Blog | February 21, 2017

ReadyNation’s 2017 Outlook

Here, we map out the policy priorities that business leaders know will strengthen families and the economy

While a recently confirmed Secretary of Education and a new Congress digs into its priorities for the year, American families are waiting to see which issues will dominate the early childhood policy landscape in 2017. Here, ReadyNation maps out the 2017 policy priorities that our business leader members know will strengthen families and give kids the strong start they need.

Federal Policy Outlook

In 2017, our Federal Policy team will work toward the reauthorization of several crucial programs strengthening early childhood, supporting parents, and improving education in order to create an educated, healthy, and productive workforce for America:

1. Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) -Because funding for CHIP will expire on September 30, 2017, Congress will need to approve federal funding past this date.

Why we support it: Eight million children receive healthcare through CHIP, and good health is essential to children’s ability to learn.

2. Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) - MIECHV will also require reauthorization by September 30, 2017.

Why we support it: Home visiting programs have been proven to improve a variety of outcomes for children and parents that help them lead more productive lives.

3. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act(CTE) - A modernized and strengthened version of this bill could pass in 2017. CTE reauthorization legislation received strong bipartisan support and passed in the House last year, but stalled in Senate negotiations.

Why we support it: Career and Technical Education is a results-based approach to K-12 education that narrows the skills gap and strengthens the workforce.

4. Pay for Success (PFS) - PFS garnered strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate in 2016. There are high hopes that PFS legislation will pass next year.

Why we support it: This innovative financing vehicle helps direct funds to proven programs while saving money on expensive remedial services.

5. Higher Education Act (HEA) - Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act remains a priority for ReadyNation. To be effective, legislation would need to address the issues of FAFSA simplification, college affordability, and year-round Pell grants.

Why we support it: Today’s jobs demand increasingly high levels of education and skills. Increasing opportunities for access and success will help prepare students with the skills they need to enter the workforce.

State Policy Outlook

ReadyNation members live and work in a wide range of states—each with its unique priorities and policy agendas. We expect significant campaigns to advance early childhood in many states, including Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

2016 Early Childhood Wins that Will Build Momentum in 2017

In 2016, $329.9 million in funding for early childhood programs was won across all the states in which Council for a Strong America’s organizations are active. This includes ReadyNation, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, Champions for America’s Future, and Shepherding the Next Generation. Each of these victories comprised the work of many organizations, and our efforts happened in conjunction with the work of stellar allies and partners in each state. Three examples of big state wins include:


  • $100 million for early learning and child care in 2016-17, increasing to as much as $527 million annually within four years.


  • $30 million increase for high-quality Pre-K Counts and Head Start State Supplemental programs.


  • $79 million increase for the Early Childhood Block Grant.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures database