Volume 4, Issue 12

July 20, 2005

Hot Topics

Preschool programs in states like New Jersey and Texas are seeing more children from immigrant families. That fact is underscored by a new study from the Center for Immigration Studies that says nationwide, 22.7 percent of all births in 2002 were to foreign-born women. In New Jersey, 31.9 percent of all births in 2002 were to foreign-born women. That's the highest of any state in the nation. Even so, the Garden State's Abbott District preschool classrooms have improved at the same time rising numbers of children are challenging the system. The percentage of classrooms scoring in the good to excellent range increased from 13 percent in 2003 to nearly 40 percent in 2005.
Among the states beginning to free up funds for preschool programs is Pennsylvania where a $15 million increase for Head Start is included in the $24 billion state budget. That represents a doubling of the state's commitment to Head Start. In addition to supporting Head Start, the state has block grants that support programs at the district level.

NIEER Activities

Much of the recent growth in pre-K participation can be attributed to the growth in state-funded pre-K according to NIEER Assistant Research Professor Jason Hustedt at the "Universal Preschool: Past, Present, and Future" workshop held at the American Federation of Teachers QuEST (Quality Educational Standards in Teaching) Conference. Dr. Hustedt's presentation focused on current trends in state-supported preschool education and the status of universal pre-K initiatives across the nation. Of the 38 states with state-funded programs, some of which contain universal elements, only Georgia and Oklahoma offer programs that are universally available to 4-year-olds. Florida is scheduled to begin a universal pre-K program next month and several other states are moving toward UPK.

Calendar

July 27, 2005 - July 30, 2005
Denver, CO – The theme of the conference is "Taking Family Child Care to New Heights: Strengthening Curriculum, Community, and Culture."
August 2, 2005 - August 4, 2005
Seattle, WA – Exchange insights and receive guidance from child care experts and advocates as well as government professionals at GSA's annual conference.
August 3, 2005 - August 5, 2005
Chapel Hill, NC – This conference explores many topics related to the implementation of inclusive services.

Early Education News Roundup

July 19, 2005
Tampa Tribune
At the same time Florida launches its voluntary prekindergarten program, it's pulling the plug on scholarships for child care workers to get the credentials they need to teach.
July 19, 2005
The Times, Trenton, NJ
Despite classes that are held in unconventional buildings, such as aging churches, homes and storefronts, preschools in Trenton and 30 other impoverished districts are rapidly improving, experts say, bringing hope of considerable strides toward raising the education levels of poor, minority children closer to their suburban counterparts.
July 18, 2005
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Latino children account for one in five children of preschool age, but too few have access to high-quality programs, leaders at the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza said yesterday.
July 17, 2005
The Times, Trenton, NJ
In 1998, the state Supreme Court decided preschool was crucial if New Jersey were to narrow the achievement gap largely harming minority children in New Jersey's poorest cities.
July 15, 2005
Chicago Tribune
District leaders said the private partnerships amount to a dramatic expansion, because the money will convert thousands of day-care slots into quality preschool slots for far less than it costs to create new classrooms in schools.
July 15, 2005
The Daily Oklahoman
Now is not the time to pull back on support for a pre-K program that leads the nation.
July 12, 2005
The Houston Chronicle
The hope is that with an extra push in the summer, at-risk Head Start children will be ready for kindergarten.
July 11, 2005
The Tennessean
The Office of Early Learning was created to guide schools through the process of opening new classrooms, training staff and drumming up community support.
July 5, 2005
Boston Herald
Researchers have found children who attended a comprehensive health and early education program in Brookline in the 1970s did better in school and were healthier.
July 5, 2005
The Albuquerque Tribune
There is great consternation over public education and how to fix it.

Resources

This new report from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) reviews SREB states' progress in getting young children, particularly those from low-income families, prepared to start first grade ready to learn. In doing so, the report profiles the high-quality preschool standards, assessments of school readiness, health and social services for at-risk children, and other efforts SREB states use to achieve school readiness.
In this article, NIEER Research Associate Debra Ackerman discusses issues surrounding the possibility of implementing a policy requiring teachers to have a bachelor's degree before working with preschool children. The article also provides implications for policy makers and researchers for optimizing implementation of a BA policy and ensuring that supports for the policy are in place.