Arlington, VA— Brenda Welburn, executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education, joined a panel of education leaders that this week called on Congress to pass a comprehensive Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) with strong commitments to early childhood (pre-K-3) education.

The panel members announced their call to action at the release of Ensuring America’s Future: Policy Statements and Recommendations from National Education Organizations by the Pre-K Coalition, a group composed of NASBE, the American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, Council of Chief State School Officers, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Education Association, and the National School Boards Association.

“The U.S. Department of Education and state boards of education need to use their policy levers and bully pulpits to bring early childhood education and K-12 systems into alignment and to integrate pre-K-3 education into the broader discussion of student achievement,” Welburn said.

Welburn emphasized the need for a federal-state-local partnership to increase the quality of early childhood education programs and to align pre-K and K-12 systems.  In addition, she stressed the need for the federal government to help states by disseminating states’ best policies and practices so all states may benefit, as well as qualitative and quantitative data to support those practices.

The report includes a set of recommendations for the federal government that include:

  • Support state and local development of seamless pre-K-3 alignment as a policy and funding priority;
  • Support development of specific pre-K-3 credentialing of teachers; and
  • Encourage collaboration among educators and early childhood education providers to help create easier transitions for students as they advance from pre-K to elementary school.

The report can be found below.