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Mayor Taveras Invited to Offer Testimony Before U.S. Senate Committee in Favor of Expanding Access to Pre-K
"Strong Start for America's Children Act" would boost federal funding for pre-kindergarten and early childhood learning
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Angel Taveras will offer testimony tomorrow at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in favor of expanding pre-kindergarten and other high-quality early learning programs across the nation.
Senate HELP Committee Chairman U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) personally invited Mayor Taveras to Washington, D.C. to speak in support of Senator Harkin's ‘Strong Start for America's Children Act.' U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the committee, will introduce Mayor Taveras at tomorrow's hearing. The hearing will examine the role that pre-kindergarten and other early learning programs play in preparing students for success.
"It is an honor to speak to Senator Harkin and the Senate HELP Committee on an issue that is so fundamental to the future of our nation," said Mayor Taveras. "We need leadership at the highest levels to ensure that all children have the resources they need to succeed right from the start. I know the power of early education because high-quality programs like Head Start set me on the path to achievement."
Senator Harkin's bill focuses on four key goals: boosting funding for high-quality preschool programs serving low- and moderate-income families; increasing the quality of infant and toddler care offered by providers; supporting broad-scale quality improvements to child care programs; and encouraging continued support for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.
"Mayor Taveras knows firsthand the importance of education as part of the ladder of opportunity in America—he climbed it, rung by rung, from Head Start to Harvard University and beyond," said Senator Harkin. "He is now using his experience to ensure children in Providence have the opportunity to succeed. His testimony tomorrow will be very important to this discussion going forward."
Mayor Taveras has made early childhood education a primary focus of his tenure as Mayor of Providence. Earlier this year, Mayor Taveras launched Providence Talks, Providence's innovative intervention program designed to raise the percentage of students who enter kindergarten ready for academic success. The program was the nation's $5 million grand prize winner in last year's Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge. Under Mayor Taveras' leadership, Providence's public education efforts have also been recognized by the White House, the National Civic League, America's Promise Alliance and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Tomorrow's Senate HELP Committee hearing will begin at 10 a.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The hearing will stream live at http://help.senate.gov and archived videos of the testimony will be available at http://help.senate.gov/hearings/ .
In keeping with Mayor Taveras' policy since the beginning of his administration no public funds will be used to pay for this trip.