Volume 6, Issue 18

September 28, 2007

Hot Topics

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine credited full-day state pre-K (provided primarily through the Abbott Preschool Program) for gains the state's fourth graders made in reading and math on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Garden State fourth graders ranked second behind Massachusetts in reading and were in the top five nationally in math. Scores on NAEP were up across the nation. Education Week provides an overview at http://www.edweek.org/ew/index.html.
The San Francisco Examiner reports that after a three-year roll-out, the city's free preschool program will be available to all 4-year-olds starting next school year rather than in 2009 as originally planned. The paper reports that the annual average rate for full-time center-based services for a preschooler is $11,000. "We're rolling out a year early," said Gloria Corral, deputy director of First 5 San Francisco, the agency that oversees the city's Preschool for All Program. She anticipates that when fully enrolled, the program will serve about 4,800 children. So far this year, 1,650 children have been signed up.
Nobel laureate James Heckman and distinguished researchers in other fields have released a new paper examining from a cross-disciplinary perspective the research in economics, developmental psychology, and neurobiology as they relate to developing workforce skills. They found that early experiences have a uniquely powerful influence on the development of cognitive and social skills as well as brain development. Their policy conclusion: the most efficient strategy for strengthening our future workforce both economically and neurobiologically and for improving quality of life is to invest in high-quality early care and education. It's available at http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0600888103v1.pdf.
Cognitive child psychologist, NIEER Scientific Advisory Board member and recent National Academies of Science inductee Rochel Gelman is profiled in the Fall 2007 issue of Rutgers Magazine. Gelman, who co-directs and conducts research at the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science, is widely recognized as a pioneer in understanding how preschoolers develop cognitively and acquire knowledge. Early on, Gelman disproved the axiom propounded by Swiss child psychologist Jean Piaget that preschool children lacked the mental structures to conserve numbers, quantities and lengths. Her work, among other things, explores the brain structures that enable young children to pick up knowledge relatively easily.

Calendar

October 17, 2007 - October 17, 2007
Washington, DC – Although based in Washington, this satellite broadcast is intended to reach a nationwide audience of prekindergarten advocates though local conference sites.
October 21, 2007 - October 23, 2007
Chicago, IL - The theme for this year's conference is "The Journey Continues: Giving Our Children a Chance."
October 28, 2007 - October 30, 2007
San Diego, CA - Join participants from across the country at the National Even Start Association's 13th annual conference.
November 7, 2007 - November 10, 2007
Chicago, IL - This conference provides participants with a variety of sessions focusing on practical experience and applied research.

Early Education News Roundup

September 27, 2007
The News Journal, Wilmington, DE
With Hispanic students less likely to graduate from high school than blacks or whites, educators are looking to bilingual and multicultural early education programs as one way to narrow the gap.
September 25, 2007
The Idaho Statesman, Boise, ID
The emotional debate over Idaho prekindergarten shows no sign of relenting — and it threatens to overshadow common-sense solutions.
September 20, 2007
Montgomery Advertiser, Montgomery, AL
Child well-being can be seen as a puzzle, with each piece contributing to the overall picture. These pieces are intertwined and affect one another. For example, a child who receives a high-quality early education is more likely to be successful in school, graduate high school and attend college.
September 18, 2007
The Lawrence Journal-World
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Monday said getting more funding for pre-kindergarten learning is one of her top priorities for the next legislative session. A recent survey involving 5,000 children found that half the state's 5-year-olds aren't ready for kindergarten, Sebelius said.
September 16, 2007
The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, IN
As part of legislation that established Indiana's long-overdue investment in full-day kindergarten last spring, a preschool pilot program was created, but not funded.

Resources

This report from Pre-K Now presents a state-by-state analysis of legislative support for preschool education in the United States and shows that 36 states increased funding for prekindergarten.