Volume 7, Issue 8

April 25, 2008

Hot Topics

Sixteen governors and the mayor of Washington, D.C. proposed a total of $261 million in increases for pre-K for FY 09, concludes a report just out from Pre-K Now. Eight governors proposed flat or decreased pre-K funding, representing a $36 million cut. Both Republican and Democrat governors increased pre-K. The report also notes a trend among policymakers to protect pre-K funding from cuts by linking it with enrollment-based school funding formulas.
Downward revisions of graduations rates resulting from proposed changes to the No Child Left Behind Act could intensify the focus on school readiness in some states. The New York Times reports a number of states have been reporting inflated graduation rates that are based on assumptions that ignore or under-report school drop-outs. This week, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings proposed an NCLB regulation that would require states to calculate their graduation rates in a uniform way by the 2012-2013 school year.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports Mississippi legislators have approved the $3 million Governor Haley Barbour had requested for next year's budget so the state can provide financial incentives for preschools to increase their educational content. The move is the most salutary evidence yet that Mississippi is changing its stance on state-funded pre-K.
Scientific American reports that U.S. health authorities say they are more concerned than before that bisphenol A, used in baby bottles and other plastic bottles may alter human development when infants and the very young are exposed to it. That observation in a new report from the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Toxicology Program has some calling on the Food and Drug Administration to review its stance on bisphenol A. FDA considers BPA to be safe. Canadian Health Minister Tony Clement recently proposed a ban on bottles containing the ingredient.
Children diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder should undergo an electrocardiogram and other analyses of the condition of their hearts, says the American Heart Association. AHA says the recommendation is meant to avoid the rare cases of sudden cardiac arrest in children receiving Ritalin and other drugs.

New on nieer.org





This issue of Preschool Matters features articles on the success of New Jersey's mixed delivery model and Head Start's triumphant reauthorization and disappointing budget cut.



Also in Preschool Matters:

• A look at NIEER's 2007 State Preschool Yearbook

• Newsmaker: NHSA's Ron Herndon

• Related Reading: Enriching Children, Enriching the Nation

• Study Shows Vygotskian Curriculum Improves Executive Function

Calendar

April 30, 2008 - May 2, 2008
Auckland, New Zealand – This conference will help improve the effectiveness of those who are responsible for training early childhood educators.
May 5, 2008 - May 6, 2008
Uniondale, NY – The theme for this year's conference is "Bringing Literacy Home."
May 6, 2008 - May 9, 2008
Greensboro, NC – This conference will focus on issues related to the development of early childhood programs and systems.
May 7, 2008 - May 9, 2008
Ypsilanti, MI – At this conference, attendees will learn from their peers, High/Scope researchers and trainers, and outside presenters.
May 20, 2008 - May 23, 2008
Honolulu, HI – This conference will explore the history and current place of men's participation in the field early childhood education.
June 8, 2008 - June 11, 2008
New Orleans, LA – This conference will deepen participants' understanding of the expanding early childhood knowledge base.
June 23, 2008 - June 25, 2008
Washington, DC – This biennial event provides participants with the opportunity to share research promoting positive development in young children.
June 30, 2008 - July 2, 2008
Austin, TX – This conference will feature sessions that will enlighten, equip, and engage conference attendees.

Early Education News Roundup

April 24, 2008
The Home News Tribune, East Brunswick, NJ
New Jersey allocates an average of $10,494 in state funding for each child enrolled in pre-kindergarten. That's 33.6 percent more than the second-highest-spending state, Oregon.
April 24, 2008
The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, CA
The founder of a nonprofit group seeking to break down barriers to early childhood education said Wednesday that the next statewide school construction bond must include funding for new preschool classrooms. Molly Munger, a First 5 California state commissioner and founder of the Advancement Project Los Angeles, said the Inland region is not accessing all the funding it could be for early-childhood programs because there is a shortage of places to house them.
April 24, 2008
The Mississippi Press
The Early Childhood Education Program is one of the more important areas to develop. Mississippi is one of a dozen states that did not fund a pre-kindergarten program in the 2006-07 school year, according to a report by The National Institute for Early Childhood Research.
April 23, 2008
Visalia Times-Delta, Visalia, CA
Preschool is the time to learn your ABCs — and your números uno, dos y tres. Spanish and even American Sign Language are making their way into the preschool curriculum. Children are learning not just to communicate, but to do so in a multicultural society.
April 23, 2008
The Wenatchee World, Wenatchee, WA
Without these early lessons, Pedro and Cassandra may have started kindergarten already behind their peers — the beginning of a long achievement gap. North Central Washington Readiness for Kindergarten is a grant project that offers parents three group classes and follow-up home visits with literacy specialists.
April 23, 2008
Times Daily, Florence, AL
Alabama is facing a massive $375 million deficit in its education budget for Fiscal Year 2009, but Gov. Bob Riley says he's confident the looming cuts feared by colleges and the K-12 system won't affect the state's youngest students.
April 22, 2008
KHON 2 News, Honolulu, HI
Early education gets a boost as experts from three other states join Hawaii to improve policies. A four day conference is underway to strategize on early childhood development and education. And the idea is to learn from others by sharing policies that have worked best. Experts from Washington, Florida, and Mississippi have joined in.
April 22, 2008
Rocky Mountain News, Denver, CO
Fewer than 700 kids are enrolled in a voter-approved Denver Preschool Program that was supposed to handle 4,000. But enrollment numbers are expected to grow to 3,800 by August and possibly 6,600 in the future.
April 20, 2008
The Oklahoman
Since the advent of federal mandates such as No Child Left Behind and the prevalence of computers in classrooms, curriculums have changed nationwide as well as here in Oklahoma. Schools that once used the pre-K years primarily to socialize children are now making use of those early years to lay the foundation for not only reading, but math and science, as well.
April 17, 2008
The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA
Studies show the experiences -- both positive and negative -- that these children have before they turn 5 will affect their learning and social development, and economic contribution for life. Young children learn best when they have activities that stimulate creativity, curiosity and all the skills they need to succeed, proper health and nutrition, and a safe and stable family/home life.
April 15, 2008
The News Tribune, Tacoma, WA
For many years, parents and teachers assumed that teaching a foreign tongue to young children might be too difficult. But language teachers who work with younger children say you need only hear the children of immigrants to understand how learning more than one language is not only possible, but beneficial.
April 15, 2008
The Kansas City Star
A statewide task force soon will begin exploring how Missouri might move toward building a more extensive system of publicly funded pre-kindergarten education. The Missouri Panel on School Readiness: Focus on Pre-Kindergarten Education will meet three times during the summer with the aim of producing a report in November.
April 14, 2008
The Daily Advertiser, Lafayette, LA
In Louisiana, more than 15,000 4-year-olds are enrolled in pre-K programs from the state called LA4. It's a large number compared to the 1,000 that were enrolled six years ago. Funding has continued to grow for the program that demands a certain level of quality when it comes to curriculum and teachers.

Resources

This Newsweek article points out the developmental differences between boys and girls that account in part for the differences in how they progress in school. It discusses approaches to teaching that may help close the gap in achievement between the sexes and reports on developmental/behavioral research in males.
This report from the National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force offers recommendations to both improve accountability efforts for pre-K through grade 3 and to use assessment data to create better learning environments for young children.
The Center for Law and Social Policy launched this blog to discuss policy issues affecting young children's early care and education.