Today is the Day to Call-in for Kids!

Watch the video above and follow the instructions in our previous blog post to call your legislators! Help us ensure that federal funding for early education does not get cut.

Call-in for kids: November 15, 2010

Congress is back in Washington on Monday, November 15 and has limited time to do some important work: ensure that funding is not cut for child care and Head Start before the end of the year.

Without sufficient funding, as many as to 300,000 children could be dropped from child care and Head Start. Your support could ensure that these children continue to receive care. Also, encourage Congress to create the Early Learning Challenge Fund to encourage states to do even better for young children and families.

Congress is considering appropriations bills that could go backwards in spending for child care and Head Start, and would lose the Early Learning Challenge Fund. Help us tell Congress to move forward and adequately fund the Child Care and Development Block Grant, Head Start, and the Early Learning Challenge Fund.

What can you do?
Call Congress on Monday, November 15!
• Call 1-888-460-0813
• The first person to answer the phone will be an operator who will ask how you want to be connected. Tell the operator the name of your Member of Congress. (Not sure? Look it up here or use http://action.nwlc.org/find_your_elected_officials)
• Once you are connected to the office of your Member of Congress, a staff person will answer the phone. Tell the staff person:
• My name is (name) and I am calling from (city, state). I am a constituent and a (your role: parent, family child care provider, early education advocate, etc.).
• Please make sure that continued funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Head Start is NOT REDUCED in the appropriations bill and that the Early Learning Challenge Fund is included. Funding cuts could drop as many as 300,000 children from child care and Head Start, and the Early Learning Challenge Fund can help states improve the quality of care offered.
• We are counting on you here in Wisconsin. Thank you.

Early Education Could Get a Federal Boost

Earlier this year, President Obama released his budget request for next year (fiscal year 2011). The President called for a ‘freeze’ of total federal discretionary spending over the next three years. Despite this freeze, he has proposed significant increases in discretionary spending on programs that impact children (a $6.12 billion increase over last year)! With this increase, the percentage of total federal discretionary money that will be spent on children’s programs would increase from 18.97% this year to 20.34% next year. Additionally, the President has proposed nearly doubling the Child and Dependent Care tax credit to help more middle class families with the rising cost of child care. Here are some of the programs that the President has requested increased spending in:

The Child Care and Development Block Grant: Total requested increase of $1.6 billion. $800 million of this is proposed to provide additional child care subsidies to working families. The other $800 million is proposed to go towards quality improvements.

Head Start/Early Head Start : Total requested increase of $989 million.

Early Learning Challenge Fund: If passed, this piece of legislation would provide nearly $9 billion over 10 years. Visit our earlier blog post for more information on this effort.

Literacy efforts: The budget request of $250 million for a comprehensive birth through high school literacy grant program which would replaced other efforts like Early Reading First and Reading First. 15% of this total would be reserved for birth to kindergarten efforts.

Child Nutrition efforts: Total requested increase of $1 billion.

Promise Neighborhoods: Total requested increase of $210 million. This effort is modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, and encourages comprehensive programs for children and their families from before they are born to college age. Read our earlier blog post about this effort here.