Early Childhood Opportunities
The US Senate is sitting on a huge opportunity for Early Childhood Education, and it looks like it may be ready to move shortly (once they figure out this health care thing). The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, if passed, may create a $10 Billion Early Learning Challenge Grant fund to help states significantly advance their work for our neediest young children.
Delaware has been pushing forward on a few initiatives that should help us be well positioned to attract some of this funding once it is available. The Policy Matters initiative, being led by a team from Columbia University as well as lots of Delaware stakeholders, is researching and prioritizing the changes we need to pursue in Early Childhood Education policy over the next three to five years, and a complimentary Fiscal Mapping initiative is looking at how we use our current ECE funds and determining how we can best use them in the future to support the state’s ECE goals.
With clear goals and a better understanding of how our money is being spent today, we should have a leg up on putting together a competitive Challenge Grant application.
In other ECE news, Ann Wick is retiring from the chairmanship of the Delaware Early Childhood Council and Dan Rich from the University of Delaware will be taking over the helm this spring. Rodel sends its thanks to Ann for all her hard work and looks forward to working with Dan as he comes up to speed. Dan is taking over as another federal grant opportunity is on the horizon. $100 Million that was approved this spring for State Early Childhood Advisory Council Grants, and if Delaware gets its share it could be just the kind of help the council needs.