As we mentioned last week, public support for high-quality early childhood education remained strong in 2017. And over the past few weeks, governors have prioritized the issue in “State of the State” addresses. Here is what governors from red and blue states had to say:
- Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D): Governor Hickenlooper stated his state’s early childhood investments are “nonpartisan and comprehensive.” “We re-convened the Education Leadership Council to build a long-term vision and path forward. It’s nonpartisan and comprehensive, with a focus on the building blocks of a child’s success from early childhood to workforce and beyond.”
- Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (R): Governor Deal emphasized the need for early education investments starting at birth to create a strong foundation for future learning. “One such tree we planted this past year is the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy at the Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. It is a training and research center that focuses on children from birth to third grade – perhaps the most critical period of any child’s development and education. It is during this window of opportunity that we can best lay down a strong, enduring foundation for all other aspects of a student’s academic career. If we fail to reach Georgia’s youngest minds during that time, if we fail to get them reading on grade level by the end of third grade, they are much more likely to fall behind, both in the classroom and the life that awaits them beyond.”
- Montana Governor Steve Bullock (D): Governor Bullock proposes a $12 million preschool grant program to help low-income children and families throughout the state. “And, finally, finally it’s time to follow the lead of 45 other states that have done it already, and invest in publicly funded early childhood education…The average cost of childcare in Montana for a four-year old is $7,900 dollars – in other words, more than college tuition at Montana State University or the University of Montana. A mom earning minimum wage could easily spend half of her income on childcare for just one kiddo. Let’s help those families. I have proposed a $12 million preschool grant program to allow school districts, Head Start programs or high-quality private preschool providers to offer preschool for four-year-old kids at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.”
- New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (R): In her final state of the state address, Governor Martinez called for a $25 million budget increase for child care services, and an $8 million budget increase for expanded pre-k. “We have 100,000 users on PullTogether.org – people who are being connected to resources or reaching out to help others, and as intended, we’re seeing greater demand for important services. That’s why my budget calls for a $25 million increase in child care services and an additional $8 million to expand pre-K programs throughout New Mexico. On my watch, we’ve already tripled the number of children who receive a pre-K education, and this new funding will allow us to serve nearly 2,000 more kids.”
- Vermont Governor Phil Scott (D): Governor Scott touts success of cradle to career program and suggest state invest “much more” in early care and learning in his state of the state address. “If we work together to transform our K through 12 system, based on the needs of our kids and not nostalgia, we can invest much more in early care and learning, technical education, workforce readiness training, and higher education without raising the price tag on Vermonters.”
Stay tuned for more updates from governors across America, who continue to put a spotlight on their states’ efforts on early childhood education.