(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, together with U.S. Representatives Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5), Elijah E. Cummings (MD-7), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2), John P. Sarbanes (MD-3), Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-1), Anthony Brown (MD-4), Jamie Raskin (MD-8) and David Trone (MD-6) announced today that Maryland has been awarded $10.6 million through the Preschool Development Grants Birth through Five program to conduct a statewide, comprehensive birth through age five needs assessment for Maryland’s children. In October 2018, Maryland’s full Congressional Delegation urged Secretary Alex Azar of the Department of Health and Human Services to support the Maryland State Department of Education’s grant application.
“I’m proud that the Maryland State Department of Education has secured $10.6 million in federal funds to conduct a statewide assessment of what must be done to ensure that Maryland students have quality childhood education programs,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. “The federal funds announced today will strengthen existing and future federal-state investments in childhood education, and go a long way toward helping students excel when entering kindergarten.”
“To best prepare our children for the future, we have to start early,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees. “This investment in Maryland’s children will help ensure that they get the care they need and the education they deserve in order to succeed. I was proud to support this funding – grants like this benefit all Marylanders and are key to our children’s success.”
“I’m very pleased that the state of Maryland has again received funding through the Preschool Development Grants program,” said Congressman Hoyer. “As we have seen in past years, this federal investment will help improve upon our existing early childhood infrastructure including, Judy Centers, which provide comprehensive services and education to children and families. These new funds are an important step in ensuring the success of children and families in Maryland.”
“I often say that our children are the living messages that we send to a future we will never see, and nurturing a student’s early development is crucial to fostering their future success. I applaud the Maryland State Department of Education for securing $10.6 million in federal funds to assess childhood education programs statewide so that we can ensure every young student has access to the skills needed to excel when entering kindergarten,” said Congressman Cummings.
“This is the type of common sense investment Americans want and expect,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “Research suggests that Pre-K can improve a child’s chance of success in school and in life – children who attend Pre-K are more likely to graduate from high school, earn more as adults and avoid involvement in our criminal justice system. This is an investment in our future.”
“This new federal investment in Maryland’s children will help improve early childhood education and services across our state,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “I was proud to work alongside my colleagues in the Maryland Congressional Delegation to secure these important funds.”
“I want to thank this administration for granting funds to help ensure Maryland’s preschool children in need receive a high quality education. Thank you to Secretary Azar for his response to the Maryland delegation’s request – assuring these federal funds will help benefit preschool children who need strong education programs,” said Congressman Harris.
“One of the greatest sources of inequality in our country is the inability for every American family to access early childhood education,” said Congressman Brown. “When we give every child the opportunity to succeed, every child can succeed, and set themselves down the path toward long-term achievement. This federal funding is a significant step to ensure more of Maryland’s families have the opportunity to set their children up for success, and a reminder that our work is not done until we realize our goal of universal pre-K.”
“I’m thrilled that Maryland was chosen to receive this money to conduct a statewide study of early childhood needs. We are committed to getting the information and following through with the policies we need to guarantee all kids are ready to excel when they get to kindergarten,” said Congressman Raskin.
“There is nothing more important than investing in the next generation, and that starts with early childhood education,” said Congressman Trone. “This federal funding will help ensure that we do everything we can to set up our children for success at an early age.”
Preschool programs help create the foundation for children to thrive in school and in life. Studies show that children who participate in quality preschool programs are more likely to graduate from high school, grow up healthy, avoid involvement in our criminal justice system and find good jobs.
Maryland is one of 45 states to receive a Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initial Grant, which were designed to target a comprehensive statewide birth through five needs assessment, strategic planning, parent choice and knowledge about mixed deliver systems, and sharing best practices prior to implementation of any quality initiatives states identify in a strategic plan developed based on what they identify through their statewide birth through five needs assessment. Maryland is one of nine states that received the maximum award.
According to the Maryland State Department of Education, the grant will cover the cost of:
- 8 Regional Town Halls across Maryland to conduct a Statewide Prenatal to Age 5 Needs Assessment to improve access and quality to early childhood education programs with a focus on our most vulnerable children
- Funding for all 24 local Early Childhood Advisory Councils
- Training and coaching for 200 early childhood educators on Maryland's new 4-year-old integrated curriculum
- Modernization of Maryland's early childhood data system
- Supports for early childhood programs to reach higher quality tiers in Maryland EXCELS
- Technical assistance to support the growing population of Dual Language Learners
- An inventory of Higher Education early childhood programs
- Investments in family engagement activities
- Grants for libraries to support children without access to early childhood programs.
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