Begich Introduces Early Education Bills
With the ongoing priority of preparing Alaska’s young people for the jobs and opportunities of the future, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today introduced a package of legislation designed to address access, quality and affordability in early education programs. The Keep Investing in Developmental Success (KIDS) Act of 2012 is part of Begich’s goal of helping Alaska’s kids be ready to learn and succeed when they enter school.
“The payoff is clear. Every dollar invested in early education programs today returns 16 dollars in better outcomes for individuals, families and communities,” Begich said. “You can’t find a better investment and return than this—and all of us benefit when our kids have the tools they need to succeed.”
Details of Begich’s legislation include:
- Increasing the child care tax credit so more parents can afford to put their children in quality, early child development programs; (Tax Relief for Early Educators Act)
- Creating a new student loan forgiveness program for graduates of associate’s or bachelor’s programs in early education. It provides needed relief for early educators and encourages people to work with kids through age five. (Preparing and Reinvesting in Early Education Act)
- Use grant incentives to help small and medium companies establish onsite or near-site childcare programs. (The Child Care Public-Private Partnership Act)
“Parents should have access to affordable, high-quality care and learning services, early childhood educations should have livable wages and benefits, and businesses will be more productive when children of the employees are well-taken care of,” Begich said.
Begich’s legislation is supported by childhood early education advocates in Alaska.
"This new legislation is about providing more access to quality child care for working families and supporting the professional educators who work in early childhood. Alaska's children need a champion now more than ever as working families are facing tough choices in finding and affording quality child care. By introducing these bills, Senator Begich is that champion,” said Stephanie Berglund, the CEO of Alaska’s Thread, a statewide child care resource and referral network.