Volume 3, Issue 6

July 23, 2004

Hot Topics

Despite a constitutional amendment that calls for the new preschool program to be in place by fall 2005, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush recently vetoed implementing legislation. Calling it a "well intended effort," Gov. Bush said that the bill didn’t accomplish the conditions that were "set out at the beginning." Those conditions included a high-quality education with meaningful standards. NIEER Director Steve Barnett supported the veto, citing the need for improvements in program and teacher quality. "High-quality preschool programs need fully qualified teachers, small classes, and a strong curriculum. This legislation didn’t deliver a high-quality program." The Governor’s veto message indicates that he will be working with the Legislature to ensure a "smooth statewide implementation of the VPK program by the 2005-06 school year."
Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has signed into law a measure providing junior kindergarten for children who turn 5 after August 1 but are too young to begin regular kindergarten. The rationale, say the law’s sponsors, is to give younger students who may lag behind their older classmates developmentally a chance to begin kindergarten in learning environment tailored to their needs. The law also provides flexibility so that individual students can be placed into the kindergarten program best suited to them. It also enables children to go from junior kindergarten into regular kindergarten or directly to first grade, depending on their progress.
More than one in five children in preschool settings lack immunizations against serious diseases says the Centers for Disease Control, increasing the chances for future outbreaks. The agency says school entry legislation in the U.S. has been critical in keeping immunization coverage rates high, but regulations in preschool and childcare settings are more lax. You can read more at News-Medical.Net (see archived article, July 12, 2004).
The opportunities for care for children and adolescents are limited. The quality of that care matters, though much of the available child care is not of high enough quality to be developmentally beneficial according to a recent discussion that examined tax, childcare and family leave policies. View the power point presentations that supplemented the discussion with the researchers behind the National Research Council’s new publication: Working Families and Growing Kids-Caring for Children and Adolescents presented at the Congressional briefing on Work and Family Policies and Child Development, May 14, 2004.
The "Tools of the Mind" curriculum, early literacy, and Illinois’ efforts to lead the way on the road to more certified preschool teachers are featured in the most recent issue of the NIEER newsletter, Preschool Matters April/May 2004.

Calendar

August 11, 2004 - August 12, 2004
Mahnomen, MN – "Making Connections" features a number of experts presenting the connections between brain development and various aspects of a child’s life.
September 1, 2004 - September 4, 2004
Qawra, Malta – This year’s conference poses the question can research, policy or praxis create a quality curriculum for young children?
September 7, 2004 - September 10, 2004
Las Vegas, NV – Join professionals from the fields of education, law, medicine, and social work at National Association of Counsel for Children's 27th National Children's Law Conference.
September 23, 2004 - September 25, 2004
Dublin, Ireland – The first international conference from the Centre for Early Childhood Development will focus on quality in early childhood care and education.
September 26, 2004 - September 28, 2004
Los Angeles, CA – This year’s conference will provide seminars, forums and workshops led by renowned experts.

Early Education News Roundup

July 22, 2004
The Detroit News
Education is still a major focus, a close ally to economic opportunity. "The most important thing is to continue to invest in education," says Marc Morial, the League’s president and chief executive.
July 15, 2004
The Washington Post
This week, state officials promoted a recent study that measured results after the first two years of operation at 13 Judy centers, named for the late Prince George's County early childhood educator and spouse of U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md). State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick said the findings from 2001 to last year showed that Judy centers help to quickly close the achievement gap when it first emerges for poor and other disadvantaged children.
July 14, 2004
The Honolulu Advertiser
Beginning in 2006, children who turn 5 after Aug. 1 will attend a junior kindergarten for a year before entering regular kindergarten, under a bill Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law yesterday. The new law allows for some flexibility to move the children into whichever level is most appropriate and allows children to be promoted directly from junior kindergarten to the first grade.
July 13, 2004
Los Angeles Times
The new agency, Los Angeles Universal Preschool Inc., will oversee a system being built from the ground up.
July 12, 2004
The Morning Call
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell had envisioned that if school districts chose to spend the money on pre-school and full-day kindergarten programs, 9,000 more students could attend pre-kindergarten programs and 13,000 more could enroll in all-day kindergarten.
July 9, 2004
Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Gov. Jeb Bush vetoed a bill Friday that would have created free prekindergarten for Florida's 4-year-olds, saying it didn't do enough to ensure what enrolled children would learn. Besides not laying out broad goals for what children should learn, the governor said the bill also should have included a requirement for a certain number of adults in each classroom to ensure safety and more specific teacher training requirements.
July 7, 2004
The Baltimore Sun
What Head Start most needs from Congress right now is a bipartisan five-year plan for improving the quality and effectiveness of services for the nation's poorest 3- and 4-year-olds - especially those services that make the most difference in their readiness for school. And it needs a spending plan that adequately supports it.
July 7, 2004
The City Paper, Nashville, TN
Less than half of Tennessee's children who need quality early childhood education programs are receiving them, a report released by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) finds.
July 5, 2004
The Albuquerque Tribune
[Lt. Gov. Diane] Denish is on a mission to convince New Mexico's business community that early childhood development is the next phase of education reform. But getting the business community to universally support her view that early childhood education programs are by definition "education reform" and therefore worthy of receiving a portion of the new money now available, because of the voter-approved increased distribution from the land grant permanent fund last year, is not going to be easy.

Resources

Issue Topic: Early Childhood Programs and Evaluation

The Summer 2004 issue of The Evaluation Exchange focuses on the course of early childhood programming and evaluation over more than 40 years.

This report, a joint publication from the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center and The Trust for Early Education, focuses on the strong relationship between infant and pre-kindergarten policies, noting the importance of the years between birth and kindergarten in laying the foundation for lifelong learning.
This Education Commission of the States report on the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act compares state progress from March 2003 through March 2004 and is based on the results from the Commission's NCLB Database.