PHOENIX – Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman and the Arizona Department of Education are proud to see a historic $1.2 billion dollar investment by the state to support early childhood education and childcare assistance. For far too long, our state’s youngest learners have been overlooked and underserved. This investment comes at the most critical time as families prepare for a return to in-person learning, this funding will help to ensure our students begin their education with appropriate support and resources.
“As a former pre-school teacher, I know firsthand just how critical early childhood learning is to the longer term, academic, social and emotional growth and success of our students,” said Superintendent Hoffman. “After years of advocacy, I am thankful that legislative leaders like Representative Lieberman and Representative Sierra have successfully championed this issue, bringing real solutions to Arizona’s students.”
“I am so excited that these American Rescue Plan dollars will be spent where they will have a huge impact - providing high-quality Pre-K to four-year old's throughout the state,” said Representative Aaron Lieberman. “We know high-quality Pre-K makes a lifetime of difference – and these funds will help make that happen for thousands of our youngest learners.”
“Data is clear that funding for high-quality early childhood learning yields at least a 13% return on investment,” said Representative Lorenzo Sierra. “Prioritizing resources for Arizona’s youngest learners is an investment into their future success, and that of our state.”
Highlights of the historic $1.2 billion dollar investment include:
Expand Imagination Library Program ($2.0M):
In partnership with Read On Arizona, ADE will expand Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children birth-five.
ECE Data & Financing Strategic Planning and Evaluation ($1.6M):
In collaboration with Read On Arizona and the Arizona Department of Economic Security, ADE is working on an initiative to build a common framework that includes data integration and fiscal mapping to address the gaps in the early childhood education system, specifically in historically marginalized communities. This framework will then serve as a tool to evaluate the impact and inform future investments.
Accelerate Early Childhood Literacy ($47.2M):
Investments in Arizona’s Early Literacy Policy Framework, including:
Building Educator Capacity - increasing the knowledge of early childhood educators in the science of reading and strengthening educator capacity in communities with high percentage of struggling readers;
Literacy Coaching - provide intensive technical assistance to support, improve, and sustain effective teaching and literacy practices in targeted communities; and
High-Quality Early Childhood Programming - focus on expanding high quality early learning opportunities in high needs areas, including kindergarten readiness for 3 and 4 year old children through early literacy supports.
Preschool Development Grants ($45.0M):
This funding is intended to provide preschool development dollars to eligible providers serving preschool age children to expand access to high-quality preschool programming throughout the state and improve upon their curriculum.