Early Childhood Learning@100%: Innovation 9
Strengthening Local Services
The projects presented in the ten innovations areas are all designed to address barriers to vital services. Action teams should review all projects and prioritize those that have the best chance of addressing the barriers identified in the 100% New Mexico countywide survey. Your collaborative and result-focused local work is nothing less than heroic.
Project: Early Childhood Learning.9.1
Project 1: The “know your state and federal options” project
Rare is the urban or rural early childhood learning program or agency that doesn’t get by without a lot of help and guidance from the state or federal government (or both). Knowing a bit about those relationships will provide helpful background information and relationship-building to empower potential funding for a local agency.
There are significant differences that exist between how pre-K is funded compared to K–12. Most states — 43 and the District of Columbia — rely on general revenues, while about 15 programs require a local match. State funding for preschool may include a variety of sources, including: lottery funds, gaming revenues, sales taxes and general revenues.
States also use a variety of mechanisms to distribute funding to pre-K programs — only 11 include state-funded preschool in their K–12 school funding formulas. A recent analysis of those states found including pre-K financing in the school funding formula led to “better pre-K funding,” that was both more stable and more responsive (https://aae.how/168).
Funding the Future: https://aae.how/165
Project: Early Childhood Learning.9.2
Project 2: The “know how schools get funding” project
Early childhood learning programs are federally funded to schools with Title I, Part A of the No Child Left Behind Act (2001). Title I funds are targeted to high-poverty schools and districts and used to provide educational services to students who are educationally disadvantaged or at risk of failing to meet state standards.
Education Week: https://aae.how/166
Project: Early Childhood Learning.9.3
Project 3: The “Track the support of the US Department of Education” Project
The US Department of Education is tasked with allocation of federal funds to the state level. Through funding mechanisms like preschool development grants, the Race to the Top — Early Learning Challenge, IDEA grants, Title I, Promise Neighborhoods, Investing in Innovations and so many more, money is disbursed to states, and the communities within, to address early childhood learning needs. Many of the funds are channeled to Early Headstart and Headstart programs.
US Department of Education: https://aae.how/167
Project: Early Childhood Learning.9.4
Project 4: The “we need a state coalition to make great things happen” project
Through collaboration and the strategic use of data and technology, all county players working together can find a way to ensure that early childhood learning works. We are not trying to simplify one of our nation’s and the states’ most complex challenges in a sentence. We are advocating for the start of a long-term, local dialogue about how we end early childhood early learning program disparities so every child has a chance to improve and be inspired to learn. Your county and state network can educate local lawmakers about a new role for government: ensuring no parent lacks access to such a vital program as early childhood learning. The coalition can also work to elect officials who will prioritize access to early childhood learning programs. Technology can connect everyone in the network with shared, goals, activities, use of data, communication and messaging, and evaluation processes. Your action teams starts with identifying who is in the lead with early childhood learning program reform.