WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown, Jamie Raskin, and David Trone (all Md.) today announced $8.94 million in new federal funding to help strengthen and expand early childhood education in Maryland.
“Expanding access to early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make in Maryland’s future,” the lawmakers said. “These high-impact programs make a tremendous difference in closing the achievement gap and put our children on a path to academic and career success. Our delegation remains committed to strengthening educational opportunities across our state and ensuring that families from every community can access these highly impactful programs.”
Funding comes through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) Renewal Grant Program, which supports state-led efforts to enhance early childhood education. The $8,942,996 PDG B-5 Renewal Grant focuses on implementing the comprehensive strategy such as families facing adversity and works towards increasing equity, enhancing early child workforce programs, strengthening Maryland’s data infrastructure, as well as supporting children’s mental, developmental and behavioral health.
According to MSDE, the second year of the renewal grant will cover the cost of modernizing Maryland’s early childhood data system, increasing alignment and opportunity across the state’s higher education system to support the early childhood education workforce, and promoting and supporting inclusive settings for young children with disabilities, among other priorities.
In October 2018, Maryland’s full congressional Delegation urged Secretary Alex Azar of the Department of Health and Human Services to support the Maryland State Department of Education’s grant application for the initial PDG B-5 award. In January 2019, the delegation’s request was granted and lawmakers announced the $10.6 million in funding for the PDG B-5 grant. After continued advocacy by the delegation to support the MSDE’s PDG B-5 Renewal Grant application, in January 2020, MSDE was awarded a three year, $26.8 million PDG B-5 Renewal Grant to build on the initial award and implement the comprehensive strategy.