Volume 6, Issue 13

July 13, 2007

Hot Topics

Shortly after Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and the legislature broke their budget deadlock, the governor said all of the $75 million he had asked for in new pre-K funding remained in the agreed-upon budget. The new funding will provide services to about 11,000 additional 3- and 4-year-olds in both public and private settings, representing a near-doubling of the number of children served. Less certain was how much of the $25 million the governor requested for full-day kindergarten will end up in the final budget document. Keeping intact the pre-K funding was one of the reasons Rendell ordered a partial shut-down of government services after budget talks dragged into the new fiscal year.
The Toronto Star reports the Canadian province of Ontario is investing $12 million to create its first regulatory College of Early Childhood Educators after a study recommended more resources be devoted to expanding training and paying child care workers more. Currently about 40 percent of Ontario early care and education workers hold degrees. The college will set professional qualifications, ongoing professional development requirements, standards of practice, and ethics, and establish a public complaints process. The provincial study recommended a goal of all early care and education staff possessing at least some post-secondary education within eight years.
New fact sheets from Washington College economist Robert G. Lynch and published by the Economic Policy Institute show that high-quality pre-K programs, whether serving all 3-and 4-year-olds or targeted to disadvantaged populations of both age groups begin to pay for themselves in no more than 13 years, with nine years being the national average. The analysis tracks when total benefits, including budget savings, compensation increases, and reduction in the costs of crime, would exceed program costs in every state. Most universal preschool education programs would pay for themselves in a decade. The fact sheets, which serve as an addendum to Lynch's recently published book, Enriching Children, Enriching the Nation, are available at http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/book_enriching_state_facts.
Researchers evaluating social and communication development in children 14 to 36 months old say about half of all children with autism can be diagnosed shortly after their first birthdays and the rest later. Through repeated observation and developmental testing, the researchers identified disruptions in social, communication and play development, indicating autism spectral disorders in 14-month-olds. They said multiple signs of developmental disruptions appear simultaneously in children with the disorder. The research was led by Dr. Rebecca Land of the Kennedy Kreigher Institute in Baltimore.

New on nieer.org



As publicly funded preschool programs expand, finding enough space and making sure it's the right space have become challenges. The latest issue of Preschool Matters takes a look at early childhood facilities and much more.



Also in Preschool Matters:


  • Independence, Missouri: One-Stop Shopping for Early Education

  • New Investment Bank for Children

  • Newsmaker Stacey Boyd and the Savvy Source for Parents

  • Do Mixed-Income Preschools Make Sense?

Calendar

July 23, 2007 - July 25, 2007
Little Rock, AR – Leadership and staff development conference for educators interested in Schools of the 21st Century, early care and education, family resource centers, community schools, and other school-based family support programs.
July 24, 2007 - July 26, 2007
Washington, DC – The GSA’s annual conference provides an opportunity for participants to network with colleagues from across the nation.

Early Education News Roundup

July 12, 2007
The Virginian-Pilot
Universal prekindergarten in Virginia would pay for itself in 11 years through higher incomes, reduced crime, and savings on government services, according to a study this week by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank. An unrelated report, released Wednesday, called on Virginia and other states to open government-financed prekindergarten programs to children in military families.
July 11, 2007
The Philadelphia Inquirer
The $75 million in prekindergarten funding will provide services to about 11,000 3- and 4-year-olds in both public and private programs, including public schools, Head Start programs, private child-care centers, and nursery schools. That will almost double the number of children in state-funded programs, from about 12,000 last school year.
July 5, 2007
The Record, Bergen County, NJ
It has been proven over and over that high-quality preschool has long-term benefits. Studies have shown preschool influences academic success, high school and college graduation, lifetime earnings, even health.
July 4, 2007
The Courier, Houma, LA
Millions more in state grant money will allow Terrebonne and Lafourche public schools to roughly double the number of public pre-kindergarten classes each system offers for local 4-year-olds this fall. Part of a sweeping $700 million education package signed Thursday by Gov. Kathleen Blanco, the money is funneled to the districts through the state's LA4 Early Childhood Education program.
July 3, 2007
The Times, Trenton, NJ
The large-scale, statewide study was based on 2,300 children who attended preschool in New Jersey's poorest districts. It found that students who attended preschool in Abbott districts "fared significantly better as they moved through kindergarten."
July 3, 2007
Concord Monitor
In their new (albeit court-ordered) definition of educational adequacy, legislators had the wherewithal to include kindergarten. That means the handful of holdout school districts, mostly in southern New Hampshire, where no public kindergarten is offered will finally be forced to get in line with the rest of the state and the rest of the country.
July 2, 2007
Charleston Daily Mail
West Virginia has until 2012 before all county school systems will be required by state law to have preschool, or pre-kindergarten, programs for 4-year-olds. Statewide, the number of programs continues to grow, with about 10 counties already serving all children without a waiting list, up from five this time last year, state education officials said.
July 1, 2007
Star Tribune, Minneapolis, MN
The business community launched the [Minnesota Business for Early Learning] initiative out of concern that only half of the state's new kindergartners are "fully prepared" to learn, according to state assessments conducted annually by kindergarten teachers. Business folks reasoned that these results were not nearly good enough to fill a pending workforce shortage in the next decade.
June 29, 2007
Daytona Beach News-Journal
Expanding and improving the quality of early education for the state's rapidly growing Hispanic population should be among our highest educational priorities. Studies show that PK-3 programs can improve the literacy and math skills of all children, and especially English language learners and low-income children.

Resources

Georgetown University’s Deborah Phillips, William T. Gormley, and Amy Lowenstein compare characteristics of Tulsa universal pre-K classrooms to a sample of state-funded pre-K classrooms in seven other states, finding that the Tulsa programs for 4-year-olds are of higher quality. The authors suggest three reasons: school district governance, strict standards for teacher qualifications and small class sizes. The study is available at http://www.fcd-us.org/resources/resources_show.htm?doc_id=507566.
Arthur Reynolds (University of Minnesota), Katherine Magnuson (University of Wisconsin), and Suh-Ruu Ou (University of Minnesota) have synthesized evidence on the pre-K to third grade (PK-3) practices that lead to children's school success. The authors analyze data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) to show links between PK-3 components and children's performance in grade 3. The analysis shows that children participating in educational programs that include PK-3 program components perform better in school than their peers who do not. The complete report is available at http://www.fcd-us.org/resources/resources_show.htm?doc_id=447398.