This change in reporting will ultimately give the local early childhood community needed information to understand where the most vulnerable children are being served, and to work with schools and school districts to combine funding to increase the availability of high quality care.

The Act also encourages states to take a leadership role in promoting the use of Title I dollars for early childhood programming, in coordination with the local early childhood community.  CLASP's research finds that this can be an effective way of leveraging the financing needed to provide high quality full-day and year opportunities for children before the age of school entry. 

As Congress considers reauthorization of ESEA, CLASP will continue to advocate for policies that encourage the provision of high-quality programs and services for children beginning at birth.

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