As the country continues on the path of opening again and organizations are strategically planning to reopen and return to normalcy, we are constantly hearing about The American Rescue Plan. What is the American Rescue Plan? What does it mean for Early Childhood Education and families? We can all agree that the past year has been very tumultuous in regard to operating child care centers and providing high-quality education for the early education community. The American Rescue Plan is a major economic stimulus package that will provide immediate relief for children and families, work to address the racial and economic injustices COVID-19 has exacerbated, and take a long-overdue step toward ending our nation’s shameful child poverty crisis by cutting child poverty in half. It was signed into law in March 2021. As if the early ed community was not already under funded and over worked, we now have to look at not only healing old wounds while triaging new wounds. It is Important for Early Education workers and families to look at the American Rescue Plan with a special lens and advocate for specific and special attention to be paid to high- quality early education. This is $1.9 trillion plan in which each state receives a portion of this amount to stimulate and rebuild its economy after COVID-19. The Senate is currently considering how $25.7B in funds will be spent for early education as well as other areas. Our representatives need to hear from every end of the spectrum on what our early education infrastructure needs. While there are some wins for the NC early education community like Smart Start and NC Pre-K funding and extension of maternity leave for mothers on Medicaid, there is still no real attention paid to the Child care workforce issues, child care subsidy rates and NC Pre- K expansion, to name a few. Advocacy for our community doesn’t end at simply receiving the funds to create change, it also requires us to continue sharing our perspectives as educators, providers and families on what is truly needed on the ground to provide the education our children deserve.
On Monday, Governor Cooper signed into law S.B. 172 (Session Law), which extends the deadline to apply for the Extra Credit Grant program to Thursday, July 1st, 2021.
Eligible parents who have not already received their $335 check should go to https://www.ncdor.gov/extracredit for more information and to apply.
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