Each year through the appropriations process, Congress determines and allocates funding for federal programs, activities and priorities—for example, national defense, education, and homeland security—as well as general government operations. And for the past several years, Congressional Appropriators have sustained or increased funding for the federal early childhood education programs, even as other priorities and programs have been decreased or eliminated. The annual appropriations process provides a critical opportunity each year to both protect and build upon funding gains for the core early childhood education programs. And with many competing priorities that require funding, showcasing the support for, and value of early childhood education is crucial to maintaining our momentum.

RELATED: See Just How Much Congress Increased Funding for Early Childhood Education

On Capitol Hill, “Dear Colleague” letters in both the House and the Senate convey support for these programs among Representatives and Senators on both sides of the aisle. Members collaborate to show appropriators the breadth and depth of support among their colleagues. Off the Hill, many organizations who care about early childhood education communicate their opinions and recommendations to Congress through individual or joint letters intended to inform the appropriations process with perspective, data and political will.

FFYF has compiled many of the various “Dear Colleague” and organizational letters from the past several months that call for increased funding for early childhood education:

House Dear Colleague Letter Supporting Preschool Development Grants in FY2019

A letter to Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro urging the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee to fund the Preschool Development Grant program with $350 million in the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill. This letter is led by Rep. Castro (D-TX) & Rep. Katko (R-NY) and signed by 61 Democrats & 1 Republican.

 

House Dear Colleague Letter Supporting Head Start in FY2019

A letter to Chairman Frelinghuysen and Chairman Cole urging the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee to continue to prioritize robust funding for Head Start in the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill. This letter is led by Rep Stivers (R-OH) & Rep. Jenkins (R-WV) and signed by 38 Republicans.

 

House Dear Colleague Letter Supporting Head Start in FY2019

A letter to Chairman Frelinghuysen, Ranking Member Lowey, Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro urging the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee to fund the Head Start program with at least $9,906,669,000 in the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill. This letter is led by Rep. Clark (D-MA) & Rep. Scott (D-VA) and signed by 169 Democrats.

 

House Dear Colleague Letter Supporting the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and Parts B & C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in FY2019

A letter to Chairman Frelinghuysen, Ranking Member Lowey, Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro urging the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee to fund CCDBG equal to the amount envisioned by the bipartisan budget agreement, IDEA Part B with $385,220,000, and IDEA Part C with $479,800,000 in the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill. This letter is led by Rep. Clark (D-MA) & Rep. Scott (D-VA) and signed by 157 Democrats.

 

Senate Dear Colleague Letter Supporting Early Learning Programs in FY2019

A letter to Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray urging the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee to fund CCDBG at a level that, at a minimum, fulfills the $5.8 billion increase included in the bi­partisan budget agreement in the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill. In addition to provide the highest feasible funding for Head Start, Early Head Start, Preschool Development Grants, and early intervention services available through Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C (Grants for Infants and Families) and Part B Section 619 (Preschool Grants). This letter is led by Senators Casey (D-PA), Smith (D-MN) & Hirono(D-HI) and signed by 38 Democrats & 2 Independents.