Implications for PreK-12 Education in Trump’s New Budget

On Monday afternoon, the Trump administration released its FY 2019 budget. While the budget proposal was quickly dismissed by some as “dead on arrival,” it is still an important indicator of the administration’s priorities for the upcoming year.

The proposal includes a 5.6 percent decrease in funding to the Department of Education. If enacted, this would amount to a total funding cut of $3.8 billion compared to what was enacted in the 2017 fiscal year. The administration originally sought a far larger cut of $7.1 billion to the department, but $3.3 billion were restored in an addendum that reflects the increased spending levels reached in last week’s congressional spending deal.

The proposal also includes a 21 percent decrease in funding to the Department of Health and Human Services, requesting a total of $68.4 billion for HHS. HHS is where many early care and education programs are housed, such as Head Start and grants to subsidize child care.

This post provides an overview of what the proposed budget means for public education.

Source: New America

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Improving the Odds 


Recent research and advocacy efforts have led funders, politicians, and the business community to agree that the first years of a child’s life can determine the rest of their development. Across ideological divides, there is consensus that investing early makes sense—it helps children prepare for successful futures and creates a high return on investment of public dollars.

We have created this short guide, featuring examples and how-to’s based on our work with more than a dozen foundations working to make progress in the early care and education space. The guide highlights 7 principles to help funders understand and anticipate the challenges and opportunities of supporting early care and education, including practical advice on how to:

  • Inclusively identify and constructively connect the many actors that provide quality care and education to children and their families.
  • Navigate challenges that arise from a sector filled with different approaches and business models.
  • Balance long-term strategies and outcome measures with short-term wins and progress markers.

Source: FSG

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Health Literacy and Consumer-Facing Technology: Workshop Summary


The proliferation of consumer-facing technology and personal health information technology has grown steadily over the past decade, and has certainly exploded over the past several years. Many people have embraced smartphones and wearable health-monitoring devices to track their fitness and personal health information. Providers have made it easier for patients and caregivers to access health records and communicate through online patient portals. However, the large volume of health-related information that these devices can generate and input into a health record can also lead to an increased amount of confusion on the part of users and caregivers.

The Institute of Medicine convened a workshop to explore health literate practices in health information technology and then provide and consider the ramifications of this rapidly growing field on the health literacy of users. Health Literacy and Consumer-Facing Technology summarizes the discussions and presentations from this workshop, highlighting the lessons presented, practical strategies, and the needs and opportunities for improving health literacy in consumer-facing technology.

Source: The National Academies Press

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Investing in Solutions for Two Generations: The $1 Million Aspen Institute Ascend Fund | Ascend



A modern housing campus for single mothers and their children provides on-site high-quality early care and education and career and mental health counselors, and is in close proximity to a college campus that helps the mothers complete career-focused degrees.  While in the program, the mothers advance their education, leading to greater income and financial stability for themselves and their children.


A Head Start center partners with a local community college to offer parents of enrolled children skills training to become nurses.  The young children are achieving kindergarten readiness, while their parents are moving into stable career paths, and building productive relationships with other students and teachers along the way.


A state human services department provides matched savings accounts for children enrolled in publically funded child care programs.  The children and their parents start planning for college as early as two years old, learning the value of saving, build their financial capability and open their first bank account resulting in new educational pathways and economic security for their families.

Source: The Aspen Institute

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Leaders Struggle to Find Votes for Farm Bill Without Food Stamps


House GOP leaders’ plan to strip food stamps from the farm bill ran into trouble Tuesday when it failed to win over conservative groups who helped tank the measure three weeks ago.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has been quietly pushing to separate food stamps from the farm provisions for two weeks in an effort to find 218 Republican votes.

A House GOP leadership aide said Tuesday that Republican leaders had decided to drop food stamps and proceed with a farm-only portion of the bill this week. The new bill would include a repeal of the 1949 law that requires the passage or extension of a farm bill as a carrot to conservatives. The nutrition portion of the bill, the aide said, would be dealt with later. But GOP leaders have yet to announce an official way forward as they struggle to line up the votes.

Source: Roll Call

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HHS awards $32 million in grants to sign up children for health coverage


Today, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced nearly $32 million in grants for efforts to identify and enroll children eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment Grants were awarded to 41 state agencies, community health centers, school-based organizations and non-profit groups in 22 states; two grantees are multistate organizations.

“Today’s grants will ensure that more children across the nation have access to the quality health care they need,” said Secretary Sebelius. “We are drawing from successful children’s health coverage outreach and enrollment efforts to help promote enrollment this fall in Medicaid and the new Health Insurance Marketplace.”

Efforts to streamline Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal practices, combined with robust outreach activities, have helped reduce the number of uninsured children.  Since 2008, 1.7 million children have gained coverage and the rate of uninsured children has dropped to 6.6 percent in 2012.

Grants were made in five focus areas:

  • Engaging schools in outreach, enrollment and retention activities (9 awards);
  • Reducing health coverage disparities by reaching out to subgroups of children that are less likely to have health coverage (8 awards);
  • Streamlining enrollment for individuals participating in other public benefit programs such as nutritional or other assistance programs (3 awards);
  • Improving application assistance resources to provide high quality, reliable Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal services in local communities (13 awards); and
  • Training communities to help families understand the new application and enrollment system and to deliver effective assistance to families with children eligible for Medicaid or CHIP (8 awards).

These awards are part of the $140 million included in the Affordable Care Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009 for enrollment and renewal outreach.

The grants will build on the Secretary’s Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge to find and enroll all eligible children and support outreach strategies that have been shown to be successful.

Grant amounts range from $190,000 to $1 million. For a list of grantees, please visit:

Learn more at

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services

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Virtual Baby Rally » Learning Happens From The Start

The date for The Virtual Baby Rally will be:
July 8, 2013, 2:00 – 2:30PM (EST)

Event Host:
Soledad O’Brien, Award winning journalist and CEO of Starfish Media Group

Featured Guests:
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Secretary Arne Duncan, U.S. Department of Education

Jennifer Garner, Actor and Save the Children Artist Ambassador

Alma Powell, Chair of the Board at America’s Promise Alliance

Laurie Berkner, Children’s Musician

ZERO TO THREE, with more than a dozen co-sponsoring organizations, is hosting Rally4Babies: Learning Happens Right from the Start to rally Americans around early learning policies that focus specifically on babies and toddlers.

The virtual baby rally will be streamed live on YouTube using Google+ Hangouts on Air, and will feature prominent speakers in a live program about why we need our early learning policies to begin at birth. You can participate in the rally from wherever you are by accessing YouTube. The recording of the Virtual Baby Rally will be available after the live event for people who could not participate live. Check this page often for updates!

Source: Rally for Babies

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The State of the World’s Children 2013 – Children with Disabilities

See the child – before the disability, urges new report

Children with disabilities and their communities both benefit if society focuses on what those children can achieve, rather than what they canno

Source: UNICEF

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Power to the Preschoolers


“Spread the word about President Obama’s plan to provide high-quality preschool for every kid in America,” twittered the White House on Wednesday. We all know that nothing on the planet compares to the awesome power of social media. But it may require more than a hashtag to bring this one home.

You may remember that earlier this spring, the president unveiled a budget plan that included a big initiative on early childhood education. Universal pre-K for 4-year-olds! More programs for low-income infants and toddlers! Big push for higher quality! And to help pay for it all, a new 94-cents-per-pack tax on cigarettes.

Everybody was so excited. “This is going to be wonderful,” said former Vice President Walter Mondale. (We will stop here for one minute and recall that when Mondale was in the Senate, he successfully led a bipartisan effort to make quality preschool programs available to every American family. Then Richard Nixon vetoed the bill. Flash forward 42 years, and here we are, backward.)

But about Obama’s plan. How could this not work out? The nation’s fabled upward mobility has come to a screeching halt because low-income kids start behind in kindergarten and never catch up. Nobody has come up with a better idea for fixing the problem than early childhood education.

Source: The New York Times

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President Proposes Smart and Urgent Investment with Early Learning Plan

The Academic Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recently called child poverty: “the most important problem facing children in the US today.” Nearly half of our youngest children, under age 6, live in households earning less than twice the federal poverty level, or $23,550 for a family of four. From children’s earliest days, public investments fall far short of meeting their needs. And for both low- and middle-income families, the public safeguards and supports that have buttressed them during challenging times now face serious threats. Cuts under the federal budget sequester are in place and will get worse in future years. The country’s safety net, which has deteriorated from having gaping holes to now being nearly shredded, is insufficient to help those who lost jobs and income in the recent recession.

This disinvestment in programs to help low-income families is not without consequence. Poverty robs young children of the developmental and educational inputs they need during a critical period of early development. The result: increasing numbers of children arriving in kindergarten without the fundamental skills they need for success in school and in life. With more children in households falling out of the middle class, we cannot afford, as a country, to ignore this crisis any longer.

We can do much to reduce poverty and increase opportunity in this country. And central to nearly every serious plan is a significant investment in child care and early education.The long term effects of high-quality early education for disadvantaged children have been well-documented. The return on investment has been calculated. The positive impact on the economy has been quantified. Economists, educators, business leaders, and policymakers alike have recognized the significant need for and substantial benefits of affordable, quality child care and early education for both children and parents.

Source: Center for Law and Social Policy

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