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Plan and Be Heard: Universal Pre-K

Image by: Mark Mahoney Courtesy Washington Times

2019 is shaping up to be an crucial year for Head Start in the State of Maryland. Our voice, YOUR voice, needs to be stronger than ever!

Over the next few blog posts, (we broke it down into different posts to make it easier to digest) we will take a look at issues in which we need to be present, aware and heard within the coming months!

Be sure to REGISTER for our planning webinar on 2/13/2019. It is imperative! REGISTER HERE.

Universal Pre-K

Let's begin with Universal Pre-K. This thing is happening, and we need to be prepared!

Below is a link to the Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education 's (Kirwan Commission) Legislative Presentation to Senate and House Committees 2019. The presentation highlights the current status of Universal Pre-K and on education. For now, we will focus on Universal Pre-K.

Kirwans Legislative Presentation

Highlights from the presentation

The first policy recommendation of the presentation is to "Invest in Early Childhood education" with three goals in mind

  1. Provide free high-quality full-day pre-school for 3 and 4-year olds from families below 300% federal poverty level (FPL) with a sliding scale for 4-year-old students from families up to 600% FPL.

  2. Increase capacity of public and private providers that meet high-quality standards through incentives and technical assistance.

  3. Increase number of Family Resource Centers (30) and Judy Centers (135) that support families.

The Commissions recommendation for the 2019 Legislative Session:

  • Adopt Commission’s policy framework.

  • Allocate up to $325M as a jumpstart for Commission recommendations.

  • Reserve $750M for FY 21 as State’s share of implementation plan’s first year.

The Next Steps

Legislation to be introduced in 2019 session to address the Commission’s recommendations for FY 20 and 21.

Small working group of the Commission will be appointed to review how the total costs will be distributed between the state and local jurisdictions.

Group will meet over the summer with staff to develop recommendations on the distribution of costs and other aspects of the Commission’s charge related to funding formulas.

Commission will meet in the fall to review working group recommendations and make final recommendations.


As a community, we need to prepare by addressing the following questions:

  • What are our concerns about Universal Pre-k? We must develop a plan to address them before final recommendations are made.

  • How can programs be prepared to capitalize on any opportunities that may become available with Universal Pre-K?

  • How will Universal Pre-k impact you current programming model and how will you address it?

We began this conversation at our Quarterly Directors meeting in January, but we need to take the conversation deeper and put together a plan.

We will have a planning meeting next Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 2 PM to initiate discussions. Please be sure to join the meeting! REGISTER HERE!



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