This week (Wednesday, October 29) the White House announced they will be holding a Summit on Early Childhood Education. President Obama will host the White House Summit that will include a broad coalition of philanthropic, business, education, advocacy and elected leaders, as well as other stakeholders who are committed to expanding access to high-quality early education. The White House announcement said that the meeting “builds on the President’s call in his 2013 State of the Union address to expand access to high-quality early childhood education to every child in America.”
Two years ago the President announced and then included in his next two federal budgets a proposed series of new investments to establish a continuum of high-quality early learning for a child—beginning at birth and continuing to age five. The proposals include extending and expanding evidence-based, voluntary home visiting (currently extended into next year), growing the supply of effective early learning opportunities for young children through Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, and providing Preschool for All. More than 30 states and cities have established new programs or expanded access to preschool.
The White House points to studies that show for every dollar invested in early childhood education, there is a rate of return of $7 or more through a reduced need for spending on other services, such as remedial education, grade repetition, and special education, as well as increased productivity and earnings for these children as adults. The Administration has realized some of the first results of the President’s budget request in the budget deal that was agreed to late last year.
During the summit, the President will announce the states and communities that will receive $250 million in Preschool Development Grants and $500 million in Early Head Start Child Care Partnership awards to enhance and expand preschool programs and to improve access to high-quality infant and toddler care in high-need communities. In addition to those grant announcements, the President will also highlight new private sector commitments to expand children’s early learning opportunities. Over the last several months, Senior Administration Officials have traveled across the country to hear from local officials, education experts, business leaders, and the philanthropic community about how to best advance the President’s agenda to expand access to high-quality early education for all Americans. Additional details about the summit will be released at a later date.