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The Strong Start for Children Act Would Benefit Children and Families Across America

We applaud the effort of Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Representative George Miller (D-CA) for introducing federal legislation that addresses the educational needs of all children in the earliest years, from birth to age five. Too many American children do not have access to the quality, nurturing early education that we know is critical to their future success.

The Strong Start for Children Act of 2013 promises to correct these problems and reverse the trends, at a time when children need us like never before. More children are living in poverty than previously believed, and more are at risk of chronic health conditions like asthma, obesity and autism. All children deserve a shot at success, but more and more are missing out as they fall victim to our poor planning and lack of public and political support.

I am delighted to see that quality of care is a focus of this legislation, which is critical to ensuring that all children form a strong basis for future learning. A new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds the country’s third graders have largely not gained the age-appropriate cognitive skills that are necessary for their future successes. Children of color are particularly vulnerable. Other recent reports demonstrate that early education opportunities are too unaffordable and inaccessible for far too many families. 

The proposed legislation gives states the flexibility they need to meet the diverse needs of their populations, suited to the unique needs of their governments. It offers a partnership with states that will support early childhood development by targeting the different kinds of programs, educators and early learning facilities that are designed to help children and families in need.

This legislation is a necessary investment in our society and our future, and I will look forward to its future implementation. 

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