Volume 14, Issue 8

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hot Topics

Last week NIEER Director Steve Barnett was featured in a Q&A at Penn’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy, discussing the value of investing in high quality early education programs. A commenter on our Facebook page asked about how to define quality. One quick response is provided by a 5 minute NIEER video.

Another quick, but important response is that the meta-analysis by Camilli et al. provides a key insight--high quality programs provide intentional teaching that is highly individualized. Of course, they also provide strong supports for social and emotional development, and play is a leading activity. Recent blogs at Preschool Matters provide many more details regarding quality. Some resources are available on: Inputs to increase quality in programsDimensions to consider when choosing a curriculumThe impact of teacher qualifications on quality, and What high quality preschool looks like. Other useful information is available from NAEYC, and from AIR.  

Last week Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and ranking Democrat Patty Murray proposed a bipartisan rewrite of No Child Left Behind, their attempt at moving forward legislation that could unite both parties and change the scope of education from K-12 to include early childhood. Fifty years ago, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in order to provide grants to districts serving low-income students and improve quality in elementary and secondary education. In 2002, President George W. Bush reauthorized ESEA and signed it into law, giving it a new name “No Child Left Behind” and an additional mission--to improve education quality. Today, NCLB faces reauthorization again, not only to continue to improve education equity, but also to expand our focus on young learners and on preschool, giving much control back to states, and more federal dollars towards the cause. This week, the HELP Committee will begin its mark-ups of NCLB and will hear close to 90 amendments for improvement. This week, the Senate HELP Committee passed the Every Child Achieves Act, its reauthorization of ESEA, which includes an early learning amendment that would create a competitive grant program to fund states to improve early learning programs. Next it will face a vote in the Senate. For more information on the rewrite of No Child Left Behind’s potential effects on young learners, see New America’s report Moving Young Learners Forward

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

This response on literacy standards, conversation, and the Common Core State Standards is from Sharon Ritchie, Ed.D., Senior Scientist, FPG Child Development Institute-UNC CH.

Douglas H. Clements, preschool and kindergarten teacher, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning, Executive Director, Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy, and one of the members of the Common Core work groups, responds (with assistance from Bill McCallum) on the issue of: Math standards will be too challenging for young children.

In this post, Jere Confrey, Joseph D. Moore Distinguished University Professor, Science, Technology,  Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Department, College of Education, North Carolina State University, discusses why the Common Core State Standards for Math can be considered developmentally appropriate. 

Today in our CCSS forum Dorothy Strickland, NIEER Distinguished Research Fellow, responds to specific issues raised in various venues by questioners, considering whether literacy standards and related assessments can be developmentally appropriate.

On the Common Core State Standards forum, Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, shares some preschool teacher perspectives on assessment.

In this CCSS blog forum post Vincent Costanza, Executive Director, Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, New Jersey Department of Education--and parent--responds on the issue of Parents don’t understand the CCSS and are concerned about what they mean for their children.

Resources

A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America

This report from the U.S. Department of Education outlines the importance of high quality early education and shows how access to these programs is uneven among all 50 states.

The following articles are newly published in the International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy:

From CRRU:

A decade of disconnection: Child care policies in changing economic times in the Canadian context is a study revealing the absence of maternal, child, and child care provider voices in  Canadian policy discussions.

Implementing CCDBG

The National Women’s Law Center and CLASP have released a guide for states on implementing the Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization.

How changes in quality rating systems affect program quality

Research Connections shared a study in Michigan examined how changes to quality rating approaches affected program quality.

 

Exploring the PD Landscape

From FPG, a study examining professional development across four states.

Free Summer Data Workshop

Digging into the NSECE: Exploiting the Potential of the Household and Provider Data Files from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE), July 20-23, 2015, Ann Arbor, MI. Application deadline is May 29; more information here.

Call for Papers

The Institute for Child Success is issuing a call for papers for its annual Early Childhood Research Symposium  to be held October 15-16, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina. ICS invites paper presentations and poster exhibits addressing early childhood development including: physical health and wellbeing; mental health and executive function; epigenetics and environment. Submit your paper in PDF or Word format to Symposium Selection Committee by emailing Emily Carroll (ecarroll@instituteforchildsuccess.org.) Please indicate which track or theme you would like to be a part of and if you would like to present your research via a poster session or research presentation.Proposals must be received no later than June 1, 2015; more information here.

 

CEELO Update

CEELO Senior Fellow Jim Squires supported the Southeast Regional Comprehensive Center's online Community of Practice for SEA early education leaders by presenting the interactive session "Is retention in the early years an effective research-based approach for improving student outcomes?"  With many states incorporating retention in third-grade reading proficiency policies, participants heard what research had to say about the practice of retention, and shared state and local approaches, including early identification and intervention strategies.

Calendar

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 2:00pm

Over the past decade, public investments in early childhood education have increased, and policymakers have focused on creating high-quality, sustainable preschool programs. However, largely missing from early childhood policy discussions is consideration of classroom diversity and how it affects the equity, quality, and sustainability of preschool programs. Studies have shown that socioeconomically and racially diverse preschool classrooms offer important cognitive and social benefits for children, but few children enrolled in public preschool programs have access to these types of classrooms.

Join us on April 29 to hear what we know about racial and economic diversity in Head Start and state pre-K classrooms, how diversity and quality are linked, and what steps policymakers can take to increase diversity in preschool classrooms.

Opening Remarks:

  • Mark Zuckerman, President, The Century Foundation
  • U.S. Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA), Ranking Democratic Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce

Panel Discussion:

  • Jeanne L. Reid, research scientist, National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University; co-author (with Sharon Lynn Kagan) of A Better Start
  • Michael Hilton, Policy Analyst, Poverty & Race Research Action Council; contributor to A Better Start
  • Halley Potter, Fellow, The Century Foundation; contributor to A Better Start
  • Philip Tegeler, Executive Director, Poverty & Race Research Action Council (moderator)

Research for A Better Start was supported by The Century Foundation and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and led by Jeanne L. Reid and Sharon Lynn Kagan of the National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University.

For more information about this event, please contact events@tcf.org.

 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 2:00pm

Over the past decade, public investments in early childhood education have increased, and policymakers have focused on creating high-quality, sustainable preschool programs. However, largely missing from early childhood policy discussions is consideration of classroom diversity and how it affects the equity, quality, and sustainability of preschool programs. Studies have shown that socioeconomically and racially diverse preschool classrooms offer important cognitive and social benefits for children, but few children enrolled in public preschool programs have access to these types of classrooms.

Join us on April 29 to hear what we know about racial and economic diversity in Head Start and state pre-K classrooms, how diversity and quality are linked, and what steps policymakers can take to increase diversity in preschool classrooms.

For more information about this event, please contact events@tcf.org.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 8:00am to Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 12:30pm

The Inclusion Institute, presented by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG), 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. This year's theme is Implementing Quality Inclusion Practices:  Supporting People, Programs, and Policies.

Friday, May 15, 2015 - 8:00am

Presented by Shannon Riley-Ayers and Vincent Costanza, NIEER and New Jersey Department of Education.

Monday, July 27, 2015 - 8:00am to Saturday, August 1, 2015 - 5:00pm

Join OMEP for its 67th Assembly and Conference, Early Childhood Pathways to Success. 

Early Education News Roundup

Friday, April 17, 2015
(WLTX)

Actress Jennifer Garner spent this week in the Palmetto state urging leaders to continue to focus on improving early childhood education. "I really wanted to help kids, like those who I grew up with in West Virginia and in rural America," said Garner.

Actress, Jennifer Garner saw at a young age how living in a middle class family can make a big difference when it comes to education. She's now an ambassador for the Save the Children Network. The program brings books and other tools to children before they are 5 years old in efforts to stimulate their minds.

Thursday, April 16, 2015
(Chalkbeat Indiana)

Public funding for early childhood education in Indiana expanded once again today as Gov. Mike Pence announced the state’s new preschool pilot would grow by nearly 600 more seats this fall.

The announcement is one more piece of good news for preschool advocates in Indiana recently who think the state is long overdue in its investment of Indiana’s youngest learners. But the momentum raises a big question: Now that some public funding is available for preschool, are there enough high quality preschools to serve more children who are expected to enroll? In fact, Indiana has a ways to go if it wants far more children to begin learning basic skills before they start school in kindergarten.

Thursday, April 16, 2015
(U~T San Diego)

As someone who spent decades nurturing this region’s – and California’s – business climate, however, I hoped that the governor would make a bolder investment in one area: preschool.

The research on the economic and social benefits of public investment in quality early-childhood education is beyond compelling. Yet in San Diego and across California, too many of the low-income children who could most benefit from this educational boost are going without.

Thursday, April 16, 2015
(US News & World Report)

Shaking hands and kissing babies. It’s the old stereotype of a political campaign. Now that several candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for the 2016 presidential race, we can expect to see a lot more of both in the next 18 months. But this time around, we should expect candidates to do more than kiss the babies.

Parents, policymakers and the public increasingly recognize the importance of early childhood education.Research documenting the crucial role of early language, social-emotional and cognitive development for children’s later learning has become widely known. High-quality pre-K programs in BostonNew Jersey and Oklahoma have demonstrated the potential of early interventions to produce lasting changes in children’s outcomes. There is also increasing recognition of the strains that working families are under as they seek to balance work and family obligations and obtain adequate care for their children. These are all potential reasons for candidates to pay attention to early childhood education.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
(The Chronicle of Social Change)

A few weeks after the expiration of a growing federal program that invests in home visitation programs, Congress last night approved a two-year extension that keeps it going through fiscal 2017.

The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) will receive $400 million per year in fiscals 2016 and 2017, the same annual appropriation it received for the past two years.

“Congress is making an important investment to transform communities by investing in what we know works to change outcomes for children born into poverty,” said Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) National Office CEO Roxane White, whose organization oversees one of 17 federally approved models of home visitation.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
(NC Policy Watch)

It’s budget time for the state – a good opportunity to review North Carolina’s history of early childhood investments.

Investing in strategies that focus on children from birth to age eight is the most effective and cost-efficient means to improve third grade outcomes and long-term success for children and the state. For optimal development and a strong foundation, children need good health, strong families and high quality early learning and school experiences. With quality early child development experiences, children are school ready, graduate from high school and grow into productive citizens and valuable employees.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
(InForum)

After a 45-minute debate sprinkled with references to TV mom June Cleaver and "cradle-to-grave socialism," House lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to provide state funding for early childhood education, with half of the funding the Senate had approved.

House lawmakers voted 51-40 to approve Senate Bill 2151. The bill now goes back to the Senate, which can either concur with the House changes or request a conference committee to work out difference between the two versions.

The bill approved by the Senate 33-14 in February set aside $6 million for grants to public and private providers to help cover the cost of preschool for an estimated 6,000 children in 2016-17.

 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
(ABC News 4)

Governor Tom Wolf today announced key next steps to further his administration's goal of expanding quality Pre-K education for families and children across the commonwealth.  The Wolf Administration, through the PA Department of Education (PDE), is accepting applications for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program grants. 

"Pennsylvania's publicly funded Pre-K and early education programs provide the foundation children need to enter school ready to learn," said Governor Wolf. "I'm excited to announce this historic expansion.  We are taking proactive steps to ensure that more students have access to high-quality early education options."

PDE is issuing two Requests for Proposals today to support providers' ability to serve children and be ready for enrollment by September 2015. The administration recognizes that providers need to conduct outreach to families; recruit, hire and train staff; and plan for successful implementation of the programs upon approval of proposed funding.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
(MPR News)

On a day when Gov. Mark Dayton returned to a classroom to push his plan for universal preschool for four-year-olds, Republicans in the Minnesota House released an education bill that takes a much different approach. Ignoring Dayton's $348 million funding proposal for universal pre-K, the GOP bill would boost spending on scholarships by $30 million to allow parents to avoid school-based programs by using state money to send their children to other preschools or church schools. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have proposed a bill that does provide money for universal pre-K, but less than one fifth of what Dayton requested.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
(United States Senator Patty Murray )

Today, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered remarks at a HELP Committee Executive Session to markup the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, the bipartisan compromise she reached with Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to rewrite the broken No Child Left Behind law. . .

“I’ve also been very focused on expanding access to early childhood education, so more students start kindergarten ready to learn. As a former preschool teacher, I’ve seen firsthand the kind of transformation that early learning can inspire in a child. I’m glad that our deal clarifies that funding for various programs can be used for early education.  But I don’t think the Chairman’s mark goes far enough. So I also plan to offer a bipartisan amendment to provide grants to states to build on the programs that already exist. This amendment will allow states to better coordinate their early learning programs, increase quality of these programs, and ensure that more children have access to them. And I am hopeful that it can pass with strong bipartisan support."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
(Tuscaloosa News)

The Alabama Senate on Tuesday approved a nearly $6 billion education budget that steers more money to the state’s pre-kindergarten program. Senators approved the Education Trust Fund budget on a 33-0 vote. The spending plan gives modest increases to some state programs but does not provide for a teacher pay raise. It also does not provide a fiscal lifeline that some policy makers wanted to throw to the state’s more troubled budget, the General Fund. The budget provides an additional $13.5 million to Alabama’s often praised pre-kindergarten program. The additional funds are projected to let another 2,600 4-year-olds attend the preschool program.

Monday, April 13, 2015
(NJ Spotlight)

Fifteen years after the start of court-ordered universal preschool for New Jersey’s most impoverished cities, early childhood education for the state’s poorest children is getting a boost this spring with the help of both public and private money. The public funding is coming by way of a $66 million federal grant that is enabling the state to expand, at least in part, the programs now in 31 districts under the Abbott v. Burke rulings into another nearly 20 communities -- the first major expansion of the program in a decade. . .

But a smaller sum coming from a new private group may be just as important. Pre-K Our Way is leading a campaign to pressure the state’s politicians to provide the money to significantly expand preschool into many more districts.

Monday, April 13, 2015
(EdWeek )

During Tuesday's Senate education committee markup of the bipartisan Elementary and Secondary Education Act rewrite, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the ranking member and co-author of the bill, will offer an amendment to strengthen early-childhood education—and it looks like she has the Republican support needed to do so.

The amendment would create a competitive-grant program to provide funding for states that propose to improve coordination, quality, and access for early-childhood education. States would apply for three-year grants and provide matching funds to support "sustainable improvements and better coordination" of their early-learning and care systems.

Monday, April 13, 2015
(BusByway)

This morning, the Mark Taper Auditorium at the Los Angeles Central Library was filled with over 100 patrons, comprising local parents, early childhood education stakeholders and policymakers, who gathered together to witness and engage in the launch of LAUP’s Clinton Global Initiative America Commitment to Action: a vocabulary-building campaign called Take Time. Talk! Giving Children the Words They Need.

“Take Time. Talk!” aims to close the 30-million word gap that exists between children of the low- and high-income families, by teaching parents and caregivers how to engage their children in positive, open-ended conversations, whether at the grocery store, enjoying a meal, bath time—or a variety of settings.

As referenced by LAUP’s CEO Celia C. Ayala in her opening remarks, LAUP is just one of many organizations across the country who has launched a campaign in order to combat this widely-acknowledged “word gap.” With New York, rolling out its "Talk to Your Baby" public awareness campaign last week, Too Small to Fail’s recent unveiling of their “Talking is Teaching” campaign, the launch of LAUP’s tool widens this national conversation, establishing roots in Los Angeles.

Monday, April 13, 2015
(Peoria Public Radio)

Illinois received 20 million dollars from the federal government for expanding access to early childhood education. Illinois currently enrolls just over a quarter of its 4 year olds in state-funded preschool for low-income families. 

Reyna Hernandez of the Illinois State Board of Education says it's hoping to expand that number with Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed increase of 25 million dollars to early childhood education.

Monday, April 13, 2015
(ABC7)

U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton and Rep. Bruce Westerman have announced a $3.2 million grant to an early childhood education program in south Arkansas.

The grant announced Monday by the three Republicans goes to Families and Children Together, Inc. to provide early childhood and preschool services to children and families in Calhoun, Columbia, Dallas, Ouachita and Union Counties

Monday, April 13, 2015
(The Herald News)

Lawmakers will have some “very difficult decisions” to make, Kendall County State's Attorney Eric Weis said, with an estimated $6 billion budget deficit and more than $110 billion in unfunded pension obligations serving as the backdrop.

But early childhood funding should be the priority, he said.

"Right now, the state's looking at ways to reduce the prison population. But we've come to realize is that ... if you keep them out of the system in the first place, it's the best investment there ever is," Weis said. "It's difficult for people to see that because you have to invest now for something that you won't see for 15, 20 years."

Sunday, April 12, 2015
(Daily Globe)

Minnesota may be on the verge of closing one of its biggest opportunity gaps, if lawmakers can find a compromise for expanding state-funded preschool. Gov. Mark Dayton and his Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party colleagues proposed spending $343 million in the next two-year budget to provide universal access to preschool. Republicans called that plan too expensive, but some GOP lawmakers back a smaller plan to expand preschool scholarships that needy families can use at programs they choose. Dayton continues to call early-childhood education a top priority of this legislative session and his second term as governor. The goal is universal preschool, but Dayton said he wants to find middle ground with Republicans. . .

Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, said given Minnesota’s commitment to strong public schools, he is surprised the state serves so few preschoolers. “Minnesota really stands out as a state with good government that’s really made no progress at all,” Barnett said.

Saturday, April 11, 2015
(Idaho Statesman)

One of the fundamental values that Idahoans hold dear is that all people, especially our children, deserve a fair chance to achieve the American dream. The trouble is that value is not a reality for too many of our children. Only 54 percent of Idaho children have the reading skills needed to begin learning when they enter kindergarten. This is akin to a road race where half of the runners are lined up at the starting gate and the other half are starting from a mile back. The chances of the half not ready for kindergarten ever catching up with their peers is statistically low and the future for many of them is not very bright. Kids who are not ready to learn are more likely to struggle in math and reading, drop out of school and end up on social services or in the criminal justice system. The probability is increased that they will not go to college and obtain a good family-wage job. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Friday, April 10, 2015
(U.S. News & World Report)

In debates about education, early childhood often comes across as K-12’s overlooked little sibling. With no guaranteed access for children and families, lower resource levels and lower quality standards for many programs, the early childhood field lacks many things that the K-12 system takes for granted. It can be tempting to think the solution is to make early childhood – or at least pre-K – look more like the K-12 system. But that would be wrong. Young children have unique early learning needs, and the educational approaches – to instruction, curriculum and assessment – that work best for young children are different from those commonly used in K-12 schools.

In fact, not only do good early childhood programs look different from K-12 schools, the K-12 system – particularly the early elementary grades – could learn some things from early childhood. Although our public education system arbitrarily starts at age 5, child development experts define early childhood as the period from birth through age 8. This means that roughly a quarter of the children in our public education system – those in grades K-3 – are still in early childhood and could benefit from educational approaches that are common in pre-K, but rare in K-12 schools.

Friday, April 10, 2015
(Star Tribune)

Minnesota has become a hotbed for preschool innovation, with more than $44 million in federal grants and several closely-watched pilot projects. Preliminary evaluations of Parent Aware’s four pilot sites show that highly rated day cares and preschools can improve children’s language, social and pre-math skills — and that the gains are even larger for children from low-income families.

But a new report covering Parent Aware’s rollout since 2012 shows that most parents still don’t use it and most child care providers still haven’t volunteered to be rated. Of Minnesota’s roughly 12,000 licensed child-care centers and homes, just 1,900 have been rated by the four-star system.

Friday, April 10, 2015
(The Washington Post)

Observers say the current effort by Alexander and Murray stands the best chance in years. The Senate education committee is scheduled to take up the bipartisan proposal April 14, and Alexander hopes to bring it to the full Senate for a vote before Memorial Day. Efforts to pass a bill in the House are less clear; a GOP bill was passed by committee on a party line vote but the legislation was pulled off the House floor mid-debate in February after complaints by conservatives that it didn’t go far enough to scale back federal oversight of schools.

Duncan was generally positive about the Alexander-Murray bill but said the Obama administration wants a final law to expand early childhood education and to place stronger demands on states to improve their worst-performing schools, among other things.

“The goal is not just to acknowledge a problem, to identify a problem, but to do something about it,” Duncan said. “One of the things we’ve done at the federal level is to challenge states and districts to take on the lowest-performing schools. The fact that the high school graduation rate is at an all-time high, the fact that African American dropout rates have been cut by 45 percent and Latino dropout rates have been cut by half, that would not have happened” without pressure from the federal government.

Friday, April 10, 2015
(Montana Public Radio)

The Republican-controlled Senate today gave preliminary approval to the state’s main budget bill. The GOP majority allowed only a few technical amendments and resisted attempts by Democrats to add additional funding or programs to House Bill 2. This includes a Bullock Administration proposal to fund early childhood education.

The proposal sought to add $37 million in the coming biennium for early childhood education. Governor Steve Bullock calls the initiative Early Edge.

Friday, April 10, 2015
(U.S. News & World Report)

In debates about education, early childhood often comes across as K-12’s overlooked little sibling. With no guaranteed access for children and families, lower resource levels and lower quality standards for many programs, the early childhood field lacks many things that the K-12 system takes for granted. It can be tempting to think the solution is to make early childhood – or at least pre-K – look more like the K-12 system. But that would be wrong. Young children have unique early learning needs, and the educational approaches – to instruction, curriculum and assessment – that work best for young children are different from those commonly used in K-12 schools.

In fact, not only do good early childhood programs look different from K-12 schools, the K-12 system – particularly the early elementary grades – could learn some things from early childhood. Although our public education system arbitrarily starts at age 5, child development experts define early childhood as the period from birth through age 8. This means that roughly a quarter of the children in our public education system – those in grades K-3 – are still in early childhood and could benefit from educational approaches that are common in pre-K, but rare in K-12 schools.

Thursday, April 9, 2015
(MyFoxAtlanta.com)

Andrea Stockton is a very busy Brooklyn mom of three on a mission. She is devastated over the disappearance of half-day pre-k for the coming fall. All district seats will be full-day with very limited half-day programs. It's why Andrea started a petition on change.org to have the option of half day.

More than 700 people have signed it in just two weeks. Almost 22,000 families applied for full-day seats on Monday. Universal pre-k was one of Mayor Bill de Blasio's first big goals when he took office.

Thursday, April 9, 2015
(TwinCities.com)

Minnesota's reputation for good government owes much to a bipartisan willingness to make public policy based on hard evidence and a concern that public dollars be spent where they will do the most good. So it is to be expected that Gov. Mark Dayton's proposal to offer every Minnesota child a high quality preschool education should be greeted with tough questions.

Isn't a targeted preschool program for children in poverty a better use of scarce public dollars?

Do children from middle-income families really need and benefit from publicly funded preschool?

As I explain below, the answers to these questions favor preschool for all.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
(Wall Street Journal)

Mayor Bill de Blasio defended on Wednesday his administration’s push for universal full-day prekindergarten in New York City, responding to complaints from some parents who believe there should be more half-day options because they believe a full-day program is too exhausting for 4-year-olds.

“What I’ve said as a matter of policy — and I ran on this as my number one agenda item — is we need full-day pre-K. It is transcendent,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference. “It’s what will prepare our kids for what they need and the education reality of today and the economic reality of today. So, that’s what we are going to orient our system to.”

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Thanks to New Hampshire, Utah doesn't have the smallest percentage of students enrolled in public preschool programs.

But the Beehive State does have the second-smallest percentage, a distinction it shares with Hawaii and neighboring Idaho, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
(Washington Post)

Just about everyone with a stake in public education is weighing in on the Senate’s bipartisan effort to rewrite the nation’s main education law. And while there’s no consensus, a wide range of groups and people are exhibiting cautious optimism that the draft bill released Tuesday could be the first step toward reaching a bipartisan deal in an otherwise gridlocked Congress.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
(NJBiz.com)

Evaluations conducted by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University show that children who have had access to high-quality preschool have a 20-40 percent increase in elementary school test scores and are 40 percent less likely to stay back a grade than students who did not have access to preschool. By 4th or 5th grade, these children are, on average, three-quarters of an academic year ahead of students who did not attend a quality preschool and are also less likely to require special education.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
(Cronkite News)

Investing in early childhood development reduces the dropout rate, teen pregnancy and prison costs while producing a better-educated workforce, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Tuesday.

“Wherever I go, there is huge, huge need,” Duncan said after visiting an inner-city school district’s early childhood education center.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
(Washington Post)

The federal role in local schools would be significantly reduced under a bipartisan proposal released Tuesday by Senate leaders working to replace No Child Left Behind, the country’s main education law. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and ranking Democrat Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) want to shift decisions about academic standards, whether and how to evaluate teachers, what to do about low-performing schools and other matters to states and local school districts.

The 600-page bill rejects the prescriptive nature of No Child Left Behind and the Obama administration’s K-12 policies. “Basically, our agreement continues important measurements of the academic progress of students but restores to states, local school districts, teachers, and parents the responsibility for deciding what to do about improving student achievement,” Alexander said in a statement.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
(Wall Street Journal)

Free, full-day prekindergarten was one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first big pushes when he took office. Now, some parents are pushing back on the full-day part. . . 

The city’s shift toward full-day seats, he added, “unfairly hammers that choice.” Public half-day options have declined since the 2013-14 school year, when 26,400 children were enrolled, according to the Department of Education. As of November, the city provided 5,000 half-day seats in district schools and 7,600 in community-based centers.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
(Education Week)

Only 41 percent of the nation's 4.1 million 4-year-olds are enrolled in publicly funded preschool, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education. To address this "unmet need," the report calls for Congress to include preschool and other early-learning programs in its looming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the primary federal law governing education in the U.S. The reauthorization "must reflect real equity of opportunity, starting with our youngest learners," the report states.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
(AZ Central)

More than 80 percent of 4-year-olds in Arizona are not enrolled in publicly funded preschools — among the highest rates in the country, according to a new study by the federal government. Nationally, 59 percent of 4-year-olds are not in preschool programs paid for with tax dollars, according to the study released Tuesday by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

The national study was released the same day that Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, visited a preschool class in Phoenix. Duncan touted the administration's efforts to get more federal funding for early-childhood education.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
(myarklamiss.com)

The U.S. Department of Education released a new report today detailing the unmet need across the country for high-quality preschool programs. According to the report, A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America, of the approximately 4 million 4-year olds in the Unites States, about 60 percent – or nearly 2.5 million – are not enrolled in publicly funded preschool programs, including state preschool programs, Head Start and programs serving children with disabilities. Even fewer are enrolled in the highest-quality programs. In Louisiana 54 percent of 4-year-olds are not enrolled.

The report highlights the need for an Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that expands access to high-quality early learning opportunities and makes the law preschool through 12th grade, rather than K-12. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussed the report today during a visit to Martin Luther King Jr. Early Childhood Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
(Plunderbund)

There are 144,309 children age 4 in Ohio. Two percent of them are enrolled in preschool, which includes state preschool, Head Start, and special education preschool services, but does not include privately funded or locally funded preschool programs. The percentage enrolled in federal Head Start programs is 12 percent. Five percent are enrolled in special education preschool services. Of the total, 116,712 4-year-olds or about 81 percent are not enrolled in a publicly funded program.

These figures for Ohio are contained in a new report released Tuesday by theU.S Department of Education that details the unmet need among the 50 states for high-quality preschool programs.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
(Yourwestvalley.com)

Gov. Doug Ducey touted the importance of early childhood development Tuesday but then defended the fact Arizona puts no money into those programs for most students -- or even funds full-day kindergarten. And the governor even refused to commit to backing congressional reauthorization of a federal law which has given some money for preschool programs in Arizona.

The comments came as U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan came to Arizona, at least in part to push for extension of the law, briefly touring a preschool class at Martin Luther King Elementary School in Phoenix.

Monday, April 6, 2015
(Seattle Times)

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a rollout plan for the city’s new preschool program Monday, five months before the first classrooms open this fall.

The plan lays out how the city will choose which preschool providers will participate in the city-subsidized program, which will be funded over the next four years with a $58 million property-tax levy voters approved last fall.

Sunday, April 5, 2015
(NJ.com)

We're not alone. The New Jersey State Legislature felt that preschool was so important to the future of our children and state that it passed a law in 2008 to bring preschool to towns throughout New Jersey. Today, only 31 districts have these high-quality programs while another 90 continue to wait for New Jersey's proven high-quality preschool programs.

It's time to insist that our state makes good on its promise, because New Jersey's preschool program gives children a promising start in life. Children who are fortunate enough to attend preschool do better in school. They are less likely to need remediation and special education and more likely to be engaged in school.

According to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University, children who have had access to high-quality preschool have shown a 20 to 40 percent increase in elementary school test scores and are 40 percent less likely to stay back a grade than their counterparts who did not have access to preschool. They also found that by 4th or 5th grade, these children are, on average, three-quarters of an academic year ahead of students who did not attend a quality preschool and are also less likely to require special education.

Saturday, April 4, 2015
(AL.com)

"For once, Alabama is No. 1 for something other than football," Jeanna Bulman, a pharmacist, said. "In pre-k education, Alabama ranks No. 1 in the nation. A lot of people don't really know that. The word hasn't really gotten out about that."

If parents knew that, Bulman said the demand for Alabama's First Class voluntary pre-k program would be even greater than it is now. And right now, the demand is pretty high.

Alabama Department of Children's Affairs Commissioner Jeana Ross said 7,542 children, or 13 percent of all 4-year-olds in the state, are currently enrolled in 419 pre-k classrooms.

In 2013, 9 percent of the state's 4-year-olds were in pre-k.

Contingent on state and federal grant funding, Ross expects to be able to add at least 175 classrooms in the fall, serving an additional 3,150 children. Priority is given to high poverty and high risk areas of the state.

But, that still won't meet the demand. The Department of Children's Affairs has already received applications for 411 classrooms, including one in Orange Beach.