Elementary Principals Support Strong Start Bill

Elementary Principals Support Strong Start Bill
The Strong Start for America’s Children Act of 2015 would authorize federal investment in high-quality early learning opportunities.

Contact: Kaylen Tucker,  ktucker@naesp.org or 703-518-6257

May 20, 2015; Reston, VA – The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) joined advocates from the early childhood community today to support bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress that will significantly expand the nation’s investment in early childhood education. The Strong Start for America’s Children Act of 2015 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, together with the Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Rep. Richard L. Hanna (R-NY).

“NAESP is pleased that the legislation has been reintroduced, and we urge Congress to consider it a priority, especially as the work to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is underway,” said Gail Connelly, NAESP Executive Director. “Early childhood education is critical to creating a seamless continuum of learning for every child from age three to grade three, or Pre-K-3, which begins with high-quality preschool that is connected to full-day kindergarten and alignment of early childhood and K-3 standards, curriculum, and instruction,” said Connelly.

The legislation authorizes federal expansion of early childhood education programs, including funds for school districts and Early Head Start, where states provide matching funds to improve universal access to high quality prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-old children, especially those living in poverty. The bill encourages states to align early learning standards with K-12 systems to provide developmentally appropriate education and address domains of school readiness, including physical well-being, motor development, social-emotional development, literacy and language development, approaches to learning, cognition, and early math and scientific development. Read more about the Strong Start for America's Children Act here.

“The nation’s success in preparing college- and career-ready students depends on investment in early childhood education, and reorienting K-3 education so that schools and classrooms are organized in ways that foster the development and growth of young children. This bill is a much-needed and worthy investment in the future of our country,” Connelly noted.

As the national representative of the nation’s elementary and middle-level principals, NAESP will continue to advocate for the reauthorization of ESEA, and support of the Strong Start legislation and alignment of pre-K through K-12 learning. By bringing pre-K practices in line with those in kindergarten and the early school years, principals provide a coherent, related set of experiences for children during the first critical years of schooling. Policy and systems must shift to support a Pre-K-3 learning system by identifying important areas of focus, such as leadership practices that are developmentally appropriate.

The federal investment in high-quality early childhood education is needed to bolster state systems in early learning as student success relies on systems and schools to provide a seamless continuum of learning for children. NAESP has developed Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice, which is a set of principles that can guide principals in creating and supporting connections between the worlds of birth to five and K-12 in order to build successful Pre-K-3 continuums in their schools.

Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) serves elementary and middle school principals in the United States, Canada, and overseas. NAESP supports principals as the primary catalyst for creating lasting foundations for learning through policy development, advocacy, and resources for effective instructional leadership. NAESP seeks to advance the principalship and address issues in pre-K-3 alignment, principal preparation and evaluation, and building the capacity of new principals. For more information about NAESP, please visit www.naesp.org.