Early Learning

Supporting Early Learning for Children

A quality education from early childhood through college is of paramount importance for the future of Pennsylvania and our country. Study after study shows that investments in enhancing learning opportunities for our youngest children are absolutely critical to a child’s success. Senator Casey knows that when a child learns more earlier in life child will earn more later in our workforce. These investments are also critical to our nation’s continued economic strength. Unfortunately, existing high-quality early learning programs reach just a fraction of the children and families who need them the most. Ensuring all families have access to high quality early learning is a complex problem and Senator Casey believes we need a continuum of policies to solve it.

  • Senator Casey introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act with Senator Murray, to establish a new federal-state funding partnership to provide high-quality, affordable child care from birth through age 13. This legislation would provide direct financial assistance to working parents to help pay for child care and early learning expenses on a sliding scale based on their income; limit childcare payments to seven percent of a family's income; support universal access to high quality preschool programs for 3- and 4-year olds; and improve workforce compensation by ensuring that all early learning educators are paid a living wage.

  • Senator Casey introduced the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit Enhancement Act, which would expand the scope of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, allowing families with an adjusted gross income up to $120,000 to take advantage of the full credit amount.

  • Senator Casey introduced the Prepare All Kids Act in the 114th Congress, which would provide at least one year of voluntary high quality pre-kindergarten, with a focus on children from low-income families and children with special needs.

  • Senator Casey introduced the Child Care Access to Resources for Early-learning (Child CARE) Act in the 114th Congress, which would provide grants to states to expand access to high-quality child care for families with children under age four who live at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

  • Senator Casey profoundly shaped the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the 2015 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. While primarily dealing with K-12 education, ESSA includes several strong provisions for early childhood education pushed by Senator Casey. It provides for newly authorized Preschool Development Grants, a competitive program for states to improve the quality of and access to early childhood education for four year olds in preschool.

  • Senator Casey led the fight in ESSA to reauthorize the Ready to Learn program. Ready to Learn supports the creation of effective education resources that are distributed by local public television stations on television, online, and through mobile apps to build the math and reading skills of children between the ages of two and eight, especially those from low-income families.

  • Senator Casey introduced the Continuum of Learning Act, which strengthens connections between existing early learning programs and the elementary grades by helping educators from early childhood education programs and elementary schools work together so children have a successful continuum of learning and development. Much of this legislation was included in ESSA.

  • Senator Casey consistently leads Senate efforts to appropriate robust funding for early childhood education and child care programs, including Head Start and Early Head Start, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), Preschool Development Grants and IDEA Parts B and C.


  • In 2019, Casey Produces Results for PA Constituents

    Despite rancor and gridlock, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is finishing 2019 having successfully fought on behalf of his constituents. Senator Casey's 2019 work includes securing miners’ pensions and health care, working to phase out the use of dangerous PFAS chemicals and modernizing the regulation of over-the-counter drugs. Read More

  • Casey Introduces Bill to Address Hunger in Schools

    Last week, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the School Hunger Elimination Act, legislation to improve the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast program (SBP). More than 11 million children across the country are food insecure, and ensuring access to school meals is essential to combat hunger in schools. This legislation would significantly increase access to school meals through expanded eligibility for free meals, decreased administrative work, improved program integrity and reduced school meal debt. Read More

  • Casey, Colleagues Introduce The Creating Early Childhood Leaders Act

    Monday, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Doug Jones (D-AL) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) introduced the Creating Early Childhood Leaders Act, which would ensure that school leaders are able to effectively support early education teachers and provide children with high-quality early learning programs. Specifically, this legislation would amend Title II of the Higher Education Act by adding provisions to encourage recipients of Teacher Quality Partnership Grants to include training on early childhood development and effective instructional leadership for children ages zero through eight. Read More

  • Ahead Of Back-to-School: Casey Calls On Congress To Keep Promise To Invest In Schools, Infrastructure

    Philadelphia, PA - As kids and parents across Philadelphia gear up to start the new school year in exactly one month, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on the Administration and his colleagues in Washington to commit to investing in Pennsylvania's school infrastructure and highlighted Senate Democrats’ $50 billion proposal to assist states and school districts in closing funding gaps for critical capital modernizations and repairs. Read More

  • Casey Presses DeVos As Dept. of Ed. Weakens Discrimination Protections

    Earlier this year, the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released a new Case Processing Manual that makes it easier for the Department of Education to dismiss discrimination complaints. In a bicameral letter led by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the members of Congress asked for clarifications on changes in policy and reaffirmed the importance of equal protections against discrimination for all Americans. Read More

  • As Concerns About School Safety Grow, Casey & Colleagues Look To Address Root Causes Such As Bullying

    A Department of Education study found that 1 in 5 children between the ages of 12 and 18 will be impacted by bullying. In an effort to address this ongoing issue, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), joined by over 30 of his colleagues, has introduced the Safe Schools Improvement Act. This legislation works to ensure that no child is afraid to go to school for fear of unchecked bullying and harassment. Read More

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