Early Childhood

State Legislatures Approve New Plans to Strengthen Early Learning

By Christina A. Samuels — December 02, 2013 1 min read

This calendar year saw more than three dozen laws enacted in 25 states that in some way support early learning, according to a list of enacted legislation compiled by the Denver-based Education Commission of the States. Among the new initiatives are the creation of statewide prekindergarten programs in Hawaii and Mississippi; a new mandate that early elementary teachers in Ohio must pass a test in principles of scientifically-based reading instruction; and the expansion of home visiting programs in Arkansas.

Emily Workman, a policy analyst with ECS who researched the new laws, said the variety of legislative efforts shows that states are considering creative ways to boost early learning, even as a federal proposal to expand early childhood education seems bogged down in Congress.

“States are not sitting back to see what happens” with $75 billion proposal to expand early learning, Workman said. “These are all great moves; even if states don’t have $30 million to spend, they’re coming up with a host of really great ways to support early childhood.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.