All Arizona Children Deserve a Strong Start
Last week U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Richard Hanna (R-NY) introduced the Strong Start for America’s Children Act. This bill is a bipartisan step in ensuring access to high-quality preschool for low- and moderate-income children.
High-quality early childhood education is a sound investment, leading to greater success in school, literacy, and life. Decades of studies have found that quality preschool leads to a wide range of short- and long-term benefits, including better educational outcomes, stronger job earnings, and lower levels of crime and delinquency.
Despite this research, thousands of Arizona children lack access to high-quality, affordable preschool programs. According to the US Census Bureau’s, 2012 American Community Survey, only 33% of Arizona’s 3 and 4 year olds are enrolled in preschool, compared to a national enrollment rate of 48%. Only two states, Idaho and Nevada, have lower preschool enrollment rates.
The new Strong Start for America’s Children bill creates and supports partnerships to help states and communities improve and expand high-quality, full-day preschool programs for four-year-old children from low- and moderate-income families. It would also provide new funding for high-quality early learning programs for infants and toddlers.
This legislation is one strategy that can help Arizona boost early childhood education and strengthen school success.
For more information, read the National Women’s Law Center’s summary of the bill.