November 18, 2015


Washington, D.C. - Yesterday, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) introduced legislation that will help eligible education and government entities across the country access federal prekindergarten (pre-k) funding. The Pre-K for USA Act creates new prekindergarten development grants and provides school districts and local entities with a direct line to federal funding, eliminating their reliance on states to access federal pre-k dollars.    

"Studies show that students who attend high-quality pre-k have better educational outcomes than their peers who lack access to early education," said Rep. Castro. "Despite these proven, long-term benefits, some states, including Texas are slashing funding available for pre-k programs and declining federal aid. The Pre-K for USA Act makes it possible for localities and educational entities to bypass state governments and secure the federal resources they need to lay a solid foundation of learning for our nation's youngest students."

In recent years, the state of Texas eliminated $200 million in pre-k grants and missed out on more than $118 million of federal prekindergarten funding.

Across the country, cities and counties are implementing 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.

Congressman Castro introduced a similar version of the Pre-K for USA Act in the 113th Congress to provide local educational agencies and local government entities a chance to apply for pre-k funding. The current legislation includes comprehensive, thoughtful changes to the original bill in an effort to create even more opportunities for pre-k programs to access federal funds when states fail to act.  

"Increasing access to high-quality prekindergarten programs will improve our students' long-term performance in school and strengthen our future workforce," added Rep. Castro. "When we invest in our kids, America succeeds."

The First Five Years Fund and Collaborative for Children have offered their support for the Pre-K for USA Act.