Iowa Senator introduces new early education bill - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa Senator introduces new early education bill

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An Iowa legislator wants to make early childhood education more available nationwide.

Wednesday, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) introduced the Strong Start for America's Children Act. The bill is sponsored by several Senate Democrats, as well as an Independant. Similar legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by a Republican.

Harkin said the goal is to improve education for children under 5 years old.

"It'll allow them to do more and go more places," said Susan Dehl, the Executive Director of Community United Child Care Centers in Waterloo.

Dehl said a good start can make a big difference in a child's life. That's why she is excited by the Harkin's legislation.

She felt it would have the biggest impact on smaller day care centers and preschools.

"This will help these particular centers increase the education of their staff," Dehl said. "And in turn, that will go back to the kids."

According to Harkin, the bill would help low and middle income families afford preschool. It would also increase the quality of existing programs.

For Melody Moritiz, a Pre-K teacher in Waterloo, the idea of reaching more kids is exciting.

"Being able to affect their lives and being able to teach them a lot of things ... I love seeing that achievement and seeing how the process goes, seeing how well they develop there."

She said the new bill would be great for her students.

"It makes me feel like I can invest in more people," Moritz said.

U.S Education Secretary Anne Duncan said the bi-partisan bill sponsorship showed that people recognize the importance of early education.

"This is the most important single step we can take for the future of our young people," Duncan said. "Let’s join together to make it happen.”

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