Federal funds will support efforts to expand access to voluntary, high-quality preschool in 11 Virginia communities
Oct 02 2015
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) praised today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Education that Virginia will receive $17.5 million in funds under the Preschool Development Grants program to expand access to early childhood education.
The funds will go to further expand preschool access in the high need communities of Brunswick, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Giles, Henrico, Norfolk, Petersburg, Prince William, Richmond, Sussex, and Winchester. The state will distribute funding to each community.
“Research has shown that early childhood education is critical for lifelong learning and successful development,” Sen. Warner said. “These additional dollars will help support the Commonwealth’s efforts to expand access to high-quality preschool for children from low- and moderate-income families. I will continue to fight for this important program, which helps ensure that Virginia’s children have a fair shot at being college and career ready.”
“We know that 90 percent of brain development occurs before a child’s fifth birthday, and investing in early childhood education helps close the achievement gap between children of all backgrounds,” Sen. Kaine said. “Today’s announcement is not just an investment in education, it’s an investment in our children’s – and our nation’s - future success. I’m proud that Virginia’s early childhood education programs have been a model of excellence. I will always support their expansion, as well as continue to look for ways to increase access to these fantastic programs nationwide.”
This is the second year that Virginia has received $17.5 million in competitive federal grants through the program, which supports states in their efforts to build or enhance infrastructure to enable the delivery of high-quality preschool services to children. The program also supports the expansion of high-quality preschool programs in targeted communities that would serve as models for expanding preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.
The Republican-led Senate and House Appropriations Committees have approved spending bills that would eliminate funding for the Preschool Development Grants program. Under the committee proposals, an estimated 6,000 additional children in Virginia would lose out on the opportunity to attend preschool if the program is eliminated after this fiscal year.