Final Higher Education Act includes Early Childhood Educator Provisions for loan forgiveness, compensation initiatives, and grants to states for professional development systems

The House and Senate have passed the conference bill (H.R. 4137) for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which now goes to the President for his signature. NAEYC worked closely with members of Congress to include the following provisions:

*Including in Title II teacher quality partnership grants, that a partnership may include early childhood education programs (child care, Head Start/Early Head Start, state prekindergarten) and if so, may use grant funds for compensation initiatives for early childhood educators who obtain an Associate or Bachelor degree

*Expanding loan forgiveness for prospective loan borrowers who work in licensed/regulated child care, Head Start and Early Head Start, and state prekindergarten programs

*A new program of grants to states to create cross-sector, integrated, and comprehensive professional development systems for early childhood educators working with children from birth to five.

“Every young child should have a high quality teacher, and early childhood educators should be able to receive the education and compensation that will make it possible for them to remain in a child care, Head Start, Early Head Start or state pre-kindergarten program,” said Mark Ginsberg, Ph. D., Executive Director of NAEYC. “This is a positive step to begin to ensure that early childhood educators can afford higher education and remain in their chosen field and to improve the quality of teacher preparation programs for all teachers of young and older children.”

Let’s give special thanks to the following members of Congress who championed these provisions in the bill: Senator Brown (D-OH), Senator Voinovich (R-OH), Senator Dodd (D-CT), Representative Hirono (D-HI), Senator Kennedy (D-MA), Rep. George Miller (D-CA), and Senator Reed (D-RI).