Volume 13, Issue 25

Friday, December 19, 2014

Hot Topics

The White House hosted its first Summit on Early Childhood Education. The Summit brought together a variety of stakeholders, including local government officials; private philanthropy; researchers; federal government officials; and business leaders. The President’s remarks can be seen here. The event also launched the InvestInUs campaign, administered by the First Five Years Fund to encourage private-public investment in a range of early childhood activities. The campaign released a profile of major private commitments, as well as highlighting notable “early learning communities” that may serve as models for other communities. A recap of the ongoing Twitter conversation can be seen here. Several speakers mentioned the recent research consensus letter regarding public investments in early childhood, available here, which has been signed by over 700 researchers.

Maryland has been one of the leaders in developing a Kindergarten Entry Assessment through a partnership with Ohio developed through Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge funds. This week, however, the Maryland State Education Association requested that the state Board of Education suspend and revise the assessment after teachers administering it this fall had concerns regarding length of time and technical issues.  Valerie Strauss has an in-depth look at concerns regarding the assessment the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet, including thoughts from NIEER Director Steve Barnett. Maryland is unlikely to be the only state facing such challenges; according to the Education Commission of the States, 26 states plus DC currently require KEAs, administered either by the state or locally, and another three states are in the process of developing entrance assessments. CEELO offers a resource guide highlighting notable publications and resources on both prekindergarten and kindergarten assessment.

A new theme issue of Early Childhood Research Quarterly co-edited by Steve Barnett at the National Institute for Early Education Research, Mathematica Senior Fellow Kimberly Boller, and Stacie Goffin of Goffin Strategy Group looks at the range of purposes in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) and research on QRIS effectiveness as a change agent. 

NIEER will be closed along with Rutgers University for winter break starting on December 25. We will reopen on January 5, 2015. Look for our newsletter to resume in your inboxes on January 9. Happy holidays!

A few NIEER staff members show their holiday spirit.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

The White House hosted its Summit on Early Childhood Education, which brought together a wide variety of stakeholders focused on early education. The Summit also served as the platform for announcing the winners of federal funds to expand and improve these programs. Our new blog summarizes the day.

In a new blog post, Larry Schweinhart, Steve Barnett, and John Love who all worked with Dave Weikart remember this preschool pioneer. Dave’s legacy continues to shape the field of early childhood education and encourages us to work together to help children succeed in school and life.

Resources

Six agencies in Illinois received ARRA funds in 2012 to develop effective and innovative strategies to recruit young children from families considered "hard to reach" and enroll them in quality early care and education (ECE) programs.  Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Early Childhood and Parenting Collaborative released an evaluation of the project.

A study by Arthur Reynolds on the Midwest Child Parent Center program considered the impact of half-day versus full-day preschool on more than 900 children. They found that children attending the full-day preschool program had greater gains on tests in 4 of 6 domains including socio-emotional development, math, and language, as well as higher attendance and lower chronic absence rates compared to those in a part-day program.

A paper by Urban Institute author Gina Adams reviews the interaction of child care policies and programs and parent involvement in education and training. Specifically, the paper “examines CCDF eligibility policies and services for parents who need child care to participate in education and training activities.”

BLH Technologies, Inc., seeks an Independent Consultant to provide ongoing services to BLH on behalf of its client, the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), to support the work of the Child Care Policy Research Consortium (CCPRC). Candidates must have expertise in child care and early education research, child care subsidy policies, and initiatives; the implementation of quality enhancement initiatives in early care and education programs; and other key areas concerning child care in the U.S. The position is part time. The preferred candidate will have a graduate degree (Master in Public Policy or Ph.D.). Interested parties should contact Rose Salton by e-mail at hr@blhtech.com.

The National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices seeks a senior policy analyst who will focus on early learning policies affecting children from infancy through 3rd grade. The senior policy analyst will help governors and their staff to advance policies aimed at increasing access to and quality of early care and education programs (especially by improving the quality of the workforce that delivers early education to children) and aligning states’ ECE and K-12 policies related to issues such as learning standards, assessment, teacher/principal evaluation, and early reading and math. Applicants should have Master’s degree and at least 5 years of state-level education policy experience strongly preferred. Details are available here.

CEELO Update

The first meeting of the CEELO Leadership Academy fellows was held in early December in Washington, DC. The meetings was designed to deepen knowledge of personal leadership and management competencies; increase self-awareness of leadership goals, style, and challenges; and to increase awareness of how organizational and political circumstances impact the exercise of leadership. Coaches assigned to each fellow are intended to provide on-going support, resources and guidance to the fellows in defining the purpose, goals, execution, and results of their job-embedded projects. Fellows come from Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, and Tennessee. Agendas, bios and information about the meeting are available here.  

Join us for a webinar on Jan 27, 2015 at 3:30 PM ET.  Focusing on Evaluating Early Childhood Educators: Prekindergarten Through Third Grade, a Supplement to the Practical Guide to Designing Comprehensive Educator Evaluation Systems | October 2014. Co-sponsored by the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders and CEELO, register today to hear about the development, recommended uses and expected tools from the supplemental guide.  Learn from key state leaders who will share the challenges and successes their state agencies experienced when implementing evaluation systems for teachers in the early grades. Save the date and Register now!

Calendar

Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 5:00pm

The South Carolina-based Institute for Child Success (“ICS”), a leader in Pay for Success (“PFS”) finance for early childhood programs nationally, offers jurisdictions interested in improving outcomes for children and bringing new resources to early childhood programs two exciting opportunities: A national conference on Early Childhood Pay for Success and Technical assistance to help jurisdictions move from interest in Pay for Success to implementation. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015 -
4:00pm to 5:30pm

This event is part of the New York City Wonder of Learning Serioes. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015 - 8:00am to Sunday, March 15, 2015 - 12:30pm

The American Montessori Society will be having their annual conference in Philadephia. Find more information here

Early Education News Roundup

Friday, December 19, 2014
(The Washington Post)

The state of Maryland has developed a new Common Core-aligned “kindergarten readiness assessment” for teachers to administer to young kids to see, rather obviously, if they are “ready” for kindergarten. Now hundreds of kindergarten teachers who used the computer-based test for the first time this fall are pushing back, saying the assessment is not appropriate and won’t help them teach. Kindergarten teachers have been giving readiness tests to youngsters for many years. Today at least 25 states mandate a kindergarten readiness assessment and this is likely to rise. As standardized testing has become a key component of school reform and early childhood education, new emphasis has been placed on ensuring that children are “ready” to enter kindergarten, and new assessments that evaluate a range of social and academic abilities are being created. The U.S. Education Department, for example, this month announced that $250 million in federal funding was going to 18 states to create or expand existing preschool programs, with one of the requirements the creation of  kindergarten readiness assessments (KRAs). . .

Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute of Early Education at Rutgers University, said that kindergarten readiness exams can be useful but in some cases, can also be wasteful. 

 

Thursday, December 18, 2014
(The Republic)

The Mississippi Board of Education is abandoning incremental goals in favor of big ones, according to a strategic plan released Thursday. And while Superintendent Carey Wright and others have been trying to round up enough money to incrementally expand Mississippi's recently created state preschool program, now the goal is to provide high quality preschool to every child. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
(Jackson Free Press)

A growing body of research has found that high-quality pre-K programs can teach children important classroom skills like how to raise their hands and pay attention, as well as boost reading and math skills. Data released earlier this year found that two-thirds of Mississippi's students start kindergarten unprepared and are less likely to be proficient readers by third grade. For years, Mississippi's students of all ages have scored at or near the bottom on national standardized reading and math tests.

Many educators say that, to improve later outcomes, Mississippi must first improve early education. Nationwide, about 28 percent of 4-year-olds attend state-funded preschool programs according to the National Institute for Early Education Research, although access and quality vary greatly.

As of 2013, 10 states did not offer preschool, while states like Oklahoma and Florida provided pre-K to more than 74 percent of their 4-year-olds. Some states have high-quality programs as evidenced by such traits as ensuring teachers hold bachelor's degrees and enforcing small class sizes. Other states meet few of these high-quality guidelines.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
(NewsTalk Kit)

Gov. Jay Inslee has a plan for putting $2.3 billion more into preschool through college education and workforce training and for meeting the state’s obligation to the Supreme Court a year early. On Monday, he announced his education policy initiatives at a town-hall style meeting in person in Bellevue and on video screens in Moses Lake, Spokane and Tacoma.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
(Your4State.com)

As part of President Barack Obama's efforts to support early education, Virginia was awarded a large federal preschool expansion grant and Winchester was one of the many locations selected. 

$17.5 million was awarded to the state and Winchester Public Schools requested $4 million. 

Several factors played a role in determining which locations qualified for the grant such as: level of poverty, percentage of children entering the state's literacy level and the number of at-risk four-year-olds. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
(StateImpact)

The numbers are in, and it looks like interest is high for the first phase of Indiana’s first state-funded preschool program. More than 1,600 applications came in from families interested in taking part inOn My Way Pre-K, which will launch infour of the five selected pilot counties – Allen, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh – in a few weeks. That number far exceeds capacity. The state originally intended to enroll between 350 and 400 children in those four communities. Lemons says due to the high interest, the FSSA is trying to see if they can make room for a few extra spaces.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
(The Washington Post)

The Maryland State Education Association is calling on the State Board of Education to suspend its Kindergarten Readiness Assessments, arguing that teachers lose too much instructional time administering the new computer-based tests and are not receiving useful data to improve teaching and learning. Betty Weller, the president of the teachers union, said the MSEA fielded numerous complaints from teachers after they started administering the test this fall. The union wants the state to halt the testing until issues surrounding the assessment and its implementation are resolved.

Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute of Early Education at Rutgers University, said teachers nationwide have had similar complaints. “Every state is grappling with the same issues,” he said. But Barnett said the assessments provide education policy experts the tools they need to determine what type of reforms should be considered for early education; what type of support children need before they go to kindergarten; and a base line of a student’s skills as he or she moves through elementary school.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
(RH Reality Check)

Thousands of early child-care providers and educators ask themselves the same questions each day as they care for and educate nearly 12.5 million children under age five. They will soon care for millions more under two new federal initiatives set in place within the past month: a $1 billion initiative announced Wednesday to provide public and private grants to states to expand their pre-kindergarten programs, which is part of a $75 billion package calledPreschool for All to create universal pre-K education for 4-year-old children, and thereauthorization of the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), a block of funds totaling $5.3 billion for early child-care centers and schools for children ages 1-to-4 nationwide. These federal initiatives will allow states to allocate more funds to further train caretakers and teachers, to improve and enforce safety and health standards, to provide new education materials, and to create more vouchers for low-income families to enroll their children in early childhood programs. But amid the cheering for these laws and the progress they represent, one critical element of quality childhood education remains noticeably absent from the conversation: funding to pay much more to teacher and caretakers, some of the lowest-paid workers in the country. Federal early child-care and education policies must require states to raise caretaker and teacher salaries, or else qualified workers will continue to struggle, earn less than they deserve for this vital work, or leave the field, while the children—at their most critical development stage—will receive lower-quality care.

Monday, December 15, 2014
(Fort Bend Independent)

McClelland and Postl cited research which shows that 85% of a child’s brain development occurs by age five yet only 5% of public education dollars are spent on early childhood education. The National Institute for Early Education Research reports that children who participate in full-day prekindergarten programs are better prepared for kindergarten than children who participate in half-day programs and that children who are not reading at grade-level by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school. They cite evidence which indicates that participation in high quality pre-kindergarten programs has been shown to be effective in helping children read at grade-level by the third grade.

Monday, December 15, 2014
(Education News)

President Barack Obama is embarking on a $1 billion package that will provide public and private funding for US preschool programs during a summit on early childhood education. The Obama administration is also set to launch its “Invest in US” campaign in the hopes of increasing private investment in the programs.  A promotional campaign will include the voices of a number of celebrities including Shakira, Jennifer Garner and John Legend. The package will see 75% of its funding coming from existing government grant programs.  Almost four dozen private sector companies, including LEGO and PVH Corp, who owns such clothing lines as Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, have each promised donations of over $300 million put together. According to the Education Department, the new grants will give 63,000 children access to early childhood education programs in the coming year.
 

Monday, December 15, 2014
(Tacoma News Tribune)

Meisner, who has spent decades working in early-childhood education, said these kids often don’t have the same opportunities for early learning and social interaction that kids from more affluent families have. That means they might start elementary school with fewer skills than their peers.

Tacoma is trying to close the gap. The district now offers preschool at 30 of its 35 elementary schools.

Free programs include Head Start, a federally funded program for low-income children who are at least 3 years old, and ECEAP (Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program), a similar program funded by the state. Both have the same goals: early learning, family support, parent involvement, and child health and nutrition.

 

Monday, December 15, 2014
(TRNS (Opinion))

We now know there’s an “achievement gap.” This “achievement gap” in lower-income families (and perhaps high-stress families) can be found in the skills of children as young as nine months old. This means that the neuro development in these young children starts lagging and continues to lag until the beginning of school. Children of higher income families simply start out ahead.

The numbers can’t lie. According to the report, “The Economics of Early Childhood Investments,” about 60 percent of three- and four-year-olds whose mothers have a college degree are enrolled in preschool, compared to about 40 percent of children whose mothers did not complete high school.

Saturday, December 13, 2014
(The Gadsden Times)

Seven months ago, we addressed a “good and bad news” situation for Alabama’s First Class voluntary pre-kindergarten program. The National Institute for Early Education Research praised the program as one of only four in the U.S. that met all its quality standards, something it actually has done for eight straight years. However, the institute also noted its limited scope; just 6 percent of Alabama’s 4-year-olds participated in 2012-13, the school year studied.

Since then, the Legislature has increased Pre-K funding to $38.5 million annually, and state grants have helped establish additional classroom sites throughout much of the state, including Etowah and other Northeast Alabama counties. The program now serves twice as many children, although only the most optimistic “glass half full” advocate would launch fireworks over a 12 percent participation rate. That’s about to change, however, thanks to a big chunk of federal money.

Thursday, December 11, 2014
(app.com)

New Jersey should be required to provide more school aid and universal preschool for 16 mostly poor, rural districts, including four in Ocean County, attorneys representing the districts argued in court Thursday. The Education Law Center — which represented Lakewood, Lakehurst, Ocean Township (Waretown), and Little Egg Harbor schools in addition to the other “Bacon” districts — said the districts are unable to provide an adequate education to their students due to cuts in state funding.

Thursday, December 11, 2014
(Bloomberg Businessweek)

Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Illinois has won an $80 million federal investment in early childhood education. Illinois will receive $20 million annually for four years through the Preschool Development Grants competition, which is part of President Obama's call in 2013 to expand access to high-quality preschool to every child in America. Thirty-six states competed for a total of $250 million annually over four years to provide children from low-income households with access to early childhood education. The announcement is part of Governor Quinn's Birth to Five Initiative, which expands access to early learning opportunities.

"Providing high-quality early childhood education is a game changer for our economy," Governor Quinn said. "While Illinois currently leads the nation in the number of three-year-olds in preschool, we have much more work to do. This major investment in Illinois' littlest will have a big impact in many of our communities. Every child, no matter where they live, deserves the opportunity to succeed in life."

Thursday, December 11, 2014
(The Atlantic)

Reading aloud introduces more and different words into the vocabulary of both parent and child at a time when the child's brain is growing at its fastest. Researchers have found that 86 percent to 98 percent of a child's vocabulary by age 3 consists of words used by his or her parents. It's no wonder, then, that young kids of professional parents know twice as many words as the kids of low-income parents. By age 4, the average child in a poor family might have experienced 13 million fewer words than the average child in a working-class family. Between the highest and lowest ends of the economic spectrum, there could be a 30-million-word gap in children before they reach kindergarten, according to psychologists Betty Hart and Todd Risely, who published their findings in 2003.  She and millions of other parents share the same dilemma: How do we give our kids the best start possible when most of their early exposure to the world comes from us? It's a lot of pressure on parents, whether they dream of a future Rhodes Scholar or struggle just to keep their children fed and clothed.

Thursday, December 11, 2014
(New York Times Motherlode blog)

Invest in us. We’re too small to fail.

So say a growing number of businesses, foundations, organizations and state and local leaders of children in their first five years (from birth to age 5). Today, President Obama announced over $750 million in federal funding for early learning programs through the Preschool Development Grants and Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships as well as calling for the expansion of early childhood opportunities for children across the country through public and private commitments to investment in early childhood programs and research.

Thursday, December 11, 2014
(790 Talk Now)

Texas was not a winner of the big prize that would have garnered up to $120 million over four years for universal preschool. HHS announced awards for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership and Early Head Start Expansion grants designated for expanding and improving preschool. The feds granted Texas programs approximately $30 million. The largest chunk of government dollars will go to San Antonio and Edinburg, each receiving $7.4 million. Early Head Start is the pre-preschool version of Head Start. Head Start's Program Standards or the National Institute for Early Education Research are cited as the program's benchmarks, Breitbart Texas reported. This kind of pre-K also comes with a mandate for voluntary home visits.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
(VPR )

Vermont's road to universal preschool got smoother with fresh federal assistance announced Wednesday. Over the next four years, the $33 million grant will help public schools partner with private childcare centers and Head Start programs to raise standards and train teachers.  Vermont has been on a roll when it comes to federal support for preschool. First there was a $37 million “Race To The Top” grant, which establishes a framework for a state-wide preschool program. Now comes a grant almost that big to help districts fill that framework, hiring and training teachers and expanding pre-K hours.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
(azdailysun.com)

 President Barack Obama is following up on his promise to expand early education opportunities for tens of thousands of children by announcing a $1 billion public-private investment in programs for the nation's youngest learners.

The president will join a daylong summit convening at the White House on Wednesday to announce the investment in early learning programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — especially those in lower-income communities. Nationwide, 28 percent of America's 4-year-olds were enrolled in a state-funded preschool program last year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
(U.S. Department of Education)

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced today that 18 states have been awarded grants, totaling more than $226 million, under the Preschool Development Grantsprogram.

From the 36 applications the departments received, five states will be awarded development grants: Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana and Nevada. Thirteen will receive expansion grants: Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
(U.S. News & World Report)

The children are the future - and the Obama administration agrees. The White House is announcing on Wednesday $1 billion in funding in government, public and private support for early childhood education programs, including $750 million in federal investments for preschool development grants and an expansion of the Early Head Start program.

The announcements - which come as part of the White House's summit on early learning taking place in Washington on Wednesday - will also include the launch of a public awareness campaign dubbed "Invest in Us" and spearheaded by the First Five Years Fund. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
(Great Falls Tribune)

Montana was awarded a $10 million federal grant Wednesday to help develop preschool programs for 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.

The money will help preschools in 16 communities, Gov. Steve Bullock and Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
(PBS NewsHour)

Declaring early childhood education “one of the best investments we can make,” President Barack Obama on Wednesday followed up on a promise to expand early education opportunities for tens of thousands of children by announcing $1 billion in public-private spending on programs for young learners.

Obama said that less than one-third of 4-year-olds are enrolled in preschool and blamed the high cost of these programs for essentially shutting off access to poorer infants, toddlers and preschoolers. He said studies repeatedly show that children who are educated early in life are more likely to finish their educations, avoid the criminal justice system, hold good jobs and have stable families. All those factors are good for the U.S. and its economy overall, Obama said.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
(WPRI.com)

Why were Rhode Island officials so excited when the White House announced Wednesday that the state had won a $2.3-million federal grant for its preschool program?

Because the influx of funds will help expand one of the most successful state-funded pre-K programs in the country from 17 sites to 60 sites over the next five years, tripling the number of classroom seats offered to four-year-olds across the state.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
(PressofAtlanticCity.com)

Seven local school districts will be able to expand and enhance their public preschool programs next year as part of a $17.5 million federal grant awarded to the state Department of Education Wednesday.

Nineteen high-need school districts statewide will benefit from the grants designed to add 1,248 new preschool slots for 4-year-olds and improve existing programs for another 1,000 students.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
(Washington Post)

The Obama administration today announced a public-private partnership designed to pump $1 billion into public preschool programs around the country.

At a White House summit on preschool education Wednesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced his agency is awarding $250 million to 18 states to either create or expand existing preschool programs. The states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. In all, 36 states had applied for the grant money.

And the Department of Health and Human Services said it was giving $500 million to more than 40 states to expand Early Head Start and child care programs for youngsters from birth to 3 years old.

About 63,000 children would benefit from those grants, the administration said.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
(Wall Street Journal)

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says New York will receive a nearly $25 million federal grant for preschool programs in the state.

The New York Democrat says the Department of Education funding supports building or improving infrastructure and expanding preschool programs in targeted communities.

They're intended as models for expanding preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
(Washington Post)

Virginia has been awarded a $17.5 million federal grant to expand preschool programs.

Virginia is among 13 states receiving funding from the Preschool Development Grants program to expand preschool. Five other states received grants for preschool development.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014
(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Pittsburgh City Council's "Women's Caucus," the four female members, has carved $250,000 out of the 2015 budget to create a fund for improving child care facilities in Pittsburgh.

The fund, to be housed in the city's Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment, will be used to start a low-interest loan or grant program to "help child-care providers install certain safety features and amenities required for facilities to be considered high quality by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,“ according to a news release.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014
(News4Jax (Florida))

Florida children's advocates are hoping that momentum for investment in early education at the national level will spark interest in changes to preschool funding and policy at the state level as well.

The week after Republicans swept the November elections, Democrat Jim Messina, who managed President Obama's 2012 re-election bid, and Republican Kevin Madden, a senior advisor to rival candidate Mitt Romney, sent a memo urging members of both parties to "seize the opportunity to own the early childhood education issue."

"It's also an issue that has an impact tied to economic performance," Madden told The News Service of Florida last month. "If we're going to create a more competitive workforce for the future, then that begins with an investment in early childhood education."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014
(NPR)

Little children are big news this week, as the White House holds a summit on early childhood education on Wednesday. The president wants every 4-year-old to go to preschool, but the new Congress is unlikely to foot that bill. Since last year, more than 30 states have expanded access to preschool. But there's still a lack of evidence about exactly what kinds of interventions are most effective in those crucial early years. In New York City, an ambitious, $25 million study is collecting evidence on the best way to raise outcomes for kids in poverty. Their hunch is that it may begin with math.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
(Catalyst Chicago)

“People end up using ‘universal’ to cover the notion that they want to serve more than just poor kids and maybe they want to open it up to all kids,” said Steve Barnett, the director of National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. “But that doesn’t mean they’re going to serve everybody.”

In many places, including Chicago, promises of universal programs extend only to low-income families, but other cities have branded “universal” preschool as being accessible to families of all income levels. Some districts are picking
up the full tab for preschool classes, but others, such as Denver, call their programs universal but don’t promise to cover all costs. And many other programs that are billed as universal fall far short of serving every student, at least right now. For example, West Virginia passed a universal preschool bill this year while emphasizing that not all children would be served for at least a decade.

Monday, December 8, 2014
(Utica Observer-Dispatch )

What can CEOs, directors and other business people do to help improve child care and early childhood education?

The Mohawk Valley, one of three state regions to receive funding from Albany’s Early Care & Learning Council to form a business leader work group, is about to find out.

“We’re trying to engage business leaders in understanding the importance of child care and how it impacts them and their bottom line,” said Lorraine Kinney-Kitchen, director of the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Child Care Council, which is administering the money.

Monday, December 8, 2014
(VPR )

Vermont’s Agency of Education has surprised many school districts by delaying the start of a new law mandating universal pre-school. The programs were supposed to be ready by next fall, but the agency says it needs more time to hammer out details and schools need more time to budget. Many districts want to forge ahead anyway. And yet, when she heard about the deadline extension, she felt not relief, but “horror.”  Powers says she felt as though “everything that we had worked for the past year was crumbling underneath our feet, because I was so proud of the fact that we have these 46 extra kids in preschool and now their fate was in jeopardy.”

Monday, December 8, 2014
(Time)

New parents may live in fear of what they’ll pay for their child to attend college—but a nearer-term expense may have an even bigger impact on their wallets, a new survey finds.

Child Care Aware of America’s 2014 report on child care costs found that, in 30 states plus Washington, D.C., the average annual cost of enrolling an infant in a center-based daycare program is more than a year’s worth of tuition and fees at a public college in that state. f that’s not daunting enough, the report released Thursday also notes that infant center-based child care costs twice as much as the average amount families across the country spend on food, and exceeds transportation costs in almost every region in the United States. And for those with two kids, child care costs in 23 states and D.C. exceed the average housing costs for homeowners with a mortgage.

Sunday, December 7, 2014
(Tuscon.com)

To that end, the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona has teamed up with several local agencies to offer free classes, seminars and books to people working with young children. Great Expectations for Teachers, Children and Families, funded through Arizona’s First Things First’s tobacco tax funds, also links local teachers to financial aid and scholarships so they can earn associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. (Learn more at www.getcf.org). Through the program, and the networking and support it provides, the number of Pima County college graduates in the field nearly doubled in five years. In 2009, the year the program started, between 22 and 25 people earned associate’s degrees in early-childhood education from Pima Community College. In May 2013, the number of graduates had risen to 47. Great Expectations also provided funds to begin a new University of Arizona master’s program in the field, and five have graduated so far. . . 

In 2012, the median income for Arizona’s early-childhood teachers was $10 per hour, with Head Start teachers earning an average of $16 per hour and public preschool teachers earning $14.50 per hour, data provided by First Things First show. Of those teachers, bachelor’s degrees were held by about 31 percent of the Head Start teachers, 45 percent of public school teachers and 23 percent of those working in nonprofit schools and for-profit centers, for an average of 26 percent.
 

Friday, December 5, 2014
(The Gazette)

Pony up the money to educate disadvantaged kids from birth until they start kindergarten, or spend more taxpayer dollars later on special education, incarceration or welfare. That was the message newly elected and re-elected state lawmakers representing the Pikes Peak region heard Thursday. At a legislative breakfast in Colorado Springs, early childhood education advocates presented studies they say show that providing quality programs for impoverished children pays off.

 

Friday, December 5, 2014
(Fort Worth Business Press)

If you ask a preschool teacher about the benefits of early childhood education, you’ll probably hear how it builds a foundation for reading and math while helping children learn how to take turns, follow directions and get along with others – all of which are important to success in school.  

As a retired hedge fund partner and a president of a foundation that guides philanthropy to strengthen North Texas communities, we agree completely. Yet we also know there are strong economic benefits as well. We'll begin with value for taxpayers. Enrolling children in quality preschool can save a tremendous amount of money in the long run because it makes it far more likely they will be prepared for school. That means less money for special education and public costs for students who fall behind, which is important because Fort Worth spends more than $10,400 on every pupil, every year for public school students.Nationally, Texas ranks among the top 10 states in the number of children who have access to pre-kindergarten. Unfortunately, the program meets only two of the 10 quality standards that have been articulated by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER).