Volume 6, Issue 2

January 26, 2007

Hot Topics

In recent state of the state speeches, these governors have proposed more resources for state-funded preschool education:


  • Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe proposed an additional $40 million for the state's voluntary preschool program.

  • Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty proposed an early childhood scholarship program to provide up to $4,000 per child for at-risk children to attend certified kindergarten readiness programs.

  • New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson proposed doubling the number of 4-year-olds attending the state pre-K program from 2,200 to 5,000.

  • Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius proposed $6.6 million in new funds for Early Head Start and state pre-K.

  • Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour proposed $5 million to fund a new state preschool program.

A new study of the Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) state-funded preschool education program shows significant improvement in 4-year-old children's early language, literacy and mathematical development. The NIEER study, The Effects of the Arkansas Better Chance Program on Young Children's School Readiness, estimated the effects of preschool education programs on entering kindergartners' academic skills. Children were tested on math, vocabulary and early literacy skills.
A new NICHD study finds temporary hearing loss due to fluid build-up from colds and ear infections is not sufficiently severe in most young children to impair learning. The findings cast doubt on the wisdom of implanting ear tubes in toddlers to prevent the build-up. "Children are pretty resilient," concludes pediatrician and researcher Jack L. Paradise. Ear tube implant surgeries rank second in prevalence to circumcision procedures in young children.
Children who show moderately aggressive behavior during their preschool years but whose aggressiveness drops to zero by school entry don't have social problems at age 12. On the other hand, children who have low levels of aggression which remain stable beyond school entry exhibit social problems later. These findings are from a study based on longitudinal data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, appearing in the latest issue of Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
The National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics has released an analysis of the Hispanic population that explores and makes easily accessible key demographic, regional and socio-economic variables. The portrait presents a nuanced analysis of the early childhood challenge with regard to a Hispanic population that is far from homogeneous or equally distributed throughout the country. To read it, visit http://www.ecehispanic.org/work/demoportrait_brief.pdf#page=2.
Those who missed Education Week's January 12 web chat on early childhood education missed a lively discussion in which top early childhood education players like the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank's Art Rolnick and Rob Grunewald and The Pew Charitable Trusts' Sara Watson answered wide-ranging questions. The transcript of the chat can be read at http://www.edweek.org/chat/transcript_01_12_2007.html.
A new report published by Pre-K Now in collaboration with the Center for Law and Social Policy examines how federally funded Head Start and state-funded pre-K programs can work together for the educational betterment of children. The authors interviewed key players in states like Illinois, New Jersey and Wisconsin where such collaborations are already taking place. While such collaborations are still the exception rather than the rule, they can produce substantial benefits like conducting joint professional development and better allocation of costs and services. Read the report at http://preknow.org/documents/HeadStartPre-KCollaboration_Jan2007.pdf.

New on nieer.org

The December/January issue of Preschool Matters features an article about Docs for Tots and their efforts to advocate for quality early childhood education.



Also in Preschool Matters:


  • Quality Rating Systems for Pre-K

  • Hooked on Literacy: Newsmaker Interview with Dorothy Strickland

  • Extracurricular Activities: Too Much for Children?

  • Milton Friedman: An Economist with Big Ideas and a Big Impact

  • The Pew Charitable Trusts Advancing Quality Pre-K for All


Calendar

February 5, 2007 - February 8, 2007
New South Wales, Australia – This conference looks at the role of art in early childhood education, particularly in social, cultural and historical contexts.
February 7, 2007 - February 10, 2007
San Jose, CA – The National Association for Bilingual Education's annual conference boasts the largest gathering of teachers, administrators, researchers, and policymakers dedicated to serving English language learners in the United States.
February 25, 2007 - March 3, 2007
Washington, DC – This conference will offer participants the latest policy, research and best practices from the nation’s leading experts.

Early Education News Roundup

January 26, 2007
The Morning News, Springdale, AR
Students enrolled in the Arkansas Better Chance program show significant improvement in math, vocabulary and reading skills, according to a Rutgers University study released Thursday. "We wanted to celebrate the success, and we wanted to point out that we can't stop now," Gov. Mike Beebe said at a news conference announcing the results of the study.
January 21, 2007
Juneau Empire, Juneau, AK
All but 10 states have an early education system. Alaska does not, and the report found that children are cared for in a variety of programs, including private pre-schools, public programs, Head Start and Even Start and child-care centers.
January 19, 2007
Contra Costa Times
When Escuela Bilingue Internacional announced its opening as the Bay Area's only Spanish-language immersion school a year ago, the goal was to have enough students to fill one classroom. After one semester, the high demand and interest in the Spanish language international curriculum are already forcing school board members to talk about an expansion.
January 18, 2007
Parents.com
Statistics show that a majority of kids attend at least one year of preschool: According to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), more than two-thirds of 4-year-olds and more than 40 percent of 3-year-olds were enrolled in a preschool in 2005.
January 12, 2007
Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, SD
Preschool enrollment could count toward state aid in the future as South Dakota schools expand early childhood education, a state school official says. Education Secretary Rick Melmer said schools that offer pre-kindergarten programs for 3- and 4-year-olds probably will count those students eventually in the enrollment that is the foundation of the formula the state uses to distribute education aid.
January 10, 2007
Statesman Journal, Salem, OR
For decades, we've understood that it makes dollars-and-cents sense to help kids early on. It's far more expensive to provide remedial help in the older grades, juvenile court in middle school, and jails for adults who see no career prospects other than crime.
January 10, 2007
USA Today
Azure Warrenfeltz is fluent in Japanese and Spanish. She also can understand bits of French, German, Arabic and Italian, and she soon hopes to learn some Mandarin Chinese. Azure is 4 years old.
January 9, 2007
The State, Columbia, SC
A pair of new state pilot programs have extended 4-year-old kindergarten classes to at least 1,800 poor children in the 36 school districts that sued the state over inadequate funding. But it's not clear whether the expansion means the state is serving all at-risk 4-year-olds in the state's poorest districts, as it had hoped.
January 9, 2007
The Santa Fe New Mexican
The need for teachers with early childhood education degrees is increasing as the state's pre-kindergarten program continues to grow. Experts say private child care centers in New Mexico could be especially hard hit by the shortage since many qualified teachers gravitate toward public preschool programs that pay more and offer benefits, the Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday in a copyright story.

Resources

This article, which appears in the most recent issue of Infants and Young Children, discusses using the Internet to provide advice for parents who have a serious and ongoing need to know how best to help their children. In the course of exploring issues like quality of information, accuracy, trustworthiness and information overload, the authors provide useful guidance for any professional organization planning to make better use of the Internet to communicate.