It's Official... Omnibus Spending Bill Signed

Friday, March 23, 2018

President Trump signed the omnibus spending bill this afternoon, cementing an historic increase in child care spending. Along with the $2.37 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, the final bill contains:

- A $610 million increase for Head Start ($115 million of that for Early Head Start that will be used for Early Head Start expansion or Early Head Start/child care partnerships)

- A $35 million increase for CCAMPIS that funds child care for mothers in college

- A $20 million increase for 21stCentury Community Learning Centers which supports after school programs

- A $11.4 million increase for Part C of IDEA

- A $12.8 million increase for Part B Sec 619 of IDEA

- Flat funding for Preschool Development Grants at $250 million


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Friday, March 23, 2018

25 Years of Ensuring Every Kid Counts  

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Project to measure public Montessori programs' impact on low-income students

Friday, March 23, 2018

(Education Dive) -  

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Western Slope: Kid Stats Here Are Grim

Friday, March 23, 2018

(The Daily Sentinel) -Mesa County lags behind the state in almost all indicators related to the education, health and economic well-being of children, according to the latest KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report.

Mesa County's rate of confirmed child abuse and neglect cases was nearly twice the state average. Mesa County's rate is 16.7 percent per 100,000 children, compared to the state's average of 8.4 percent.

Mesa County's rate of pregnant women who smoke is also double the state's rate, or 12.4 percent. On average, 6.2 percent of pregnant women smoke in Colorado.

Mesa County ranks worse than the state average in a number of other statistical categories associated with child well- being, including the number of uninsured children, high school graduation rates, rates of injury deaths for children and teenagers, birth rates among teenagers, and the percentage of children who receive government benefits and live in poverty.

Janet Rowland, executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Mesa County, said she is a little shocked by the results of the study and attributes some of the poor rankings to a sluggish economy in 2016. Economic activity picked up in the Grand Valley in 2017.

"It is very alarming that our numbers are that bad," she said. "When you have a suicide rate of nearly one a week and high substance abuse and mental health problems, we couldn't have our other indicators be high and have child abuse be low."

Rowland said officials with local agencies look toward the annual KIDS COUNT in Colorado! study to determine where to focus their efforts.

Rowland said Mesa County residents can help improve the lives of children in small ways, by paying attention to struggling families or offering to help out an overwhelmed parent.

"If a kid is throwing a fit in the store, tell a joke and de-escalate the situation," she said. "Most of us have family members or friends they can vent to, but some parents have absolutely nobody."

Rowland said the study's results solidify her resolve.

"It does make me more determined to help in the child abuse prevention realm," she said.

Mesa County's high school graduation rate of 76 percent nears the state average of 79 percent. The county also surpasses the state average in two categories, the percentage of low birth rates and its infant mortality rate. Mesa County recorded an infant mortality rate of 2.3 percent, better than the state's average of 4.8 percent. In Mesa County, 8.1 percent of children were born with low birth weights, which is better than the state average of 9 percent.

Mesa County Public Health officials work to educate the public about the risks of smoking, especially to pregnant women. Smoking can cause early deliveries, low birth weight and can be factors for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and some birth defects, said Heidi Dragoo, epidemiology manager.

"The good news is it's never too late to quit," she said. "It's something that's an issue here that all the community needs to get behind."

Dragoo said people should support smokers who want to quit and also support women of child-bearing age who want to quit smoking.

"It affects not only young women, but it affects the next generation of community members," Dragoo said. "If you can stop smoking for the health of your baby, why wouldn't you?"

Dragoo said public health officials commonly refer clients to Hilltop's Baby and Me Tobacco Free program. The program offers incentives such as free diapers to pregnant women and mothers who quit smoking.

During the 25 years of the KIDS COUNT study, rates of infant mortality and the rates of uninsured children have decreased on average statewide but childhood poverty remains mostly unchanged.

Colorado's childhood poverty rates were 15 percent in 1989, which was better than the national rate of 18 percent that year. An average 13 percent of Colorado children lived in poverty in 2016, compared to a 19 percent national average.

To see the full report, visit coloradokids.org.

The 2018 report reflects numbers from 2016, so some of the statistics may not be as current as possible, according to the report's authors.


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Here’s how Colorado schools would spend an extra $100 million from the state

Friday, March 23, 2018

(Chalk Beat) - Legislators on the Joint Budget Committee unanimously decided this week to set aside $100 million to “buy down” the budget stabilization factor. 

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Long-term Gains: Pre-K Programs Lead to Furthered Education Later in Life

Thursday, March 22, 2018

(Scientific American) - Largest study to date of publicly funded early education program shows a major, sustained educational boost  

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New Federal Funding Bill Pours Money Into School Safety & Early Education, With Smaller Bumps for Charters & Other Dept Programs

Thursday, March 22, 2018

(The 74) - School safety programs saw big boosts in the latest federal appropriations bill that also proposed increases in early childhood education spending along with smaller bumps for marquee K-12 programs. 

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Head Start in Fort Morgan seeks to split from Colorado Preschool Project

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

(Ft. Morgan Times) - If the federal government accepts Morgan County Re-3 School District's application for 2018-19 Head Start funding, it could mean even more significant changes are in store for the Fort Morgan program than previously expected. 

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Key takeaways from one of the longest-running studies on the impact of early-childhood education

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

(Education Dive) -  

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Congress weighs stopgap bill to prevent shutdown

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

(The Hill ) - Congressional leadership is publicly mulling another stopgap spending bill to prevent a third government shutdown as lawmakers race to finalize a mammoth funding legislation.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said on Tuesday that with the timeline for votes slipping in the House, lawmakers could be forced to approve a days-long continuing resolution (CR) before Friday night's deadline.

"It just means we're going to be here into the weekend perhaps and there may have to be some measures take to keep the lights on, but we'll get it done," he told reporters on Tuesday.

Asked if one of those measures would be a stopgap bill, he added: "That would be the one thing we could do, yeah."

The talk of needing another short-term funding bill comes as lawmakers struggle to iron out the final hurdles to getting a deal on the omnibus, which would fund the government through the end of September.

Both Cornyn and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pointed at Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding as an issue, highlighting the proposed border wall and immigration enforcement funding.

Congress has until Friday at midnight to pass legislation to prevent the third partial government closure in as many months.

Lawmakers had hoped to unveil the funding bill Monday night, setting up a vote in the House for Wednesday, but that was delayed as negotiators held a round of late-night negotiations.

They are now hoping to unveil the bill Tuesday with a vote in the House on Thursday.

That could push the Senate's debate past the Friday deadline unless leadership can get every senator to agree to speed up the votes.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) antagonized his colleagues by using the Senate's rulebook to spark an hours-long shutdown last month. He refused repeated requests to move up a vote on a three-week CR and drove the chamber into a middle-of-the-night vote.

Asked on Tuesday if he would let leadership speed up the votes on the omnibus, he told The Hill "we haven't decided yet."

If the House passes the omnibus on Thursday, the earliest the Senate could hold an initial vote is early Saturday morning — roughly an hour past the funding deadline.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters Tuesday that a short-term CR to give the Senate enough time to navigate around its procedural hurdles was being discussed.

“More prominently discussed is if the Senate has all of these procedural things it has to do it might not be finished in time, and maybe [we’ll need] a short-term [bill] just to see it through — should we come to agreement on the other things," she said.


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