Volume 4, Issue 8

May 12, 2005

Hot Topics

The first nationwide study to explore how effectively state prekindergarten mandates are implemented in the classroom reveals that seven out of 10 teachers are in the low-income category, one in six works a second job to make ends meet, and many are under-qualified. Surveying more than 3,800 classrooms in all states with prekindergarten programs, Yale University researcher Walter S. Gilliam found disparities between what state policies call for and what actually happens in class. The study, Who's Teaching Our Youngest Students? paints a portrait of prekindergarten teachers and provides state-by-state breakouts on pre-K teacher pay and qualifications.
Three governors were designated "Pre-K Budget Heroes" by advocacy organization Pre-K Now in its recently released report Leadership Matters: Governors' Pre-K Proposals Fiscal Year 2006. Despite confronting budgetary crises in their states, Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell (R), Washington Governor Christine Gregoire (D) and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) have scraped together substantial budget increases for pre-K programs in their states.



The report, gleaned from the governors’ state of the state addresses, identified 20 governors nationwide who have recommended increased investment in pre-K programs — up from 11 governors last year. Pre-K Now Director Libby Doggett noted a trend toward southern states funding pre-K. Read the report at http://www.preknow.org/documents/LeadershipReport.pdf.
In what's being called a landmark report, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has called for high-quality early childhood education as an essential investment in communities across the nation and urged its membership to get involved in making it happen. NAESP has also called on policymakers to support elementary school principals' efforts, and has issued what it's calling a "Call to Action" outlining eight steps principals should take. Not least of those is providing universal access to high-quality preschool programs, transition programs that coordinate with Head Start, and teacher:student ratios no greater than 1:15. The report precedes a guidebook that NAESP executive director Vincent Ferrandino says is soon to come. To read the executive summary, go to http://nieer.org/docs/index.php?DocID=126.
Ever since the floor plan for a New Jersey school showed up on a terrorist's computer, New Jersey Governor Richard Codey has pushed harder than most to improve school security in the state. In April, state law enforcement began auditing the state's 3,758 public, charter and private schools for security issues and in May, Codey convened a summit held at Rutgers University to develop a more effective approach, including testing so-called "smart cameras" that spot unusual traffic patterns in hallways.
Somewhere in Florida's newly passed $63 billion budget is $387 million for the new statewide prekindergarten program that, come August, is scheduled to be available to all interested 4-year-olds. Preschool providers that were on the fence about participating in the program due to uncertainty over the payment that would be available to them now know the figure — about $2,500 per student. Many of them were Catholic schools. "It's not economically feasible for most of the Catholic Early Childhood programs to participate at this point," said Larry Keough of the Florida Catholic Conference.

Calendar

May 17, 2005 - May 20, 2005
Montreal, Quebec, Canada -- The World Forum conference is designed to promote a global exchange of ideas for creating quality early education.
June 5, 2005 - June 8, 2005
Miami Beach, FL – Many Languages, Many Cultures, All Children is the theme of the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s 14th National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development.
June 21, 2005 - June 24, 2005
Washington, DC - This annual training event provides participants with the opportunity to learn about exemplary work in the infant and family field.

Early Education News Roundup

May 12, 2005
Sioux City Journal
The state Board of Education has identified early childhood education and all-day kindergarten as priorities in Nebraska for providing students what the board has defined as an essential education.
May 11, 2005
The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, IA
The credit is part of a larger measure spelling out ways the state intends to improve preschool programs, such as collaboration among state agencies to provide better information about preschools.
May 9, 2005
The Lowell Sun
The new state Department of Early Education and Care will officially open its doors July 1 and become the lead agency in charge of administering public and private preschool and child care in Massachusetts.
May 9, 2005
The Bristol Press, Bristol, CT
To encourage preschool teachers to further their education, the town will offer four scholarships toward an associate's or bachelor's degree in September.
May 8, 2005
The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY
Taxpayer funded pre-k was supposed to be available by now to all the state's 4-year olds.
May 4, 2005
The Tampa Tribune
The big question for parents is who will be providing prekindergarten.
May 3, 2005
The Hartford Courant
Many of the teachers in the nation's state-funded preschool classrooms have limited education and are paid poorly, according to a national study released Tuesday.
May 1, 2005
The Boston Globe
Schoolchildren at every socioeconomic level have problems that could be eased or prevented by quality preschool programs.
April 28, 2005
The Tennessean
A pre-kindergarten program for Tennessee's at-risk children crossed a major hurdle yesterday by passing the state House, and it needs two more important votes to become reality.
April 25, 2005
Florida Today
Supporters of early education programs believe they save money in the long run -- from $7 to $17 per dollar spent -- by reducing the cost of drop-outs, remedial and special education, welfare and crime.
April 25, 2005
The Baltimore Sun
Creating a continuous, meaningful learning experience for our youngest children will benefit schools, communities and the nation.
April 21, 2005
Los Angeles Times
With a healthier budget, the Legislature could have a rational discussion about funding more preschool.
April 21, 2005
USA Today
Preschools succeed by raising the odds that children will succeed in school.
April 16, 2005
The Sacramento Bee
Georgia and Oklahoma already have universal preschool in place, and four more states - Florida, New York, Massachusetts and West Virginia - have universal plans on the books.

Resources

In this Education Commission of the States paper, author Michael Griffith outlines some of the costs to states of school funding lawsuits and offers other strategies policymakers and members of the education community can employ to bring about change in school funding policies.
The Senate Finance Committee Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reauthorization bill passed in March includes $6 billion in new federal funds for child care assistance. In this Center on Law and Social Policy paper, author Danielle Ewen argues that the $6 billion would pay for the cost of keeping pace with inflation over the next five years and would meet the cost of a limited increase in TANF work participation requirements, but would not expand access to child care for more working families.