Volume 10, Issue 19

June 24, 2011

Hot Topics

North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue vetoed the FY 2012 budget passed by the legislature calling for large cuts to education, including Pre-K — but the Legislature overrode her veto, setting the stage for pre-K to receive a 20 percent cut and move from the education department to the health department. Or did it? Enter Superior Court Judge Howard Manning, Jr., who opened a hearing to determine if the new budget and other legislation enable every child to receive a sound basic education. It was Manning who, ruling in the Leandro education equity case eleven years ago, found the state was failing in its duty to provide all children with equal access to a sound basic education and that at-risk students are entitled to pre-K in order to prepare them for it.
An economically disadvantaged Hispanic male in Virginia not attending pre-K has a 50 percent predicted probability of meeting minimum literacy competencies in the fall of kindergarten. However, if the child attends Virginia state pre-K, the likelihood increases to 90 percent. That's one of the findings from a just-completed study from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. State pre-K boosted literacy skills for all kids and, while the effects diminished some over time, the differential effect is maintained for Black and Hispanic students, as well as for students with disabilities.
Children who attended the Chicago Child-Parent Center Education Program had higher educational attainment, income, socioeconomic status, health insurance coverage and lower rates of justice-system involvement and substance abuse up to 25 years later, says a study that followed more than 1,400 participants. Eighty percent of the preschool group finished high school versus 75 percent of non-participants and 28 percent had skilled jobs versus 21 percent of those who didn't attend. The study, led by NIEER scientific advisory board member Arthur J. Reynolds, University of Minnesota, appears in the journal Science.
The Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation (MELF), a business-backed coalition supporting early education reform is pushing to revive a scuttled bill in negotiations with Governor Mark Dayton as part of a budget package aimed at averting a July 1 government shutdown. One reason: Dayton favors applying for Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge money and the MELF-backed bill includes establishing a quality rating system that would enhance the state's chances in the competition. MELF's planned five-year life (funded to the tune of $20 million raised largely from private sources) comes to an end later this year after which the organization's data will move to the University of Minnesota's Center for Early Education and Development.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

Recent posts from NIEER researchers Megan Carolan and Jen Fitzgerald take a look at data on quality standards and enrollment in state-funded pre-K that can be found in The State of Preschool 2010.

New on nieer.org

How we fund early care and education varies greatly from program to program, across states, and across levels of government. Most funding sources exist independent of one another, in different departmental jurisdictions and local, state, and federal governments each have their own funding approaches. A new policy brief by NIEER co-director Steve Barnett and senior research fellow Jason Hustedt, University of Delaware examines sources and models of public financing of early care and education and makes recommendations for improving upon what currently exists so as to remove barriers to increasing program access and quality.

Calendar

July 6, 2011 - July 8, 2011
Denver, CO – The theme of this year's Education Commission of the States summer Forum is "Boosting College Completion for a New Workforce."
July 10, 2011 - July 13, 2011
Orlando, FL – The CAYL Institute will hold its third national conference for elementary school principals in Orlando, Florida.
November 18, 2011 - November 19, 2011
Melbourne, Australia – The theme for this conference is "Honoring the Child, Honoring Equity 11: Inspiring change(s): insights, challenges, hopes and actions."

Early Education News Roundup

June 23, 2011
The News & Observer, Raleigh, NC
The legislature's changes to "More at Four" will cause irreparable damage to the highly regarded pre-kindergarten program and shut out thousands of low-income children, a state education administrator testified Wednesday in court.
June 23, 2011
USA Today
In recent years there has been much emphasis on fighting overweight in school-age kids, but weight problems often begin in younger children, the [Institute of Medicine] report says.
June 22, 2011
The Telegraph, Macon, GA
About half of Houston County's 46 pre-kindergarten teachers in the 2010-11 school year will become elementary school teachers in the fall as cuts to the state's cash-strapped, lottery-funded program take effect.
June 22, 2011
The Columbia Tribune, Columbia, MO
The Columbia Board of Education tomorrow will be asked to approve an operating budget that includes an additional $1.5 million for Title I preschool. The money would replace expiring federal stimulus money previously used to add seven Title I preschool classrooms.
June 20, 2011
Economix blog (The New York Times)
Economists disagree about a lot of things, but many agree that public investments in early childhood education pay off. The social benefits far exceed the social costs.
June 20, 2011
The Altoona Mirror, Altoona, PA
While many parents work, those children who read, play and nap in Pennsylvania's pre-kindergarten care centers develop skills needed to earn success in adult life, according to teachers and caregivers. But they believe that development could be short-circuited because of possible state cuts from Harrisburg.
June 19, 2011
The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, FL
Nine years after Florida voters approved universal pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds, it's impossible to know if voters got the high-quality voluntary program they demanded.
June 17, 2011
The Texas Tribune
The 82nd Legislature delivered a fatal whack to state grants for full-day pre-kindergarten. But some public schools are refusing to let the budgetary machete finish off their early-childhood programs, choosing instead to charge tuition. The state offers half-day pre-K for children who cannot speak English or are from homeless, low-income, foster or military families. That remains fully financed in the budget, according to the Texas Education Agency.
June 16, 2011
The Daily Advertiser, Lafayette, LA
A tax to fund universal prekindergarten in Lafayette Parish public schools could appear alongside a tax to fund the first phase of the facilities master plan this fall ... Five school districts statewide offer universal Pre-K, Early Childhood Education Supervisor Christine Duay said. At least one passed a tax to fund the program.
June 16, 2011
St. Petersburg Times
Another class of Florida 4-year-olds will attend prekindergarten programs this fall with subpar standards and even fewer resources to educate them. Such shortsightedness makes for an unsettling tradeoff.
June 16, 2011
Detroit Free Press
Our young citizens can have choices to be all that they can be when we ensure adequate funding and access to these programs. Preserving state and federal investments in early childhood care and education will help ensure that children in Michigan can enter school ready to learn and stay on track to graduation, when many other doors will be open to them, including military service.

Resources

This report from Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota describes the long-term harmful effects of unaddressed maternal depression on children's development. The annual costs to society for each mother and child affected by maternal depression are estimated to be $23,000 and include pregnancy and birth complications as well as lost productivity. The report examines current research, state data, policies and programs that impact families affected.
This report from the New Media Consortium examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative expression. It presents five challenges that will affect technology adoption in K-12 in the near-term future, including the importance of digital media literacy, economic pressures represented by new models of education, unmet demand for personalized learning and shortcomings in the fundamental structure of K-12 education.
This report from Great Start DC presents results of two studies conducted by the Howard University Center for Urban Progress. One looks at the quality of 113 community-based infant and toddler programs and the other is a workforce development survey administered to 216 community-based infant and toddler programs to gather information of numerous dimensions of personnel. Overall, the quality of the infant/toddler services was "minimal."