|Ready for School|
Ready for School is a statewide campaign to improve the lives of Oregon’s children and build a stronger economy with wise public investments in high-quality early childhood programs. The campaign is led by a coalition of top business and community leaders who have made it their business to better prepare at-risk children for success in school and later life. Make it your business, too!
A look back at the 2013 legislative session
Sowing the seeds of success with early learning strategic grants
Oregon took another major step in its 2013 Legislative session toward the transformation of its early learning system. This session builds on the work that was started two years ago when the Legislature authorized the creation of the Early Learning Council to take a more comprehensive look at how early childhood services are delivered and articulate a new vision for Oregon. This session took important next steps toward making that vision a reality with the passage of HB 2013, sending it to Governor Kitzhaber’s desk for signature. HB 2013 joins another historic early education bill, HB 3234. Early childhood programs such as Oregon Head Start Pre-K either maintained their funding or received substantial increases.
HB 2013 contains one of the Children’s Institute’s and Ready for School’s highest priorities for this legislative session: the creation of the Early Learning Kindergarten Readiness Partnership and Innovation Fund. This $4 million Partnership and Innovation Fund will help local schools and early childhood programs build the connections that sustain gains made in early childhood through the early elementary years that we know are crucial for long-term success.
HB 2013 also launches seven regional Early Learning Hubs this year and another nine to cover the rest of the state the following year. Through these Hubs, communities will be able to coordinate and tailor early learning services to best meet the needs of children and families. We know that communities across the state have already begun robust conversations about how come together to form these hubs and reorganize how early childhood services are delivered.
HB 3234 creates a new Early Learning Division within the Department of Education, consolidating the administration of key early childhood programs such as Oregon Head Start Prekindergarten, Healthy Start and child-care licensing. The formation of the Early Learning Council was an important step in raising the profile of early childhood and creating a focused early learning policy agenda for Oregon. We believe that an Early Learning Division will improve the coordination, focus and accountability of our early childhood program, and, will ensure that we are delivering results for children and families – and for Oregon.
The next year will be an incredibly exciting one for early childhood in Oregon as the new Early Learning Division takes shape, as Early Learning Hubs are launched and communities work together on Partnership and Innovation Fund projects.