Hello, My name is Jennifer Kolbus and Iwould like to talk to you about the Federal funding for early education programs.
Early education programs are important for our youth and for our communities future. Their main purpose is to provide preparation for primary school for children birth to age 5. They also provide many different services to low income families and to families of children with disabilities. Early Head Start is the most widely known program and has serviced thousands of families and their children
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are six different categories that contribute to a Childs ‘school readiness”. Ready Children are at appropriate social, emotional, language and physical development for their age. Families that have teen parents, children in foster care or abuse and neglect their children need to get help and services before they can be ‘ready’. Ready communities provide support for children in poverty and have supports for families with infants an toddlers . Ready Services- Health refers to providing health insurance and access to prenatal care and immunizations. Ready services- early care and education entails that the community has accredited child care centers, children enrolled in early education programs and access to child care subsidies. Ready Schools have low class sizes and good ready scores. All of these factors apply to children of low income families.
Federal funding typically only covers the administrative costs. With States and counties fending for themselves when it comes to evaluations and services. These are the items that are of the highest cost to operate . With states and counties cutting budgets children and families could no longer have access to these services. In 2004 alone according to the U.S. Department of Human Services, 62,000 children under the age of three were served by early education classrooms. For the children in absolute need this could be detrimental.
There have been unofficial ideas to reduce costs of these programs by restricting eligibility. This was quickly put to rest because of the rise in children needing services because of disabilities . Charging insurance similar to medical bills was also a thought. Charging parents based on their income was thought about but also put to rest because it defeated the purpose of the programs.
In 2009 President Obama proposed a budget that would “boost U.S. Department of Education spending by 2.8% and provide substantial resources to turn around low-performing schools, reward effective teachers and bolster early childhood programs” His plan is to cut 12 early education programs that the White House finds “ineffective”. Including a $66 million dollar even start family literacy program.
This increase of about 1.3 billion dollars is separate from the stimulus package for education that was given a few months ago. 300 million of this increase will go to fund early education programs.
President Obama has other plans as well. He plans to invest in a universal optional preschool program. This universal preschool program will be open to any and all preschool age children. Obama also plans to offer Early Learning Challenge Grants which will provide states funding to support child care, early education, among other services. President Obama also plans on making the Child and Dependant Tax Credit refundable to families.
The hopes are to through the new universal preschool to quadruple the about of eligible children and families. By reforming the Child and Dependent Tax Credit families will have more money to pay for other child care needs. The Early learning challenge grants provided by the federal government will need to be matched by the state.
Despite the fact that these plans seem as though they could be effective, it is important to remember that the effects will not be immediate. Some of these effects may not be apparent for a few years. The programs that are considered to be ineffective and cut out of the budget will support the money going into more efficient programs.
These Programs are vital to the lives of younger children in low income families to prepare them for primary school. Without funding to these programs, the children will struggle more in primary school. Children with higher income families have the resources to give them adequate preparation for primary school, the money to put them into programs, and provide them with good nutrition and medical care. Lower Income families do not have those kinds of resources available to them.
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Federal Funding For Early Education Programs<br />By Jennifer Kolbus<br />
Early Education Programs<br />Early Head Start is the most common program<br />Proven to be effective for children birth to age 5<br />Programs are mostly there to support low income families and families with children who have disabilities<br />
Importance<br />To prepare young children for primary school<br />These programs take into account the factors that contribute to a child's readiness in primary school<br />Ready Children<br />Ready Families<br />Ready Communities<br />Ready Health Services<br />Ready Early Care Services<br />Ready Schools<br />*These factors apply to low income families*<br />
Importance<br />Federal funding only covers administrative costs<br />Highest cost is the evaluation and services<br />With previous cuts in budgets, this could leave children and families without access to services<br />In 2004 62,000 children under the age of 3 were served by early education classrooms.<br />
Previously Proposed Ideas<br />Restricting eligibility has been and idea to reduce costs<br />Insurance revenue<br />Parent costs<br />
Plans for the Future<br />Obama has proposed a budget for 2010 that will increase spending by the U.S. Department of Education by 2.8%<br />Plans to cut 12 programs that White House deems “ineffective”<br />
Plans for the Future<br />Factors to an increase of about 1.3 billion dollars<br />300 million dollars of that budget will be incorporated into early childhood programs.<br />This separate from the stimulus package<br />
Plans for the Future<br />Obama plans to invest in a universal preschool program<br />Reforming the Child and Dependent Tax Credit<br />Early Learning Challenge Grants<br />
What This Means<br />Quadrupling the number of eligible children and families<br />Ensuring that families have the money to pay for child care needs<br />States will need to match federal funds<br />
Challenges<br />Though many of these plans seem effective, it will take years for them to be put into effect.<br />Some programs that help a few families will be cut.<br />Money in this economy is hard to come by so adding funding to early education means decreasing funding elsewhere.<br />
It is important to remember that change can take a while.<br />Early Education has been proven to be beneficial though-out life<br />Conclusion<br />
References<br />Chalk Drawing, June 2, 2009 tiffanywashko<br />Image_4629, November 1, 2008 kaylhew<br />Free School Child Coloring With Green Pencil (unedited) Creative Commons, March 26 2009, Pink Sherbet Photography <br />"It looked like two rabbits and a sun, but it wasn't two rabbits and a sun”, January 12 2008, Mrs. Finger<br />
References<br />Grant, R. (Winter 2005). State Strategies to Contain Costs in the Early Intervention Program: Policy and Evidence. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education. 25(4), 243-50. <br />http://nccic.acf.hhs.gov/poptopics/ecarefunding.html<br />Klein, A. (May 13 2009). Budget Would Boost Incentive Pay, Turnaround Aid. Education Week. 28(31), 20. <br />