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Big Week for Early Childhood Education on Capitol Hill

It's been a big week for early childhood on Capitol Hill: a Hollywood star promoting early learning and three new bills introduced in the Senate.

Today, Sen. Patty Murray is introducing the Ready to Learn Act, a bill that would create a federal fund offering competitive matching grants for high-quality state prekindergarten programs. And the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Children and Families Subcommittee is holding a hearing on quality early education and care.

Yesterday, Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) held an early learning press event featuring actress Jennifer Garner. Casey introduced two bills related to early childhood: the Starting Early, Starting Right Act (S.1155), which would increase federal child care subsidies, and another bill that would provide federal funds for state pre-K, the Prepare All Kids Act (S.1156).

But so far, the reception seems underwhelming. Politico notes that more interns than reporters showed up to the press event. More significantly, advocates hope to see the ideas in these bills—which have been floated in Congress before—incorporated into ESEA authorization, and there's no telling when or if that will happen.

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