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Victory!

 

The Children’s Institute, Ready for School advocates and a broad range of partners worked together to win some huge victories for Oregon’s young children during the 2015 Oregon legislative session. We focused especially on three priorities, all of which won support from the Legislature for the 2015-2017 biennium:

 

  • Expanding Access to High Quality Preschool: A $27 million investment in high-quality preschool for more children from low-income Oregon families. The legislation allows a mix of preschool providers – Head Start programs, school districts and private community preschools – to receive state funding to help ensure that children from low-income families are ready for kindergarten and on track for long-lasting school success.

 

  • Expanding Evidence-Based Home Visiting: $9.5 million in evidence-based home-visiting programs for at-risk families of young children, from prenatally to three years old.

 

  • Expanding the Kindergarten Partnership & Innovation Fund: An additional $5 million to continue Oregon’s Kindergarten Partnership and Innovation Fund, which provides grant to communities and school districts to connect the early years to the early grades.

 

In addition to these successes, we are thrilled that the Legislature also made several other important investments in early learning, including supporting the rollout of full-day kindergarten, expanding access to subsidized child care and beginning pilot projects focused on chronic absence among Native American students and the achievement gap among children of color. Find out more on our post-session blog post.

Ready for School Policy News and Blogs

  • Oregon Announces Preschool Promise Awardees

    low 2014 09 12 018Last week, Oregon's Early Learning Division announced their Preschool Promise award recommendations. The announcement marks an important step in the state’s process to increase publicly funded preschool opportunities for low-income children in Oregon. Preschool Promise, or House Bill 3380, was passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2015 with the goal of providing high-quality preschool in a variety of settings. Preschool Promise expands the types and number of providers that can receive funding for high-quality preschool programs in the state, and increases the number of families and children that are able to access the services. Early Learning Division staff estimate that the implementation of Preschool Promise will mean that approximately 1,300 more Oregon children will receive high-quality preschool in the 2016-2017 school year.

    Gwyn Bachtle, an Early Learning Specialist in the Early Learning Division described the visionary goal of the new program as, “having children in programs that are quality-rated…and really working to increase the capacity of our communities.”

    An award team, composed of state executive staff and three Early Learning Council members, reviewed applications from Early Learning hubs around the state. The hubs will be responsible for contracting with local providers and implementing the new preschool programming in their communities. Applications were evaluated based on demonstrated need; the capacity to support a mixed-delivery model; and the capacity to support high-quality preschool programs.

    In total, ten hubs submitted a total of seven applications (one application was a joint application including multiple hubs) – with their combined requests reflecting the preschool needs of more than 2,600 children. Five of the seven applications were approved for funding, and these hubs will be working with the Early Learning Division closely in the upcoming weeks and months – gaining technical assistance and finalizing contracts with providers.

    Awardees of 2016-17 Preschool Promise funding:

    • Marion and Polk Early Learning Hub
    • South-Central Oregon Early Learning Hub
    • Lane Early Learning Alliance
    • Southern Oregon Early Learning Hub
    • NW Regional Joint Application
      • NW Regional Early Learning Hub
      • Early Learning Washington County
      • Early Learning Multnomah
      • Clackamas Early Learning Hub

    The Preschool Promiseannouncement is, as Molly Day, Early Learning Multnomah Director says, "a big deal. The state is deciding to invest in preschool, for its residents who are furthest from opportunity. Families in poverty, families that aren't being served now...it is a lot of change all at once, and that makes it challenging, but it is a wonderful opportunity."

    "We hope this is just the beginning," says Dana Hepper, Children's Institute Director of Policy and Program. "There are many disadvantaged Oregon children who still lack access to high-quality preschool." In fact, three-quarters of Oregon's young children still don't have access.

    "The Children's Institute is supporting the state to ensure successful implementation of Preschool Promise," Hepper says. "We look forward to seeing the program grow."

    Read more

  • Take Action: Keeping the Promise

    rfs stacked one line outlinedIn 2015, the Oregon Legislature made a promise to Oregon's children. They invested in Preschool Promise, a program that will provide high-quality preschool to more than 1,000 kids from low-income families.

    This critical investment is now being threatened and we need your help!

    Pick up the phone and call the leaders of the Ways and Means Committee. We hope you'll help us ensure that Oregon keeps its promise to underserverd children.

    Here's your talking points, including who to call.

    Read more

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