Yesterday the National Governors Association (NGA) penned a letter urging congress to enhance state early learning programs, specifically Preschool Development Grants, as part of FY 2016 appropriations.

In their letter, Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Governor, Robert Bentley (R-AL) tell members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education why the grants are crucial to providing services for our youngest learners:

“Governors understand that early childhood education is a key component of building a literate, knowledgeable and skilled 21st century workforce. Preschool Development Grants, including expansion grants, enable governors to build on their efforts to promote school readiness by accelerating state-focused innovation to improve access and quality in early childhood education. States use the program to better serve our youngest students, including English language learners and early learners with disabilities; improve the professional development of preschool teachers and administrators; and expand access to early education programs to thousands of students.”

Preschool Development Grants allow states and school districts to further expand access to high-quality early learning opportunities. The grants have been funded for 2 years at $250 million each year.  Children in 18 states are currently benefitting from the fund.

We applaud the nation’s governors as they continue to push for Preschool Development Grants in their states.  Both the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education bills for FY 2016 provide additional funding for some early childhood programs. As we enter final appropriations negotiations, it is critical for Congress to meet the needs of children and their families by increasing funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant, Head Start and Early Head Start, Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership Grants, and restores funding to Preschool Development Grants.

Read the full letter here.

Read FFYF’s Preschool Development Appropriation Letter signed by 18 states.