The Senate Health, Education,
Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee considered and passed the Strong Start for
America's Children Act on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. The vote was along party
lines with 12 Democrats voting in favor and 10 Republicans voting against the
bill. The bill, if passed into law, would provide:
- expanded access
to preschool for 4-year-olds from families earning below 200% of the federal
- teachers with high qualifications,
health and safety standards,
- evidence-based instruction that is
- comprehensive services for children,
including strong parent and family engagement, nutritious meals, and health
screening and referrals.
ASHA recognized that the draft legislation
failed to include "hearing" screenings as part of the basic package of health
screenings that did include "physical health, behavioral health, oral health,
child development, and vision." ASHA asked for the inclusion of hearing
screenings, which was included in the version passed by the Committee.
The legislation is not expected to progress any further this year, as the
Senate has very little time to consider legislation outside of critical
spending bills. Similar legislation in the House was referred to the Education
and the Workforce Committee where it is expected to languish.
The Strong Start for America's Children Act embodies and
reflects President Obama's goal of expanding access to quality preschool to
millions of children in the country who do not now have access.
For more information, please contact Neil Snyder, ASHA's
director of federal advocacy, at [email protected] or 800-498-2071, ext.