Statement by Secretaries Duncan and Sebelius on House Passage of Early Learning Challenge Fund
Archived Information

September 17, 2009
Contact: John White, Press Secretary
(202) 401-1576 or

Jenny Backus, Acting Assistant Secretary
HHS Communications, (202) 690-6343
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House Passes Student Aid Bill

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius praised progress made by Congress today as the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), HR 3221, passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would move away from subsidizing private lenders to a direct loan program and reinvest nearly $90 billion in savings over the next 10 years into several initiatives, including the Early Learning Challenge Fund, which will be jointly administered by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Together, we will ensure that children enter kindergarten ready to learn," Duncan said. "Education and, in many ways, success in life begins with high-quality early learning experiences. We know that increasing the number of high-quality early learning opportunities, especially for low-income families, improves child outcomes. Research shows children who receive such services are less likely to be referred to special education and more likely to graduate and be successful adults. All children deserve these early opportunities to reach their full potential. I want to thank Chairman George Miller for sponsoring this legislation and for his leadership on this issue."

"I am delighted the bill has passed this important milestone," said Sebelius. "By improving the quality of early child development and learning, we can give children a strong start in life. Nothing is more important to their long term health and success. I hope the Senate will act to make this important investment in America's future."

The President's Early Learning Challenge Fund would create a unique and unprecedented collaboration between the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, incorporating two key funding elements:



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Last Modified: 09/18/2009