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Tennesseans for Quality Early Education (TQEE) works to advance high-quality early care and education through policy development and advocacy. They do this by leading a statewide coalition and promoting a robust policy agenda that reflects the importance of the birth through third grade continuum in preparing children for future academic success.

State Allies:

Tennesseeans for Quality Early Education • Nashville, TN
Top Priorities for 2021

Expand quality pre-k for disadvantaged 4-year-olds, beginning in rural distressed and at-risk counties.

Develop framework and “user stories” to support the creation of an integrated early childhood data system that links to K-12 data.

Expand the number of quality, affordable child care slots with strategies that meet new COVID-19-driven supply and demand trends.

Expand evidence-based home visiting by at least doubling current budget.

Promote quality improvements for pre-k through 3rd as a continuum through high quality curricula and professional development.

Tennessee’s 2020 Early Childhood Policy Landscape and Progress:

Estimated FY20 State General Fund Expenditures

House (R), Senate (R),
Governor (R)

319,835 Young Children (0-8) are Below 200% FPL

COVID-19 resulted in the shutdown of the state legislature midway through the session. As a result, 99 percent of all legislation, including bills TQEE was sponsoring or supporting for pre-k expansion, school nurses, child care reform, TANF expenditure accountability, and a pre-k through 3rd grade literacy initiative, came to a halt, and budget cuts commenced. In positive news for 2020, TQEE’s advocacy led to the doubling of home visiting’s current budget.

*Early childhood policy progress in a state is the result of numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

More from Tennessee:

tennessee early childhood policy

Tennessee Pre-K Quality Improves Again — Thanks to Policy Changes

Tennessee now meets eight out of 10 quality standards benchmarks that evaluate the effectiveness of preschool education programs, according to The State of Preschool 2019 report issued by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). This ranking comes as a result of successful policy changes that enabled Tennessee to meet the Continuous Quality Improvement System (CQIS) benchmark for the first time.

Read More »

Download the full 50-State report.

The Alliance for Early Success 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Policy expands state data (disaggregating low-income young children by race) and provides high-level state policy trend analysis for the nation as a whole. Click the icon to download the report.

State Budget Data: National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), “Table 4: Fiscal 2020 State General Fund, Estimated (Millions); The Fiscal Survey of the States.” Spring, 2020

Low-Income Data (including disaggregation by race): National Center for Children in Poverty, “NCCP Analysis of ACS 1-year Estimates—Public Use Microdata Sample, 2019.”

State Action Data: Provided by state advocates, October-November 2020, with analysis and synthesis by Frontera Strategy for Alliance for Early Success, “Protecting Progress and Investing in Scale: The 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Education Policy.”

Additional State Actions: Mincic, Melissa,  Early Care and Education, State Budget Actions, Fiscal Year 2020. National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), October 2020. 


The Alliance for Early Success is achieving large-scale, long-lasting change for the state’s young children by providing our allies with powerful advantages that help them shape Tennessee early childhood policy.