Volume 10, Issue 26

September 23, 2011

Hot Topics

Tulsa World: Oklahoma announced they will apply for federal funds.

The Virginian-Pilot: Virginia is still considering whether to pursue the grant money.

The Idaho Statesman: Idaho, that had originally stated an intent to apply even though the state does not have state-funded pre-K, has decided not to seek federal funds.

The Providence Journal: Rhode Island is hosting a number of community education forums to solicit commentary on their application.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Missouri State Board of Education voted to move forward on an application, despite the strong opposition of some in the legislature.

The Boston Globe: Connecticut plans to apply despite being disappointed with their RTT endeavor last year.

The Capital-Journal: Kansas confirmed its intention of applying, with the Kansas State Department of Education taking the lead on the application.

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie announced that the state will use part of a 3-year, $6 million Race to the Top grant to provide preschool to 800 additional students in so-called Zones of School Innovation.
The Florida State Board of Education voted for stricter pre-K program standards and increased effort to weed out programs that offer "a very poor delivery system." Adopted by unanimous vote, the standards now require that 70 percent of Florida's VPK students must be deemed school ready based on kindergarten assessment. Programs that fail to prepare children could lose funding.
A recent self-control study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, used functional magnetic resonance imaging that revealed two different areas of the brain that are used when making a decision. Researchers at the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychology at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City tested 117 adults on the ability to delay gratification. All of the participants were part of a Stanford University study on self-control as preschoolers 40 years previous. The researchers found that "sensitivity to environmental hot cues plays a significant role in individuals' ability to suppress actions toward such stimuli" and that those who had shown a low ability to delay gratification as preschoolers tended to be sensitive to environmental cues.
NBC News' Brian Williams and correspondent Kate Snow will host governors for a special "Education Nation" panel session, "The State of Education: The Governor's Perspective." Early childhood education, budget cuts, teacher effectiveness, and Race to the Top are just a few of the issues that will be discussed. The session is scheduled for Monday, September 26 and will be streamed live at educationnation.com.
Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of Broward County is recruiting candidates for chief executive officer. A not-for-profit corporation, the ELC develops comprehensive service delivery for administering the School Readiness and Voluntary Prekindergarten Programs. More information can be found on the ELC web site.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

In this post, NIEER researcher Megan Carolan explores the issue of chronic absences in pre-K classrooms.

Calendar

October 2, 2011 - October 6, 2011
Washington, DC – The theme for National Head Start Association's leadership skills, policy, and advocacy institutes is "You Thought It Here First!"
October 8, 2011 - October 11, 2011
Nashville, TN – The theme for this year's National Black Child Development Institute conference is "Essential for the Journey of Our Children: Keep the Cultural Fire Burning."
November 2, 2011 - November 5, 2011
Orlando, FL – Join early childhood education professionals, administrators, and advocates for the annual National Association for the Education of Young Children conference.
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."
December 9, 2011 - December 11, 2011
Washington, DC - Zero to Three's annual conference provides professionals with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge about early childhood development through interactive sessions and networking opportunities with colleagues and leaders in the field.

Early Education News Roundup

September 23, 2011
The Star Democrat, Easton, MD
Queen Anne's County is seeing both fewer students and a higher percentage of low income students in its pre-kindergarten program this year. A new requirement that parents who aren't low income must pay for pre-k services, combined with a sluggish economy, appears to have lowered enrollment.
September 23, 2011
Orlando Sentinel
[The] state Board of Education took an important step Tuesday to reverse the backsliding. It voted to toughen the ratings system for the mostly private schools and day-care centers that receive state funds to prepare 4-year-olds for kindergarten. A necessary move, and overdue.
September 21, 2011
The Bemidji Pioneer, Bemidji, MN
Early childhood social and emotional health can affect children their whole lives.
September 21, 2011
Statesman Journal, Salem, OR
In the future Oregon will likely adopt a kindergarten readiness assessment and early learning benchmarks and require providers to hit certain goals to renew their contracts. Those will be some of the proposals before the 2012 Legislature.
September 16, 2011
The Oklahoman
In order to help ensure children are prepared for a lifetime of learning, parents should begin reading to their child as early as birth to build a foundation for school success. It is vital that children have opportunities for positive early learning experiences and safe, nurturing relationships that support their growth and development.
September 15, 2011
The Modesto Bee, Modesto, CA
This opportunity to apply for federal dollars may not come again. In this time of budget cuts, it would be foolish for California to leave federal money on the table to pay for activities that we would be pursuing anyway.
September 14, 2011
The Des Moines Register, Des Moines, IA
As Washington grapples with the federal budget, funding for Head Start should be maintained. When so many families are struggling financially, it is needed more than ever.
September 14, 2011
Maui Now
About 800 additional children in Hawai’i will be subsidized to attend preschool under the state’s Race to the Top initiative. The funding is part of a three-year, $6 million commitment from the state Department of Education (DOE) for early childhood education in Hawai’i.
September 13, 2011
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
In 2010-11 more than 2,000 students were enrolled in the [Pittsburgh school] district's preschool program. As a result of funding cuts, the district closed 15 preschool locations, which put more than 400 children on a waiting list.
September 12, 2011
The New York Times
Today, researchers believe that very young children take naps because so-called sleep pressure builds rapidly in their brains — that is, the need for sleep accumulates so quickly during waking hours that a nap becomes a biological necessity. Possibly because of the intense synaptic activity that goes on in their highly active, highly connected brains, young children are less able to tolerate long periods of time awake.
September 9, 2011
Detroit Free Press
The City of Detroit chose not to apply for a $7.5-million grant that would have helped serve 1,500 low-income children through the education program Head Start, council members were told Thursday. Council members expressed outrage that a city with an unusually high dropout rate would miss an opportunity to provide additional Head Start services, which range from educating children ages 2-5 to providing resources to help their parents.

Resources

Numerous studies have pointed to a link between pre-K education and decreased school dropout later in life. For a handle on the current state of dropouts in the U.S., this interactive map provides statistics nationwide and state-by-state.
Releasing results from the 2010 Current Population Survey, the Census Bureau found a decrease in real median income from 2009, while both the number of people in poverty and without health insurance increased. Notably, the poverty rate for children increased to 22 percent. Additional details are available at http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb11-157.html.