Delaney Introduces Legislation to Create Nationwide Pre-K for All
WASHINGTON – Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) has filed legislation to create nationwide access to free pre-K for four-year-old children. The Early Learning Act provides state governments with federal funding to establish or expand their pre-K programs. Delaney’s legislation makes access to free pre-K for all a reality in all 50 states.
The legislation establishes The Early Education Trust Fund which will distribute block grants to participating states. The Early Education Trust Fund will be funded by a 1.5% increase on individual income, dividends and capital gains above $500,000. This provides states with up to $8,000 in funding per student, per year for pre-k.
“Experts agree that students enrolled in pre-k perform better in school, are more likely to graduate and have better long term economic prospects. Pre-k also makes it less likely that students will need help later in their education, will be less likely to be enrolled in special education programs and less likely to repeat a grade. Expanding pre-k is one of the smartest, most fiscally-sound investments we can make, because the long-term benefits lead to lower long-term public costs,” said Congressman Delaney. “Research shows that pre-k for all is one of the most transformative things we can do to reduce the achievement gap and help low-income students thrive. I don’t want any child born in America to start kindergarten a step behind simply because of their background. The Early Learning Act provides states with the funding they need to establish pre-k for all programs that the American people overwhelmingly want. Let’s work together to make pre-k for all a reality.”
The Early Learning Act
Universal, High Quality Pre-K
- The Early Learning Act provides funding for states to establish universal pre-k for four-year-old students or expand existing programs.
- Funding can only be directed towards state-certified programs that are accredited and not-for-profit.
- To participate, states must establish universal access to free pre-k programs. Funding is tied to the number of students enrolled, incentivizing high enrollment levels.
- A substantial amount of academic research, drawing on decades of data, shows that pre-k produces better educational, career and economic outcomes for students. Studies have found that pre-k reduces the achievement gap and helps low-income students succeed. By reducing long-term costs and improving outcomes, pre-k has also been found to produce a significant multiplier effect as a public investment.
National Funding for State-Based Programs
- The Early Learning Act establishes the Early Education Trust Fund, a federal fund administered by the Department of Education.
- The fund will provide block grants to participating states at a level of up to $8,000 per student per year.
- States will have flexibility to implement program details at their discretion.
- The Early Education Trust Fund is paid for by a surtax of 1.5% on income, dividends and capital gains above $500,000, impacting less than 1% of households in the United States.
- The Early Education Trust Fund acts as a lockbox, ensuring that this revenue can only be used for pre-k.
- The Early Learning Act does not increase the deficit and is budget neutral.
- The Early Learning Act funds new state-based programs and is not an unfunded mandate.
 “The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40: Summary, Conclusions and Frequently Asked Questions.” Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Jeanne Montie, Zongping Xiang, W. Steven Barnett, Clive R. Belfield and Milagros Nores. http://www.highscope.org/file/Research/PerryProject/specialsummary_rev2011_02_2.pdf
 “New Research: Early Education’s Influence on the Achievement Gap.” Conor Williams, Senior Researcher, Early Education Initiative, New America Foundation. http://www.edcentral.org/research-early-education-influence-achievement-gap/
 “Trust the Data: Pre-K is Good for Texas Kids.” Cynthia Osborne, Director of the Child and Family Research Partnership, The University of Texas at Austin. http://news.utexas.edu/2015/04/30/trust-the-data-pre-k-is-good-for-texas-kids. “Getting the Facts Right on Pre-K and the President’s Pre-K Proposal”. W. Steven Barnett, PhD. National Institute for Early Education Research. http://www.nieer.org/sites/nieer/files/Getting%20the%20Facts%20Right%20on%20Pre-K.pdf