Federal Policies America’s Edge Supports

America’s Edge urges Congressional leadership to prioritize proven and promising investments for business.

In 2014, we will be urging Congressional members to:

1. Support the Strong Start for America's Children Act, legislation proposed to create a state-federal partnership to strengthen early learning programs.

This new state-federal partnership will enable states to provide all low- and middle-income four-year-old children up to 200% of the poverty rate access to high-quality preschool, with additional incentives for making such programs more widely available to higher income families once the low- and middle-income children are served. The proposal will also improve the quality of child care services by expanding access to high-quality early learning settings for children from birth through age 3. 

2. Protect access to high-quality early care and education and increase quality of programs.

a) Fight against cuts, and where possible seek increases, for Head Start, Early Head Start and both the discretionary and mandatory funding streams of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG);

b) Seek quality improvements to early learning programs through reauthorization of Head Start/Early Head Start, and CCDBG;

c) Maintain funding for Race to the Top, with focus on funding for Early Learning Challenge program and innovative high school programs;

d) Seek funding opportunities for innovative high school programs through ESEA and Perkins Reauthorizations (Tier II);

e ) Protect the current the structure of the CTC 

3. Strengthen our nation’s education system through federal education reform to support innovative high school education efforts.

a) Provide incentives for States to shift away from the traditional K-12 approach towards an educational system that incorporates early learning into the educational structure so kids are ready to learn and succeed when they enter kindergarten;

b) Support innovative high school education models, which can help vulnerable youth develop critical skills and be prepared for careers and/or post-secondary education;

c) Improve graduation rates measurement and accountability, including supporting both data systems that can serve as an “early warning system” for kids headed towards dropping out, as well as the use of evidence-based programs to keep kids in school and on the path towards graduation;

d) Provide the support of K-12 programs which enhance academic outcomes;
Creates a system of recruitment, professional development and retention for teachers so that more students – especially those most at-risk for adverse academic outcomes– have access to high-quality teachers; and

e) Ensure that, to the maximum extent possible, funds are directed toward evidence-based approaches in the highest-need communities. 

Investments in Education Strengthen Businesses and the Economy

America’s Edge supports federal early care and education programs that are critical to ensuring that all children have the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and abilities businesses need in a highly competitive global market.  Funding for these programs will immediately infuse dollars into our local economies and create jobs in our communities:

  • Every $1 invested in early care and education generates roughly $2 for the local economy.
  • Spending by every 4 workers employed in early care and education supports an additional new job in another sector of the local economy.

Investment in these programs will also lay the foundation for long-term economic security by:

  • Increasing graduation rates by 44%;
  • Increasing earnings by 36%; and
  • Generating a return on investment of up to $15,000 per child served by high-quality early learning programs.

Investments in high school education models that integrate career relevance instruction with rigorous academic curricula, standards, assessments and accountability systems. Strong evidence demonstrates that models, such as “Career Academies,” have a positive earnings impact for youth and help develop the skills employers need to compete in a global economy:

  • Students had a significant, sustained increase in earnings and overall months and hours of employment; and
  • Were twice as likely to be working in the computer, engineering or media technology sector eight years after graduation as students left out.
  • Innovative high school models are designed to equip students with the knowledge and abilities businesses now require. These deeper learning skills include a mastery of core academic content, and the increasingly important soft skills – communication, collaboration and critical thinking.