A Federal Bill to Address Rural Early Childhood Education

On March 26th, four members of the United States Congress introduced legislation known as the Rural Early Education Access Act (H.R.1755). Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT), Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA) sponsored the bill as a means to help children living in rural areas access high-quality early childhood education programs. At present, many rural areas do not have enough resources to create and sustain high-quality early education services. Therefore, children in rural areas may not have access to the beneficial programming that children from more urban areas have. According to a paper published by Pre-K Now, “the need for federal support for early education has become especially urgent in rural areas where school readiness lags behind and special education-placement rates exceed those in urban and suburban areas.”

Specifically the bill would allocate federal grants to states to improve access to high-quality early education programs for children in rural areas. These grants could be given to local school districts to create new rural facilities, to recruit early childhood professionals to teach in rural areas, to improve transportation to and from programs, and to provide rural early childhood educators with professional development opportunities. You can read more about the bill here.

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