Biden-Harris Administration Provides Resources for Preschool Expansion and Early School Success

President Biden’s Efforts in Early Learning Supported by New Guidelines

The U.S. Department of Education has issued new guidance today for the effective utilization of Title I funds by states, local educational agencies (LEAs), and schools to expand access to quality preschool programs for three- and four-year-olds in various settings such as schools, Head Start, and community-based organizations. This move aims to enhance early school success for more children and promote smoother transitions to kindergarten across the country. The current administration has secured significant educational investments, including an extra $1.9 billion in annual funding for the Title I program since 2021. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will discuss this development during his visit to an early childhood center in New Jersey.

“Quality early learning opportunities are crucial for future academic achievements, and every child should have access to them,” stated U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “With the resources being made available today, the Biden-Harris Administration is facilitating the expansion of high-quality preschool programs to historically underserved children, fostering stronger community partnerships, and equipping educators and staff with the necessary support and tools. The Department is committed to raising the standards of quality and accessibility to ensure more children benefit from enhanced early learning opportunities, laying a solid foundation for their educational success.”

The Department has updated its Non-Regulatory Guidance on Serving Preschool Children Through Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to help states, LEAs, and schools leverage these crucial resources to boost preschool access and improve program quality. This guidance, last revised in 2012 before the ESEA reauthorization in 2015, aligns with the President’s Executive Order on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers, which urged the Department of Education to enhance guidance on expanding high-quality preschool access. Efforts are being coordinated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to ensure the availability of quality preschool in diverse settings to meet the needs of all families.

The guidelines provide insight into how local and state education agencies can collaborate with local preschool programs, Head Start, and other community organizations to expand preschool offerings by combining federal, state, and local funds. They also emphasize using Title I funds to enhance the professional growth of early educators and cater to the developmental and language requirements of preschool students, especially those with disabilities and English learners, to promote educational equity.

The Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized expanding access to high-quality preschool from the beginning. High-quality preschool can significantly improve academic outcomes for all students, preparing them for elementary school and beyond. Research indicates that students from low-income backgrounds benefit from two years of high-quality preschool, followed by aligned, full-day kindergarten, leading to the narrowing of achievement gaps and increased school success rates. By offering actionable information on utilizing Title I, alongside other federal funds like Title III and IDEA Part B, schools can expand high-quality preschool opportunities for a greater number of students. Enhancing early school success can result in more students meeting third-grade benchmarks critical for future academic achievements and high school graduation.

The Non-Regulatory Guidance on Serving Preschool Children Through Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended and the accompanying Early School Success Dear Colleague Letter offer detailed information on how states and local leaders can ensure inclusive opportunities for all young learners.

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