Senators Udall, Heinrich Introduce Strong Start for America’s Children Act

Bill would expand access to preschool and improve early learning opportunities in NM

U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined a group of senators yesterday in introducing the Strong Start for America’s Children Act to expand quality preschool programs in New Mexico and throughout the country. The Strong Start for America’s Children Act is a 10-year innovative federal-state partnership to expand and improve early learning opportunities for children from birth to age 5.

“Quality preschool can transform a child, helping them start kindergarten ready to learn and become more successful as they grow up. Every child deserves the best chance to succeed that we can provide, but too many New Mexico children don’t have access even to basic child care or preschool programs,” Udall said. “This bill will help more children in New Mexico access quality early learning programs that provide a foundation that will help them throughout their lives. It complements my SONG Act, which I introduced earlier this year to make the investments that will help improve access to education and anti-poverty programs that we know will help improve child well-being across New Mexico.”

“Investing in early childhood education will generate a significant return for New Mexico and the country. This bill expands high-quality early learning opportunities that promote healthy development, and prepare our kids for long-term academic achievement.” Heinrich said. “Ensuring children have access to quality and affordable education at every age will improve child well-being, help students compete for 21st century jobs, and bolster New Mexico’s struggling economy.”

Research has shown that children who attend high-quality preschool programs are more likely to graduate from high school and have higher earnings as adults, and less likely to be held back in school, require remedial education, engage in criminal activity, or use social safety net programs later in life. Read more about the Strong Start for America’s Children Act.

The Strong Start for America’s Children Act was led by U.S. Senator Patty Murray. In addition to Udall and Heinrich, the bill is cosponsored by Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

The following organizations have expressed their support for the Strong Start for America’s Children Act: Alliance for Children and Families; America’s Edge; American Federation of School Administrators; AFL-CIO; American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; American Federation of Teachers; Association of American Publishers; BUILD Initiative; Center for American Progress Action Fund; Champions for America’s Future; Child Care Aware; Child Care Law Center; Children’s Defense Fund; CLASP; Coalition on Human Needs; Common Sense Kids Action; Council for Exceptional Children; Democrats for Education Reform; Easter Seals; The EVERY Child Matters Education Fund; Fair Share; Fight Crime: Invest in Kids; First Five Years Fund; First Focus Campaign for Children; Generations United; Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) USA; International Reading Association; Jack and Jill of America, Inc.; The Leadership Conference; Learning Disabilities Association of America; LISC; Literate Nation; Mission: Readiness; Moms Rising; National Association for the Education of Young Children; National Association of Elementary School Principals; National Association for Family Child Care; National Association of State Directors of Special Education; National Association for Music Education; National Black Child Development Institute; National Center for Families Learning; National Center for Learning Disabilities; National Children’s Facilities Network; National Council of Jewish Women; National Education Association; National Head Start Association; National PTA; National Title 1 Association; National Urban League; National Women’s Law Center; Nemours; NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby; 9 to 5; Parents as Teachers; RESULTS; Save the Children; Scholastic; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); Shepherding the Next Generation; Stand for Children; Teaching Strategies; United Way; Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families.