Volume 2, Issue 5

June 25, 2003

Hot Topics

New Jersey Governor James McGreevey, Association for Children of New Jersey Director Cecilia Zalkind, Montclair State University President Dr. Susan Cole, and NIEER Director Steve Barnett described various experiences and factors affecting school readiness at this recent policy forum. Sponsored by ACNJ and the Public Education Institute, the forum featured a keynote address by U.S. Senator Jon Corzine, who highlighted his continued support for access to high-quality preschool for all children.
On Thursday, July 3, PBS, FRONTLINE and the PBS education series, The Merrow Report, will join forces with The New York Times to air an investigation of The Edison Project in “Public Schools Inc.”



"Public Schools Inc." traces the rise of The Edison Project from its first contract to manage schools in Kansas to the present day, visiting successful - and not so successful - Edison Schools. FRONTLINE interviews numerous educators, principals, administrators, parents, and observers on both sides of the debate to examine whether it is possible to change the public school system into a profitable business.



Following the broadcast, you can visit www.pbs.org/frontline/ for extended coverage of this story.
MDRC introduces its first website video presentation - a five-minute video describing the major findings on the impacts that welfare employment programs have on children and adolescents. These findings have previously and continue to figure prominently in the debates on welfare reform.

NIEER Activities

The 4th World Congress of the International Health Economics Association, held in San Francisco, focused on the challenges of developing accurate health economics research and policy analysis. NIEER Director Steve Barnett joined the multi-faceted discussions related to economics of health disparities, aging and health economics, and poverty and health.

Calendar

July 13, 2003 - July 16, 2003
Denver, Colorado -- Learn about important education issues and network with key players in education policy at the Education Commission of the States' 2003 National Forum on Education Policy.
July 21, 2003 - July 25, 2003
Washington, D.C. -- The National Center for Education Statistics conference of elementary and secondary education data users and providers.
July 21, 2003 - July 22, 2003
Ypsilanti, MI -- High/Scope offers training opportunities for early education teachers and administrators.
August 16, 2003 - August 19, 2003
New Orleans, LA – Join professionals from the fields of education, law, medicine, and social work at National Association of Counsel for Children’s 26th National Children’s Law Conference.

Early Education News Roundup

June 25, 2003
Athens Banner-Herald
National public finance experts have lauded Georgia's lottery because it funds two programs Georgia never had before - free preschool for 4-year-olds and scholarships to colleges and technical schools. Many states with older lotteries "earmarked" funds for certain programs but mixed the profits with other state revenues, so sometimes the net benefit was hard to discern.
June 24, 2003
Herald News, Hackensack, NJ
New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey told a group of preschool teachers and child advocates that he will continue to expand early childhood programs throughout New Jersey.
June 23, 2003
The Sacramento Bee
California's fledgling drive to give all children access to high quality preschool has bumped up against an unavoidable fact: The state doesn't have any money to spend on big new initiatives, and likely won't in the immediate future. But where public coffers have run dry, private efforts can fill in around the edges, and they are doing so, nicely.
June 23, 2003
PNNOnline
Jumpstart Corps members help preschool children build pre-reading and language skills that are vital to success in school and in life. If the current funding dispute is not addressed, Jumpstart may cease working in up to 80 of its current 120 preschools.
June 22, 2003
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
How strong Head Start is depends upon a single factor: how good the quality is invested in the Head Start program model and how well the program is implemented at the local level. The evidence is overwhelming; the magnitude of positive outcomes is directly related to the quality of the program.
June 21, 2003
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A local congressman and a federal official said yesterday that a bill introduced this week to reauthorize Head Start would increase funding for the preschool program and make it more accountable for getting children ready for school. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, a co-sponsor of the House legislation, and Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families in the Department of Health and Human Services, said the bill would strengthen the standards used to evaluate Head Start programs, which are aimed at low-income children and their parents.
June 18, 2003
Education Week
The Republican-supported Head Start bill now moves on to the full Education and the Workforce Committee. Though a hearing has not yet been scheduled, debate over a proposal to give some states Head Start money directly is expected to continue.
June 16, 2003
Christian Science Monitor
Since 1965, the federal Head Start program has helped preschoolers in poor and at-risk families get an educational leg up. Yet it reaches only about half of the kids it should, according to studies.
June 16, 2003
The Boston Globe
House Republicans are doing a great disservice to the 900,000 poor and minority children enrolled each year in Head Start, the early childhood development program. While everyone can agree on the merits of raising the quality of Head Start teachers, it is unrealistic for Republicans to require bachelor's degrees of the teachers yet not provide funds to pay for those better-educated workers.
June 16, 2003
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Almost half of children entering kindergarten in the United States are unprepared for the journey they are about to begin. Forty-eight percent of these children have moderate to serious cognitive and social problems at kindergarten entry.
June 15, 2003
York Daily Record, York, Pennsylvania
As lawmakers debate a proposal to provide state funding for prekindergarten, full-day kindergarten, and small class sizes, a new report provides at least 400,000 reasons why Pennsylvania needs to fund early childhood education — each of them with a name.
The annual Kids Count Data Book, released last week, shows there are at least 400,000 children in this state who are living in poverty or in family circumstances that could deny them a chance to become part of this state's growing economy.

Resources

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) analyzes the current version of the Head Start reauthorization legislation, H.R. 2210, the School Readiness Act of 2003. The report can be found at the CLASP web site.
For brief, research-based background essays on the major education issues, visit Education Week’s new section, Education Issues A-Z.
The KIDS COUNT 2003 Data Book, published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, features 10 key measures and is intended to bring to light the status of America’s children and to assess trends in their well being. The figures presented reflect significant improvement in child well being in the U.S. during the 1990s.