Monday, U.S. Senators Doug Jones (D-Alabama), Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania), introduced the bipartisan Creating Early Childhood Leaders Act, which would ensure school leaders are able to effectively support early education teachers and provide children with high-quality early learning programs.
“Alabama has a nationally recognized pre-k program that is hailed for its high quality, and it’s important that the educators that serve those classrooms are well-trained,” said Senator Jones, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. “This bipartisan legislation will encourage training to help guide kids through this crucial time in their development.”
Sponsors say that the Creating Early Childhood Leaders Act would ensure principals and school leaders are able to effectively support pre-kindergarten teachers and programs, as well as assist pre-kindergarten students through the transition from pre-K through second grade. Specifically, the legislation would amend Title II of the Higher Education Act by adding provisions to encourage recipients of Teacher Quality Partnership Grants to include training on early childhood development and effective instructional leadership for children ages zero through eight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other organizations, critical brain development occurs in a child’s first years.
“The importance of early childhood education cannot be overstated,” Senator Romney said. “It is absolutely essential that our teachers are adequately prepared to provide the best instruction to our children. This legislation will ensure that Utah’s public school leaders receive the support needed to guide and evaluate those who teach our youngest people, at such a critical stage in their development.”
“Investing in early childhood education is a benefit to both our students and our economy. When children learn more earlier, they earn more later,” Senator Casey said. “The Creating Early Childhood Leaders Act will ensure that we equip our school leaders and teachers with the tools and resources they need to effectively support the emotional, social and academic development of young children in Pennsylvania and across the Nation.”
Alabama has made a major investment in increasing the number of Pre-K classrooms during the Kay Ivey (R) administration in an effort to improve school performance. Alabama schools are frequently ranked near the bottom in rankings for science, math, and reading. In recent NAEP scores, Alabama’s school children were the worst in the entire country in math knowledge, with only 21 percent of eighth graders being proficient in math.
Senator Jones is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
Jones is seeking re-election in the 2020 election. Jones was elected in a special election in 2017.