Early Learning Challenge Fund
Last Thursday, September 17, the US House of Representatives passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (H.R. 3221) with a vote of 251 to 171. This bill restructures student loan procedures, uses the savings to invest in other areas of education, and includes substantial investments in early childhood education through the Early Learning Challenge Fund. The fund will offer competitive grants to states to enhance the quality of early learning for children ages birth to five. Secretaries Duncan and Sebelius have posted a response to the passage of the bill. You can read it here. A version of this bill is expected to be considered by the Senate soon.
Changes in Five-Year-Old Kindergarten Requirements
On Wednesday, September 16, the Wisconsin Assembly passed AB119- a bill that would change current mandates regarding enrollment in, and completion of, 5-year-old Kindergarten. Beginning in 2011-2012, completion of 5-year-old Kindergarten would be a prerequisite for entering first grade in any public or charter school. School districts would be allowed to make their own rules for parents and guardians to receive an exemption from this mandate. Along with enrollment and completion requirements, the bill would also call for regular attendance by 5-year-old Kindergarten students throughout the school year. On September 22, the bill was concurred in by the Senate with a vote of 17-15.
Changes in Child Care Fraud Liability
On Thursday, September 17, the Wisconsin committee on Children and Families and Workforce Development in the Senate unanimously passed SB280 out of their committee and on to the full Senate. In the bill, if a child care provider commits fraud within the Wisconsin Shares subsidy program, is part of a corporation or limited liability company, and is unable to pay back what they owe, then any person who holds 20 percent or more of ownership interest in the child care facility and who has control of/responsibility for the business may be personally liable. The Assembly Committee on Children and Families will hold a public hearing on the bill (AB412) on September 30, 2009 at 11:00 AM in Capitol room 400 Northeast.