Senate Committee Passes Bill to Reauthorize ESEA

By Hannah Matthews

Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed a bill out of committee to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), known as the Every Child Achieves Act. The bill includes a bipartisan early learning amendment offered by Senators Murray (D-WA) and Isakson (R-GA) and adopted by the full Committee.

The amendment would create a competitive grant program to provide funding for states to improve coordination, quality, and access for early learning programs. States would apply for a three-year grant that is conditioned on providing matching funds to support sustainable improvements and better coordination of their early learning systems.

In addition to the early learning amendment, the Every Child Achieves Act includes other provisions to support early learning, including clarifying the existing use of Title I funds for early education programs spanning birth to kindergarten entry.  A new literacy instruction program also includes a set-aside for early learning.

The bill will now go to the Senate floor for a vote. This latest display of support from both sides of the aisle for early childhood education follows this week’s extension of federal home visiting funds and last year’s bipartisan Congressional reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). As policymakers recognize the importance of the early years, CLASP urges Congress to provide the increased resources required to ensure that more vulnerable, young children have access to high-quality child care and early education.