Volume 13, Issue 10

Friday, May 16, 2014

Hot Topics

NIEER released its 2013 Preschool Yearbook this week, highlighting key findings in state-funded pre-K programs in the 2012-2013 school year. The annual report found that enrollment of 4-year-olds decreased by about 9,000 from the previous year, the first year an enrollment decrease has been seen. State pre-K funding per child increased slightly by $36, which recoups less than 10% of the more than $400 per-child cut in 2011-2012. The report was released at CentroNía/DC Bilingual Public Charter School with remarks from NIEER Director Steve Barnett, Robert Dugger business leader and co-founder of ReadyNation, and Roberto Rodriguez of the White House Domestic Policy Council. A recap of the event, as well as the earlier media call with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, is available on our blog. The report has enjoyed extensive media coverage, including an interview with Steve Barnett with the Wall Street Journal’s Tanya Rivero and coverage by both Education Week and the Associated Press.  Mundo Fox provided Spanish language video coverage.

This week Seattle Mayor Ed Murray submitted a proposed Action Plan on Preschool for All to the City Council. It includes detailed recommendations for the program design and the associated costs of high-quality preschool for Seattle. The Council is likely to make final decisions by the end of June 2014. The plan calls for legislation that would result in a ballot measure ordinance with a four-year property tax levy, raising $14.5 million annually. The cost to the average homeowner in Seattle would be $3.63 per month–about the cost of a latte–over the next four years. The Seattle Preschool Program will be voluntary for providers and participants and would serve 2,000 children in 100 classrooms by 2018. The Seattle Preschool Program proposal is built on the high-quality parameters of the BERK recommendations.

Alabama's First Class voluntary pre-kindergarten program is one of four state pre-K programs in the nation with standards that meet or surpass all the quality benchmarks in The State of Preschool 2013. On Tuesday, Governor Robert Bentley announced the recipients of grants that will offer 1,800 more students access to pre-K classrooms in 40 counties this fall. The Alabama Legislature this spring passed an Education Trust Fund budget that added $10 million for pre-k expansion, raising total state funding for the program to about $38 million.

On May 15, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved the Strong Start for America’s Children Act by a vote of 12 to 10. Archived video of the hearing is available. The bill seeks to expand access to high-quality preschool for children from families with incomes under 200 percent of poverty, by offering states financial incentives to increase enrollment and raise standards in existing state pre-K programs. Strong Start also supports greater access to higher education for the early childhood workforce and Head Start-Infant/toddler care partnerships. The Committee defeated an amendment offered by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) as a substitute to the Strong Start legislation. Details regarding Strong Start and Senator Alexander’s proposed amendment are provided in this fact sheet from CLASP. Full text of the bill is available.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

This blog highlights key findings of the 2013 State Preschool Yearbook as well as highlights from Tuesday’s release event.

NIEER blogs to correct inaccuracies regarding a recent NCES report, State of Preschool 2013: First Look, and NIEER’s The State of Preschool 2013

Resources

A study on the economic benefits of providing cash versus in-kind services (such as kindergarten) to families of young children found that  cash transfers reduce child poverty by one third, with the estimated impacts in Austria, Ireland, Sweden, Hungary and Finland above average. When services are accounted for, child poverty falls by one quarter and poverty among children enrolled in childcare is more than halved. This reduction was highest in Belgium, France, Hungary, Iceland and Sweden.

CEELO Update

CEELO Senior Research Fellow Jim Squires delivered a presentation on Using Fine Art to Promote Early Learning to the Communities of Coastal Georgia Early Literacy Initiative in Southeast Georgia on May 8, demonstrating how multiple domains of early learning, including language and literacy, can be addressed in a standards-referenced model by introducing young children to works by Great Masters and local artists.

NIEER/CEELO Senior Research Fellow Jim Squires will present at the National Inclusion Institute in Chapel Hill, NC on May 19-21, joining colleagues in offering workshops on Issues and Actions: Achieving Full Inclusion from Birth - Third Grade and Oh, the Stories Data can Tell.

 

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of the two consortia working on Common Core-aligned assessments, has released a draft K-2 “Model Content Frameworks” for English Language Arts and Math, which will be used to guide implementation of Common Core standards and to design formative assessments in these grades. They are accepting feedback from now through May 30th. This page also provides the opportunity to give feedback on K-1 prototype formative tasks. 

Calendar

Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 8:00am to Saturday, May 17, 2014 - 5:00pm

Join the McCormick Center for its  Leadership Connections national conference, at the Wheeling Westin, just north of Chicago, IL. Sessions are designed for a range of individuals, including any child care administrator, policymaker, resource and referral specialist, college instructor, family child care provider, or independent consultant. Meet national experts, learn new skills, and gain the knowledge you need to be more effective in your leadership role. Equally important is the opportunity you’ll have to network with others who are doing similar work and experiencing the same challenges you do.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 8:00am to Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 5:00pm

The Inclusion Institute is the premier event for people from all early childhood sectors to come together to learn, share, and problem-solve about inclusion for young children.

Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 9:30am
Saturday, June 7, 2014 - 2:00pm
Sunday, June 8, 2014 - 8:00am to Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 5:00pm

The NAEYC 2014 National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development will be held in Minneapolis June 8-11. A list of featured sessions is available here

Monday, July 7, 2014 - 8:00am to Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 5:00pm

The conference title for 2014 is Collaboration and Coordination: Understanding Systems Supporting Young Children and Their Families....HSRC12 will highlight research focusing on service integration, coordination and alignment, while continuing to showcase evidence-based best practices and new research surrounding child care, Head Start, home visiting, and other early childhood programs and approaches.

Monday, July 7, 2014 - 6:30pm
Friday, November 21, 2014 - 8:00am to Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 5:00pm

The conference will focus on exploring identities in a changing world (including but not limited to gender, culture, religion, linguistics, ability and environment) as well as supporting equity in research, practice, and policy. 

Early Education News Roundup

Thursday, May 15, 2014
(El Pregonero [This article is in Spanish])

Although increasingly more recognize the benefits of starting education at an early age, enrollment of four year-olds decreased for the first time in a decaderegistering a reduction of 9,000. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014
(News Channel 5)

State funded preschool enrollment declined for the first time since 2002 but local school officials say the number is set to rise back up. A study released by the National Institute for Early Education Research says in the 2012-2013 school year, less students were enrolled in state funded preschools. The findings show that only one in five four 4-year-old were enrolled in the program. A recent statement from the Colorado Preschool Program says those numbers are only temporary

Thursday, May 15, 2014
(The Huffington Post [Op-Ed])

A new State Preschool Yearbook looking at California's early learning programs found that our state is moving in the wrong direction. We are one of only five states in America that meet fewer than half of 10 quality benchmarks. . . 

As home to one in eight of America's children, California has the opportunity to move the nation in the right direction. According to a report by the National Institute for Early Education Research, the decrease in California children served in early learning programs actually "pulled the national total down."
Thursday, May 15, 2014
(District Administration)

De Blasio’s efforts to expand pre-K are part of a nationwide trend, with dozens of cities and states, governors and city council members considering ways to boost early childhood learning programs.

Thursday, May 15, 2014
(The Seattle Times)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray believes that making preschool free or at least affordable for all families in Seattle would be his most important work in office. But he doesn’t want to rush it.

On Thursday he proposed placing a four-year, $58 million property-tax levy on the November ballot that would focus first on boosting the quality of existing programs, then on ramping up enrollment.

Thursday, May 15, 2014
(Greater Greater Education)

Almost 1 in 5 DC preschoolers had more than 10 unexcused absences last year, according to a study recently released by DC Action for Children, a nonprofit that focuses on disadvantaged children in DC. And because that figure doesn't count excused absences, it almost certainly understates the problem. . .

Studies have shown that chronic absenteeism in preschool is correlated with academic problems later on, especially if those children are low-income.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
(LA Times)

Senate leader Darrell Steinberg strongly criticized Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal on Wednesday, signaling the potential for difficult spending negotiations in the weeks ahead. . . Universal preschool, which could cost $1 billion a year, remains a goal for Steinberg. He said Brown is wrong to ignore the benefits of expanding early childhood education.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
(Montgomery Advertiser)
This fall, more than 7,300 4-year-olds across Alabama will be given the opportunity to go to preschool for free — at one of the best state-run programs in the country.
 
For the eighth year in a row, Alabama's First Class voluntary pre-kindergarten program is one of five states in the country that met all the quality benchmarks set out by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). On Tuesday, Gov. Robert Bentley also announced the recipients of grants that will give 1,800 more students access to pre-k classrooms in 40 counties this fall. The state Legislature this spring passed an Education Trust Fund budget that allocated an additional $10 million to expand pre-k, bringing total spending for the program to about $38 million.

 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
(The Plain Dealer)

Democrat Ed FitzGerald unveiled his first detailed policy plan Wednesday — a plan for state-funded preschool for all Ohio 3-and 4-year-olds. . .

Altogether, only about 13 percent of 3-year-olds and 19 percent of 4-year-olds in Ohio are enrolled in public preschool programs, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
(Cincinnati.com )

The Cincinnati Preschool Promise – a movement to bring quality preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds – has built momentum to secure a safer, more employable, more prosperous city. Despite the Cincinnati Preschool Promise's good efforts, however, much of our population remains unaware of the importance of early childhood education.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
(USC Annenberg)

This all means we’re fast approaching a pre-K golden age, right?

new report out this week from the National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER) cleanly punctures that fantasy. Or more precisely, if major changes are indeed afoot, they had yet to surface in time for last year’s data. NIEER’s yearbook finds total enrollment in state-funded pre-K programs was down slightly in 2012-13, while per-child funding flat-lined.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
(The New York Times)

Yet today the American dream has derailed, partly because of growing inequality. . . 

We could stop subsidizing private jets and too-big-to-fail banks, and direct those funds to early education programs that help break the cycle of poverty. We can invest less in prisons and more in schools.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
(Las Vegas Sun)

Nevada continues to have one of the lowest preschool spending and enrollment levels nationally, according to a Rutgers University report released this week. . . The National Institute for Early Education Research, a nonpartisan research organization at the New Jersey university, has tracked student enrollment levels and state spending on preschool programs since 2002. The group's "2013 State Preschool Yearbook" looked at spending and enrollment levels from the 2012-13 school year.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(Washington Post)

Enrollment in state-funded preschool programs nationally declined for the first time in more than a decade, reflecting lingering effects of the economic downturn, according to a national survey released Tuesday.

Across the country, 4,000 fewer children attended state pre-kindergarten programs in 2012-2013 than the year before. Most of the reductions were concentrated in large states, including California, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

“Our nation has emerged from the recession, but preschool age children are being left to suffer the effects,” said Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, based at Rutgers University, which publishes the annual report.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(Orlando Sentinel)

Florida enrolls more 4-year-olds in state-funded pre-K than any other state but spends far less than most and provides a program that falls short of "quality standards," according to an annual report on the nation's preschool efforts released today.

The annual State of Preschool report's findings for Florida were similar to those in past years.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(News Channel 4)

Oklahoma is getting some national recognition today for its work regarding state-funded pre-school programs in a new study. It shows Oklahoma is a leader in early childhood education.

new study the National Institute for Early Childhood Research just released shows nationwide preschool enrollment has declined, but not in Oklahoma.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(EIN News)

ReadyNation/America's Edge, a coalition of more than 1,000 business leaders from across the country, is calling for an unprecedented expansion of quality preschool for children from low- and moderate-income families. ReadyNation founder Dr. Rob Dugger made the announcement at the release of the annual State of Preschool report from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). He voiced strong concerns about the economic impact of weak enrollment in public, private, and church preschool programs, cuts in funding for many of those programs, and the fact that more than 500,000 children are in programs that meet few quality standards.

Dugger and NIEER Director Steve Barnett emphasized the need to ensure all children are in high-quality programs, with teachers who have bachelor's degrees, small classes, age-appropriate curricula and other factors tied to success. The Strong Start for America's Children Act will support state preschool programs that incorporate these qualities.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(EdCentral)

After the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) nearly lost funding last year, the early education community is breathing a sigh of relief at today’s publication of the organization’s annual State of Preschool Yearbook. That is, until we cracked it open. According to NIEER, 2013 marked the first year of decline in enrollment noted by the organization over the decade it has been publishing the Yearbooks. More than 9,000 fewer 4-year-olds were enrolled in state-funded pre-K programs across the U.S. this year. The decline came from just 11 states that reduced enrollment overall, compared with 20 states that actually grew their ranks last year. A massive decline in 4-year-olds’ enrollment in California (14,000 fewer children enrolled), as well as Pennsylvania and Arkansas (2,800 and 2,000 fewer children enrolled, respectively) dragged down the enrollment numbers across the country. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(kuow.org)

The number of preschoolers enrolled in state-funded early childhood education programs is dropping nationally.

A national study released Tuesday shows that Northwest states are holding steady in terms of overall enrollment but continue to rank near the bottom in some key areas

The study from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers Universityhas good things to say about the quality of state-funded pre-kindergarten education in Oregon and Washington. But it shows the number of children receiving this publicly funded opportunity is on the low end.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(Wall Street Journal (Digital))

Despite having support in Washington, preschool education hit a snag recently after a report from Rutgers University found enrollment from 2012 to 2013 was lower than in the previous year. National Institute for Early Education Research director Steven Barnett discusses. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(KGW.com)

A new report card grading state preschool enrollment found Washington is below average in pre-K access for three-year-olds and four-year-olds.

The National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University released the study, which found nationwide pre-school enrollment declined.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(National Journal)

In April, the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights released data for the first time examining the number of young children suspended from preschool programs in public schools.

Gilliam's research shows that high teacher-child ratios and teacher stress—indicators of a low-quality preschool program—are closely associated with an elevated rate of student expulsions. Black children "experience a serious opportunity gap in the form of limited access to high-quality early care and education," and are more likely to be placed in low-quality care, according to research released in November by the National Institute for Early Education Research.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(Hawai'i Free Press)

The 2013 State Preschool Yearbook is the newest edition of our annual report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. This latest Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2012-2013 school year as well as documenting a decade of progress since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year. Tracking trends long term is key to understanding the progress of early childhood education across the country and improving educational opportunities for America’s children. For the first time, the Yearbook also provides narrative information on early childhood education efforts in the 10 states and the U.S. territories which do not provide state-funded pre-K.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(The Washington Post)

The District offers broader access to public preschool than any state in the nation, according to a survey released Tuesday, which showed that the city continues to expand its early childhood education programs even as enrollment in pre-kindergarten declined nationally for the first time in a decade.

The annual “State of Preschool” report from the National Institute for Early Education Research, based at Rutgers University, showed that 94 percent of four-year-olds and 80 percent of three-year-olds were enrolled in the District’s public preschool programs in 2012-2013.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(Wall Street Journal)

This video from the Wall Street Journal shows preschool enrollment dropped between in 2013, the benefits of big data are starting to show up in the doctor's office, how wearable tech is now invading the nursery, and more. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(NPR)

Public preschool enrollment fell slightly last year, according to a report released today by researchers at Rutgers University.

About 9,000 fewer children attended public pre-K programs in 2013 than in 2012, the report from the university's National Institute for Early Education Research says. It's the first time since researchers began examining this issue in 2002 that the numbers have fallen.

The decline is surprising, given the increasing public discussion about the importance of early childhood education. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(MundoFox [This article is in Spanish])
The number of children enrolled in preschool programs supported by States decreased for the first time in more than one decade, standing at 1.3 million for the school year that ended in the year 2013, driven by reductions in States like California and Pennsylvania. . .
 
Currently ten States in the country do not economically support early education programs.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(Daily Mail)

The availability of state-funded pre-kindergarten programs varies widely from one part of the country to another, says a new report.

For example, more than 9 in 10 4-year-olds in the District of Columbia attended such a program during the 2012-13 school year, while 10 states have no such program.

A number of states had fairly high enrollments, according to the report released Tuesday, though slightly lower than the District. More than 7 out of 10 4-year-olds in Florida, Oklahoma and Vermont were in such programs, while about 6 in 10 in Iowa, Georgia, West Virginia and Wisconsin were enrolled.

In fact, even as lawmakers from both parties have embraced the idea of expanding early childhood programs, the number of children enrolled in state preschool programs saw a modest decline of about 9,200 children in the 20-2013 school year — the first such reduction since 2002, when researchers at Rutgers University started tracking pre-K trends. Even as funding increased from a year earlier, more than half of states with programs made cuts. California alone, for example, lost nearly 15,000 slots.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(Univision [This article is in Spanish])
 
Millions of low-income children stay at home without having the opportunity to get an early education. . .

 

The report released by the National Institute for Early Education Research says 20 states have made cuts of at least one per cent in funding for early education programs. Five states cut 10 percent or more. This educator ensures that it is necessary to close the learning gap.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(Education Week)

Spending in state-funded preschools rose a modest $36 per child in the 2012-2013 school year, a new federally funded report says. But state preschool enrollment also dropped by about 9,200 children, the first time a decline has been catalogued since 2001, when the National Institute for Early Education Research first began collecting such statistics.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(Providence Journal)

Rhode Island ranks last in the nation for access for state-funded pre-school programs, enrolling just 144 or one percent of the state’s four-year-olds. . . 

Rhode Island continues to offer a high quality pre-school program, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(EdSource)

California’s state funded preschool program enrolled about 15,000 fewer children in 2012-13 than it had the year before, according to the State Preschool Yearbook by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

Steven Barnett, the institute’s director, said California was one of several large states, including Texas and Florida, to meet few of the quality standards for public preschool programs. California meets 4 out of 10 of the standards established by the institute for high quality programs for 3- and 4-year-olds.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(WHNT 19 News)

The state will issue 100 new grants for Pre-K programs in Alabama, bringing the state to 410 sites statewide. . . 

The National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER) sets benchmarks for Pre-K programs across the nation. The most recent NIEER report gives Alabama’s program top marks. The state meets all 10 benchmarks for quality, one of only four states to do so. . . 

However, the NIEER report does call access “very limited,” stating that only 6 percent of state 4-year-olds receive service.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
(ABC News)

In fact, even as lawmakers from both parties have embraced the idea of expanding early childhood programs, the number of children enrolled in state preschool programs saw a modest decline of about 9,200 children in the 20-2013 school year — the first such reduction since 2002, when researchers at Rutgers University started tracking pre-K trends. Even as funding increased from a year earlier, more than half of states with programs made cuts. California alone, for example, lost nearly 15,000 slots.

Overall, $5.4 billion was spent by states on pre-K funding for about 1.3 million preschoolers.

The report is from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers in collaboration with the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics.

Monday, May 12, 2014
(Parents)

If you followed President Obama's last State of the Union address, you know about his proposed plans for universalpreschool, which could help bridge the educational gap for young kids of different backgrounds. About two out of three 4-year-olds and two out of five 3-year-olds currently attend preschool, and the numbers are rising. The growth in preschool participation has been fueled primarily by three factors: Research has revealed important brain development occurs in the early years of life; there is compelling evidence that preschool has long-term benefits for children, and preschool helps prepare children for the increased demands of kindergarten. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014
(The New York Times (Opinionator))

A 2007 Connecticut study found that poor children who attended economically mixed prekindergarten classes progressed from well below the national average in crucial language skills to just above it during the course of the school year, while those in low-income-only classes remained below the norm. A new evaluation of Boston’s heralded preschools reaches the same conclusion — peers matter. “Vocabulary and background knowledge play a major role in student learning,” says Jason Sachs, who runs the Boston program, “and interacting with mixed-income students allows for richer discussions among students.” (In achievement and other measures, well-off kids in integrated settings do neither better nor worse.)

Friday, May 9, 2014
(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Governor Corbett was in Pittsburgh to make a pitch for more state money for early childhood education. Mr. Corbett said this is a tight budget year, and he was noncommittal as to whether he thinks legislators will agree with the increase, but he said he considers the money for early childhood "the best investment going."

Friday, May 9, 2014
(Desert News)

When Salt Lake City’s Granite School District wanted to expand its successful early childhood education program it dialed up one of the world’s largest investment banks for a loan.Goldman Sachs said yes, launching the first “social impact bond” aimed at early childhood education. The program will be administered by the United Way of Salt Lake, and the state will repay investors based on carefully measured costs of avoided special education expenses down the road. If the results aren’t achieved, Goldman Sachs gets nothing back.

Social impact bonds, or as they are often called, “pay for success loans,” are a new concept of blending public purposes with private resources and approaches. The idea is to set out a measurable and achievable social objective. Private investors fund the project, while an experienced nonprofit organization implements it. A third party measures the results, and if results meet or surpass expectations investors get paid. The Salt Lake bond is the world’s first focused on early childhood education. The two previous bonds—in England and New York City—both focused on reducing prisoner re-offending.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
(Washington Post )

At the heart of these evolving two-generation strategies is a growing body of research that shows high quality early childhood education —the current focus of the Obama administration, business and military groups and philanthropists—is simply not enough to lift a child out of poverty. Not when a child leaves that high quality program and may return home to the high stress that economic insecurity, chaos and a lack of parental education can create.

“It’s not reasonable for the child to be the only change-agent in a family that’s facing economic hardship,” Chase Lansdale said. “We have so much good evidence now about the positive impact of high quality early childhood education. However, those gains may not be enough if a child is coming home to a family with great hopes, but is stressed by making ends meet, working multiple jobs, looking for work or facing food insecurity.”

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
(Portland Press Herald)

Education needs to be the focal point of reducing crime. . . The path for many at-risk kids begins when they start kindergarten with limited vocabularies and without key pre-literacy and pre-math skills. They can also have problems with behavior and impulse control that make it difficult to get along with others, thereby exacerbating academic challenges year after year. . .  

Evidence that quality preschool experiences can significantly reduce these challenges is found in numerous reports released by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, an organization of more than 5,000 chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, attorneys general and violence survivors.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
(The National Journal)

Georgia's universal prekindergarten program is the oldest in the country. It thrives in a red state and is championed by classic conservatives like Deal. The program is open to all students, and it embraces choice—any school that meets the state standards, whether religious, corporate, or private, can apply for funding. And its continued success and popularity reflects the gulf between congressional Republicans—who oppose the Obama administration's efforts to expand access to pre-K nationwide—and the local politicians who have embraced state-supported early-childhood education in some of the most conservative states in the country.

The fact that Georgia's program does not rely on taxpayer dollars has contributed to its bipartisan acceptance. "Pre-K is not a tax burden," says Stephanie Blank, the founding chair of the governing board of Georgia Early Education for Ready Students, or GEEARS. "Some would argue it's a financial burden, but playing the lottery is a choice. That does make it far more palatable."

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
(Northeast Times)

Ex­perts, and some Demo­crats in the Pennsylvania Gen­er­al As­sembly are in agreement the state should fund early education. But, con­cerns about cost and qual­ity are pre­vent­ing oth­er groups, in­clud­ing the gov­ernor’s of­fice, from sign­ing on to the idea. . .

Pan­el­ists also stressed the de­crease in “so­cial costs” later on: money to pay for in­car­cer­a­tion or so­cial ser­vice pro­grams that are used less by people who at­ten­ded pre-school than those who did not. 
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
(USC Annenberg)

One of the recurring themes in the emerging science on early childhood is that early is rarely early enough. Research is finding that many of the skills and behavioral traits that allow a child to succeed in pre-K and kindergarten are laid down even earlier, in the first few years of life. And when kids don’t get the kind of warm, responsive interactions they need with adults, even the best preschool is unlikely to fully unwind the damage.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
(90.9 wbur )

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wants to double the number of 4-year-olds in the city enrolled in preschool by 2018. . . . Walsh on Tuesday announced the creation of an advisory committee to make recommendations by November on how the city can expand access to its full-day preschool, or K1, program.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
(Brattleboro Reformer )

The state of Vermont is poised to adopt a universal pre-kindergarten program for 3- and 4-year-olds. . . .The new law will require school districts to offer at least 10 hours of instruction for 35 weeks to any preschool-aged child. The state will reimburse districts of qualified pre-kindergarten programs offered by private or public providers.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
(The Courant)

The Connecticut legislature has set into motion plans to change the kindergarten entrance age. Under current law, children may enroll in kindergarten as long as they turn 5 by Jan. 1. The legislation calls for a plan that would shift that date to Oct. 1. The change is contained in a bill that establishes the Office of Early Childhood and sharply expands the number of preschool slots for needy children.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
(Greenwich Time)

Even if all 1,020 preschool slots proposed in the state budget agreement reached over the weekend are filled, there still won't be enough affordable seats to prepare every 3- and 4-year-old in the state for kindergarten.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy acknowledged as much on a trip Monday to the private Susanna Wesley School, which he said still has a role to play as the state marches toward universal pre-kindergarten.

"The reality is the growth in early childhood slots aren't going to come in large numbers," Malloy said. "Facilities aren't ready and we will focus first on areas of greatest poverty."

Monday, May 5, 2014
(Washington Post)

The Finnish company that created Angry Birds is marketing an early childhood curriculum around the world that is meant to make learning more fun. Rovio Entertainment is hoping to build on the popularity of the game—one of the nation’s best-known exports with more than 2 billion downloads—with the international prestige of the nation’s education system for its new early childhood program, called Angry Birds Playground.

The program is based on the Finnish national curriculum for Kindergarten for ages 3 to 6, which is largely based on free play and physical exercise. It builds in more technological tools, a reconfigured learning environment, as well as some of the popular Angry Birds characters, to maximize learning through engagement.

Sunday, May 4, 2014
(USA Today)

New light on the health benefits of early childhood programs comes from the latest survey of 111 participants who, beginning at six months of age, took part in the Carolina Abecedarian Project. The program, begun in 1972, originally aimed to test whether giving some small children from poor families day care, good food and rich exposure to books would help them succeed at school and beyond. And to test whether children in a control group, which did not get special help, would languish in comparison.

The project, though small, is one of several "model studies" that economists, among others, value because of their careful design, using control groups, and the thoroughness of the follow-up surveys.

Sunday, May 4, 2014
(NBC Connecticut)

A bill creating a new competitive grant program that aims to increase access to pre-kindergarten slots across Connecticut is moving to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's desk...

The Senate on Saturday approved legislation, on a 32-2 vote, that creates a new program called Connecticut Smart Start. It provides capital grants to any municipality that can demonstrate an unmet need for preschool education. There will be a focus on providing services to needy children.