WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Bob Casey (D-PA) today introduced the Creating Early Childhood Leaders Act, bipartisan legislation that would better prepare school leaders, including principals, to facilitate high-quality early childhood education programs and provide support to teachers. As states expand pre-kindergarten programs, elementary school principals, superintendents, and other school leaders are increasingly responsible for early education classrooms.
“The importance of early childhood development cannot be overstated,” Senator Romney said. “These are critical years for a child’s brain development and it is absolutely essential that leaders in our school districts are adequately prepared to support early childhood development teachers and programs. That’s what this common-sense, bipartisan legislation seeks to accomplish: ensure our educational leaders in Utah have the necessary resources and training, in hopes that we will more effectively support the early development of our next generation.”
“To set American children up for success, we must equip our school districts with the tools and resources they need to support young students’ emotional, social and academic development. The science is clear: when children learn more earlier in life, they earn more later,” Senator Casey said. “The Creating Early Childhood Leaders Act will ensure that early learners have access to the highest quality education and support.”
The legislation would amend Title II of the Higher Education Act by requiring school leadership programs receiving federal Teacher Quality Partnership grants to include training on early childhood development and effective instructional leadership for children from birth through age eight. This change would help prepare elementary school leaders to lead young learners and early educators to their full potential.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other researchers have found that critical brain development occurs in a child’s first years. The Creating Early Childhood Leaders Act would ensure that principals and school leaders are able to effectively (a) support pre-kindergarten teachers and programs and (b) assist pre-kindergarten students through the transition from pre-K through second grade.
The Creating Early Childhood Leaders Act is supported by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, Bipartisan Policy Center, First Five Years Fund, ZERO TO THREE, National Association for the Education of Young Children, New America, and the Education Trust.