Congress may consider legislative language authorizing the Promise Neighborhoods program as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) later this year. The legislation is currently being hammered out in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, the committee with jurisdiction over education issues in the Senate. It may include language covering Promise Neighborhoods.
UNCA is joining with PolicyLink, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), the Harlem Children's Zone, and many other organizations in a letter to Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) supporting the proposed legislation. Harkin is the chairman of the committee.
While the language is not yet final, it would authorize 5-year grants for local Promise Neighborhoods efforts. According to the joint letter to Sen. Harkin:
We are pleased to see that your legislation focuses on high-quality early learning programs, effective family and community engagement, and better services for special populations, such as children with disabilities and English language learners. Additionally, we are pleased that it asks grantees to leverage public and private sector support, and coordinate the services and resources of local nonprofits, schools, health centers, universities, and foundations. By authorizing five year, renewable, grants, your legislation will help communities scale up their services and support a new generation of educated workers.
The committee could act on the proposal later this spring. This work follows the recent appropriation of $30 million for Promise Neighborhoods for the current fiscal year.
We strongly urge every organization that supports Promise Neighborhoods to sign the letter. Please contact Kisasi Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510.663.4340 to find out how you can get more involved.