Senator Boxer: Preparing Young Children for School   

Monday, October 24, 2011  

Dear Friend:

This week I introduced the Early Language Proficiency Act (S.1722), a step forward in giving all children access to high quality pre-kindergarten programs.

Studies have shown that children who participate in pre-kindergarten programs show greater learning retention and initiative, have better social skills, are more enthusiastic about school, are more likely to have good attendance records, are less likely to be held back a grade, and are more likely to develop early language and literacy skills.

S.1722 would allow school districts to use federal funds for pre-kindergarten English language instruction, which is critical in serving more than 5 million English language learning students nationwide and 1.5 million in California.

In addition, this legislation will help local school districts use federal funds to provide prekindergarten services to all young children they serve.  Although school districts may already use federal funds from Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for early education, many school districts are either unaware of or are uncertain of how to use this authority.  The Early Language Proficiency Act would ensure that states provide proper guidance to local schools about how to use Title I funds to educate pre-kindergarteners.

We all know that the future of our nation's economy depends on the next generation of workers.  Ensuring that all students start school ready to learn is the first step to having the best-educated workforce and the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

Be assured that I will work with my Senate colleagues to enact this important legislation.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer, US Senator, California
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer