U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján and U.S. Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández, Melanie Stansbury, and Gabe Vasquez, all Democrats from New Mexico, recently announced that the state will receive $10 million in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve early childhood education.
The state will get the funding via the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five program. The program “empowers state governments to better leverage existing federal, state, and local early care and education investments,” according to a news release from Heinrich's office.
The grants will support initiatives aimed at expanding access to early childhood care and education, the release said.
“This federal funding builds on the transformative work we’ve done to invest in early childhood education and care across New Mexico,” Heinrich said. “By giving our state the tools to better leverage existing investments, this grant provides us an even greater opportunity to change the trajectory of our state in a positive way – making sure every child across New Mexico has an opportunity to thrive.”
Luján expressed a similar sentiment.
“Early investments in young children’s education are investments in the future of New Mexico,” Luján said. “With $10 million in funding headed to preschool in our state, I’m proud to welcome these investments to help support teachers and set students up for success. I remain committed to working to expand resources for students, including New Mexico’s youngest.”
Leger Fernández said that the funding will help more students receive the same opportunities she did growing up.
“When we invest in our students, we invest in the future of New Mexico and America,” Leger Fernández said. “I began my own journey as a lifelong learner in the Head Start program. Today, I am grateful that this $10 million Preschool Development Grant will help our state’s children access the same opportunity I had to learn and develop early on.”
Stansbury praised the move, calling it an investment.
“We know that investments into the education of our children have the largest returns to our community,” Stansbury said. “By investing in the next generation of New Mexicans, we are investing in a brighter future for our state. I’m thrilled to see this $10 million investment into our early childhood education system. This money will help New Mexicans to achieve their dreams in the future while opening pathways for parents with young children to pursue their dreams in the present.”
Plus, Vasquez said the money will improve the future of the state.
“Ensuring New Mexico’s children have access to early childhood education helps secure a better future for our state,” Vasquez said. “I’m proud to see this $10 million federal investment to our early care and education system. By bolstering programs that focus on children’s early education, we are improving New Mexico’s future.”
The New Mexico delegation has advocated for increased early childhood education and care spending from the federal government in recent years.
For example, Heinrich supported the Omnibus Appropriations Agreement for Fiscal Year 2023 in December 2022 which included early childhood education funding for the state.
Heinrich and Stansbury introduced the New Mexico Education Enhancement Act in 2021, seeking congressional approval for the state to invest Land Grant Permanent Fund money into early childhood education.