Volume 4, Issue 14

August 25, 2005

Hot Topics

A task force on public education co-chaired by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, Goldman Sachs executive Philip D. Murphy and George Mason University Professor Roger Wilkins is recommending a national plan for education reform in the U.S. that includes universal preschool, a standardized curriculum, and full-day kindergarten for all schools. Saying American children do not spend enough hours in class to compete in the 21st century job market, the task force says its proposals, which include extending the school day and year, are unified around more and better uses of school time. Napolitano, who has championed all-day kindergarten in Arizona, calls the No Child Left Behind Act a promising start but said it is not providing enough resources to renew the education system. She said some money spent by NCLB could be put to better use on universal pre-K. Implementing their recommendations would cost $325 billion over 10 years, says the task force, brought together by the Campaign for America's Future.
A report from the Alliance for Excellent Education says the cost of replacing public school teachers who leave the profession is $2.2 billion a year. The leading cause of teacher attrition is not retirement but other reasons such as job dissatisfaction or the pursuit of non-teaching jobs. Attrition is about 50 percent higher in poorer schools than wealthier ones and new teachers are more vulnerable to leaving the profession than those already established in school systems. Besides better pay, the report's authors recommend a combination of high-quality mentoring, professional development and interaction with teachers and community to keep more teachers on the job. The most common source of dissatisfaction: lack of planning time.
The New York Times reports sales of education software for home computers dropped from $498 million in 2000 to $152 million in 2004, reflecting the trend away from the home computer as a center of learning for young children. While the number of educational programs for PCs selling more than 10,000 copies has dropped by half since 2001, parents are spending more on educational tools and services than ever. Sales of toys that help teach continue to grow, as do tutoring services for children. They now account for $4 billion a year in sales. Children's Technology Review Editor Warren Buckleitner sees a future for PC-based software, though, as growing bandwidth permits richer content from the Internet.
A Gallup poll shows that Americans think the government should be trying harder to fix their existing schools before funding private alternatives. While the majority of people surveyed back President Bush's goal of eliminating the achievement gap between disadvantaged and more advantaged children, they do not favor giving taxpayer money to private schools. More than half of the 1,000 U.S. adults surveyed believe No Child Left Behind relies on a single test and that it is unfair. House Education Committee John Boehner called the poll inaccurate.
An article in the August 19 issue of The Lancet says routine screening of newborns for permanent childhood hearing impairment (PCHI) increases detection by 43 percent. The percentage of children referred for hearing problem interventions by 6 months of age increased from 31 percent when there were no newborn screenings to 74 percent when there were. Enrolling children with PCHI in intervention programs before 9 months of age can reduce developmental deficits of language and speech.

Calendar

September 23, 2005


San Antonio, TX - Learn how to excel in staff management and communication at this one-day seminar.
September 28, 2005 - October 1, 2005
Brisbane, Australia - This conference will explore creative and inventive approaches to early childhood education.
October 13, 2005 - October 16, 2005
Portland, OR - This conference explores a wide range of important issues facing those who work with young children with special needs and their families.
October 16, 2005 - October 18, 2005
Orlando, FL – This conference will provide participants with hundreds of seminars, forums, and workshops lead by education experts.

Early Education News Roundup

August 23, 2005
The Boston Globe
Research indicates that college-educated teachers create richer learning environments.
August 21, 2005
The Honolulu Advertiser
The current under-investment in a child's critical early years is not consistent with what we know about child development.
August 20, 2005
The Des Moines Register
Government involvement is critical, but not sufficient.
August 20, 2005
The Charleston Gazette
Within seven years the West Virginia Department of Education will be required to offer preschool to all 4-year-olds who want it.
August 18, 2005
Citizen-Times, Asheville, NC
Experts and educators agree that the initial separation anxiety for preschoolers is worthwhile.
August 17, 2005
The Los Angeles Times
To keep a competitive economy, Los Angeles needs an education system that prepares children for the workforce.
August 15, 2005
The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY
Rising academic demands have gradually replaced naptime with reading lessons for many kindergartners.
August 11, 2005
The Salt Lake Tribune
The rest of the country could learn a lot from the military when it comes to providing quality, accessible and affordable care for the nation's children, according to a study released Wednesday by the National Women's Law Center.
August 10, 2005
The News & Observer, Raleigh, NC
We must provide ongoing professional development in mathematics teaching and learning for all pre-K-through-12 teachers while insisting that all new hires possess a high level of competence in mathematics education.
August 10, 2005
The Palm Beach Post
Florida is trying something no other state has attempted: Creating a free pre-kindergarten open to all 4-year-olds all at once — with more than 80,000 expected to start this month — despite having only months to enroll children and qualify schools.
August 8, 2005
The Ithaca Journal
The quality of pre-kindergarten programs varies widely, but the good ones are easy to spot.

Resources

It has long been observed that urban schools, especially those with lower-performing students, tend to employ the least qualified teachers, but some new research sheds some light on why this is the case. Researchers from the State University of New York, Albany and Stanford's Graduate School of Business analyzed the choices first-year teachers made for employment in New York state. They found that teachers seeking their first jobs overwhelmingly choose to teach in school districts near where they grew up. In fact, they found that 61 percent of teachers first teach in schools located within 15 miles of their hometown with 34 percent of new teachers choosing their first job in the same school district in which they attended high school. There are a number of implications resulting from this study; high among them is the importance of broadening the pool of teachers in areas that have traditionally not produced many college graduates.
The August 2005 Newsletter from the Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement offers research-based advice and resources designed to help schools and districts foster successful parent involvement.
The U.S. Department of Education has released an online book that helps new teachers work effectively with and learn from teacher educators, veteran teachers, principals and parents. In addition, the survival guide includes reflections of award-winning first year teachers, detailing successes and setbacks in their first year of teaching. The book is also suggested to aid those who work with first-time teachers.
This spring the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) adopted new standards and criteria for early childhood education programs seeking accreditation. These new standards promise to bring even higher quality into NAEYC-accredited programs when they take effect in September 2006. The new standards build on the current ones with a stronger emphasis placed on teacher quality and professional development. Visit NAEYC's website to read the newly approved standards and criteria.