In the opening weeks of new legislative sessions across the country, governors and state legislatures from both parties are leading the way toward more funding and increased opportunities for early childhood education.

Indiana’s Republican Governor Mike Pence highlighted early education in his 2015 State of the State address on Tuesday. Governor Pence cited the approval of the first state funding for pre-K in Indiana’s history and announced an investment of $10 million a year to fund scholarships for the pre-K pilot program. Read more.

Governor Jay Inslee, Democratic Governor of Washington proposed the largest ever state investment in early childhood education in his State of the State address. Inslee’s plan would provide $79.8 million for more than 6,300 new preschool slots, $4 million for the state’s Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program and $107.6 million for full-day kindergarten statewide. Read more.

In North Dakota, State Senator Tim Flakoll (R-Fargo) has introduced a bill to create the state’s first publicly-funded preschool program. North Dakota is one of just ten states without any sort of state early education program and Flakoll’s bill has bipartisan sponsorship. Read more.

New Mexico’s State Senate is considering a proposal to provide an additional $25 million in funding to expand early childhood education programs. The state’s new Republican Governor Susana Martinez has signaled her wish to find common ground with state lawmakers on early education. Read more.

It’s exciting to see that early childhood education is taking center stage in so many states. At FFYF, we’re continuing to track state activities and provide support to state efforts to expand access to high-quality early learning opportunities.