April 07, 2017

Castro Introduces Legislation to Provide Local Pre-K Programs Direct Access to Federal Funding

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), founding co-chair of the Congressional Pre-K Caucus, introduced legislation that will help eligible local education entities across the country access federal prekindergarten (pre-k) funding. The Pre-K for USA Act provides school districts with a direct line to federal funding, eliminating their reliance on states to access federal pre-k dollars.    
“Over the years, states like Texas have failed to prioritize pre-k, causing young children to miss out on critical early learning and fall behind their peers in other states and countries,” said Rep. Castro. “The Pre-K for USA Act allows localities and educational entities to bypass state governments and secure the federal resources they need to support prekindergarten programs. Investing in early education is an investment in the next generation of workers and in our nation’s future economic strength.”
Congressman Castro introduced similar versions of the Pre-K for USA Act in the 113th and 114th Congresses. The current legislation includes updates to better coordinate access to funding under section 9212 (the Preschool Development Grants program) of the Every Student Succeeds Act. For states that do not apply for funding under section 9212, localities will have an opportunity to expand pre-k access through this dedicated funding stream.
Across the country, cities and counties have implemented their own programs to support prekindergarten, including Pre-K for SA in San Antonio, which has been a model for the nation. The Pre-K for USA Act creates additional avenues for accessing resources that can spur the establishment of new initiatives and help existing programs expand.
“Studies show that kids who complete high-quality pre-k programs have more academic and career success than young people who don’t gain that education,” added Rep. Castro. “Expanding access to early learning increases opportunity for Americans and should be a priority at every level of government.”