The Student Success Act was signed into law on May 20th by Governor Kate Brown. We are thrilled to see that early learning is a large part of this historic legislation. The Act states that beginning in 2020, at least 20 percent of funding from new revenue will go to an early learning account, which will support existing and new early learning programs. This should lead to about $400 million in new investments per biennium for early learning programs.
Here’s what the Early Learning Division is expecting to put those resources toward:
· Serving about 6,000 more children birth-to-five in high-quality early care and education by adding:
o 1,200 slots for infants and toddlers in Early Head Start
o 4,600 high quality preschool slots between Preschool Promise and Oregon Prekindergarten
· A new Equity Fund that will allow the Early Learning Division to partner with culturally-specific organizations to deliver early learning programming and reach families with young children who have been historically underserved.
· A redesigned and resourced professional learning system for birth to five educators. This work includes a partnership with the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to create a scholarship program for early educators.
· New investments in critical family support programs including the expansion of Healthy Families Oregon, Relief Nurseries, and parenting education.
· Additional resources for the Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education program, administered by ODE, to provide new opportunities for ELD and ODE to align their work and ensure children with developmental delays and disabilities receive needed supports and services.
· Additional resources to build the capacity of the Early Learning Division, Early Learning Hubs and CCR&Rs to carry out this work in communities.
It is no understatement to say that this investment will significantly impact supports and services for children and families across Oregon. At Early Learning Multnomah, we’ll be working with our partners to disrupt the structural barriers families of color face in our community and ensure that resources are culturally sustaining and linguistically appropriate.