By Jorge Casares
Legislatures from Hawaii to Maine continued to pave the way for high-quality early childhood education in 2019 through the creation of early childhood advisory councils, cabinets and commissions and the centralization of early learners’ data, resources, and services within state departments of education.
State legislators capitalized on the momentum behind early education and helped schools operate at their best by investing in and streamlining state programs and services.
Legislative actions in this area ranged from requiring curricular alignment between prekindergarten and kindergarten to establishing one state entity as the administrative authority over prekindergarten programs.
As part of a concerted effort to support communities from cradle to career, Alabama has annually made it a legislative priority to look at the education system as a path that leads into the workforce through its Strong Start, Strong Finish initiative—establishing pre-K through third grade as the underpinning of a successful education that often begins at home.
Similarly, Maryland, through its recently enacted Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, will be working to transform its education systems to the levels of high-performing systems worldwide in an effort to close existing opportunity gaps and create educational equity across the state.
As states continue to evaluate and reenvision the purpose of their education systems, actions taken by one legislative body can serve as the kindling necessary to enact change in another.
States Elevate Early Learning, a new NCSL LegisBrief, provides a brief overview of state actions and the early learning policies other states enacted during the 2019 session.
In this brief, you can find examples of legislation that followed six categorical trends: early childhood education governance, literacy standards, school finance, teacher workforce, social and emotional health and school discipline. It also includes a look at federal action, research in the field and fun facts.
For more, please take a look at all legislation introduced and enacted across the U.S. with our interactive 2019 Preschool–Third Grade Education Legislation Tracker.
For other research in education, check out these additional NCSL resources:
Jorge E. Casares is a research analyst in NCSL’s Education Program.