Parents as Teachers began in Missouri 25 years ago and has spread to every state, but has never been funded by Congress. Senator Bond hopes to change that.
Senator Bond understands Congress, at present, is focused almost entirely on how to rescue the failing economy. Yet, Bond insists other issues warrant attention, as well.
"During this time, I think it’s important that we not lose sight of our long-term priorities," Bond stated during a speech on the Senate floor in Washington, "We have to build a better safety net for our children and families. We must think about the long-term educational prospects and tools for success our children need, regardless of the economy."
Bond, a Republican, has teamed with two Democrats, Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Susan Murray of Washington, to request $400 million over the next three years to fund state grants for early childhood home visitation. In addition, the legislation would provide $50 million for families with limited English skills and another $50 million for military families with pre-school children.
Bond said Parents as Teachers has proven children can begin the learning process very young.
"Parents are the most influential part of a child’s life," stated Bond, "And it’s my view, that they must be the child’s best, first teacher."
He said studies indicate children establish the foundation for their social, emotional and intellectual health before they ever step inside a classroom.