The U.S. Senate is going to take up a bill to revise the Child Care and Development Block Grant program—which hasn’t been renewed since 1996—as soon as next week. In fact, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the majority leader, just announced consideration of the bill on the Senate floor Thursday morning.
The politics here are interesting. Early-childhood education has gotten plenty of attention in the past several years, thanks to a lot of action at the state level, plus a big, new $75 billion initiative proposed by President Barack Obama. But the high cost of the administration’s initiative means that it’s unlikely to be signed into law anytime soon.
But the CCDBG program—an existing program that helps low-income families cover the cost of child care and after-school programs—is a different story. An honest-to-goodness bipartisan bill to reauthorize CCDBG sailed through the Senate education committee over the summer. That legislation would help states focus the block grant dollars on improving the quality of child-care programs, not just bolstering access. Meanwhile, Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee, said nice things about the measure at a recent House hearing on early-childhood programs. Much more in this story.