Volume 9, Issue 12

June 11, 2010

Hot Topics

After the country begins to recover from the "Great Recession," many kids whose misfortune was to be young during it will suffer lasting impacts, says the latest report from the Foundation for Child Development's Child and Youth Well-Being Index. It predicts the number of children in poverty will rise to 15.6 million this year, a jump of three million in just four years. More families in poverty means more kids entering school without the benefit of high-quality early education. In five years, when they enter fourth grade, they'll likely have lower reading and math scores. In another decade, they'll be more likely to drop out of high school, says the report's author, Kenneth Land of Duke University.

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that examined trends in child care subsidy receipt found that from 2006 to 2008, the average number of children served by the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) declined by about 170,000 children, or 10 percent. Among the reasons cited for the decline are state policies that can affect resource allocation, decreases in the number of regulated providers, increased requirements for participating providers, and rising unemployment's effect on work-related eligibility.
A study of kids who attended Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) classrooms found that after one year of pre-K, 72 percent of children tested for near proficiency in school readiness skills, including social expression and self-regulation, compared to 22 percent when they started. The gains were particularly significant for English Language Learners (ELLs). They started the year with lower school readiness skills than their non-ELL peers, but after a year of LAUP pre-K, the gap had closed.
Now that the K-12 Common Core Standards for Math and Reading have been completed, the push is on to get the states to adopt them. Already, a number of education groups, including the Council of State Governments and National Association of State Boards of Education, have joined the coalition urging adoption. While 48 states agreed to participate in the effort to create the standards, that did not obligate them to adopt them. Former New Jersey education commissioner Lucille Davy has been hired by the Hunt Institute to spearhead its outreach effort aimed at helping states make well-informed decisions regarding adoption.
A study of 8,000 kids who were assessed at age 4 found that among sleep habits, having a regular bedtime was the most consistent predictor of better scores in receptive and expressive language, phonological awareness, literacy, and early math. The data also showed that many children are not getting the recommended amount of sleep. The findings were reported at SLEEP 2010, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends preschool children get a minimum of 11 hours of sleep each night.

Calendar

June 14, 2010 - June 16, 2010
Lake Geneva, WI – This conference is targeted for professionals who work with children from birth through age 5.
June 22, 2010 - June 24, 2010
Orlando, FL – This professional development event covers four approaches to better teaching and learning.
June 29, 2010 - July 1, 2010
New Brunswick, NJ – The Rutgers University Institute for Improving Student Achievement's Summer Institute 2010 will begin a series of professional development sessions based on McREL's research on the effects of leadership on student achievement.
July 11, 2010 - July 14, 2010
Columbus, OH – The conference aims to guide participants towards the development of innovative strategies integrating early learning in elementary schools.
July 11, 2010 - July 14, 2010
Riga, Latvia – This conference will discuss research, evidence-based practices, and innovations in special education and inclusive services.
July 15, 2010 - July 17, 2010
Nashville, TN – Topics addressed at this conference for family child care providers include child-based curriculum, policies, and quality improvement.
July 19, 2010 - July 21, 2010
Anaheim, CA – This year, the Department of Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will offer a separate Early Learning and Development Strand at the 2010 Reading Institute.
July 19, 2010 - July 21, 2010
New Haven, CT – A leadership and staff development conference that will feature the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum. This conference is for educators interested in Schools of the 21st Century, family resource centers, and the whole child approach.
July 27, 2010 - July 29, 2010
Atlanta, GA – At this conference, participants will learn about the Piramide Method of Early Learning as a framework for early care and learning.
August 11, 2010 - August 13, 2010
Goteborg, Sweden – This conference will focus on children's rights and education for sustainable development in a local and global context.
August 18, 2010 - August 20, 2010
Portland, OR – This year's forum provides participants with opportunities to learn innovative approaches connecting theory to action.
September 22, 2010 - September 24, 2010
Arlington, VA – This annual event provides participants with the opportunity to discuss and influence federal education policy.

Early Education News Roundup

June 11, 2010
Tulsa World
Some advocates for early childhood education are worried that the budget for public 4-year-old programs will be cut by the state Education Department after the Legislature changed how it allocated agency funds.
June 10, 2010
The Boston Globe
The Department of Early Education and Care is developing new quality standards for preschool programs, which will use the educational attainment levels of staff as a quality indicator.
June 9, 2010
The Quad-City Times, Davenport, IA
Gov. Chet Culver said Wednesday the state is getting closer to meeting a goal of providing access to preschool for all 4-year-olds living in Iowa. Culver said another 4,500 Iowa children will be able to attend a quality preschool in the coming year thanks to legislative approval of the fourth-year of a preschool initiative that eventually will total more than $60 million.
June 9, 2010
Daily Press, Newport News, VA
The economic health of the Hampton Roads region rests in the hands of infants and toddlers. That was the message shared at an early childhood education summit on Wednesday at Christopher Newport University.
June 8, 2010
Education Week
These are the children of the Great Recession, a cohort that will experience a decline in fortunes that erases 30 years of social progress, the report contends. Known as the Child and Youth Well-Being Index, the report predicts that in the next few years, the economy may recover and the unemployment rate may drop, but the generation growing up now could feel the harsh impact of the recession for years to come.
June 7, 2010
U.S. News & World Report
Kids who had a consistent bedtime at the age of 4 scored higher on a number of tests, including some that measured literacy and math abilities. Earlier bedtimes and parental rules about keeping bedtime routines also were associated with higher scores on developmental measures.
June 7, 2010
The Washington Examiner
The D.C. Council restored millions of dollars for children's programs, a move praised by advocates. A politically popular effort to expand free, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds in the city received its full funding -- about $18 million.
June 7, 2010
The Citizen of Laconia, Laconia, NH
Children at the Laconia Early Learning Center have been taking a non-traditional way to learning, through the use of music, a tool which has helped the development at a younger age. Music has been deemed a highly engaging mental and physical activity, which has the potential to develop the specific behavioral, emotional, and academic skills needed for all learning as it engages and motivates students.
June 7, 2010
Rapid City Journal, Rapid City, SD
A pre-kindergarten program in South Dakota would not only ensure that students in poverty begin kindergarten as prepared as other students, but would also save the state dollars in the long run, according to a group of education and business leaders. Through grassroots efforts, the members of the task force hope to develop a pilot program for Rapid City children by the fall of 2011.
June 6, 2010
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Each year since 2006, more children have entered Cincinnati Public Schools kindergartens ready to read, a strong predictor of future academic success, local early childhood experts say. But as they plan for a new school year, many early childhood educators worry that after four years of solid progress, this fall's entering kindergartners may instead lose ground.
June 6, 2010
The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME
As our federal leaders look for the best possible investments to jump-start our economy, I have a suggestion that may surprise some people: Consider early learning programs. New research from the business leader group America's Edge shows investment in high-quality early learning is among the most effective ways to infuse millions of dollars into local and state economies, while creating new jobs in our communities and building a foundation for sustained economic security.
June 4, 2010
The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA
Pennsylvania has made attracting science, technology, engineering and math jobs to the commonwealth a key strategy for our economic health. If we really want a workforce that can fill these jobs, we need to continue our investment in quality early education programs such as Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, Keystone STARS, Child Care Works, Early Intervention, Nurse-Family Partnership, Head Start Supplemental and Parent-Child Home Program.
June 3, 2010
The Casper Star-Tribune, Casper, WY
Gov. Dave Freudenthal has created a new state childhood advisory council to encourage better coordination and collaboration between public and private care and education programs and services to the state.
June 3, 2010
The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, LA
Despite unprecedented national recognition of the importance of early childhood education, efforts to expand programs remain hamstrung by limited funding and decades of conventional thinking about education timelines and structures, said state and national experts during a Thursday conference on the topic. The funding challenges for pre-K in Louisiana and across the country come at a time when scientists and economists have amassed more evidence than ever before on the value of early childhood programs.
June 2, 2010
Honolulu Advertiser
The number of families receiving state subsidies to cover preschool tuition costs has dropped by about 10 percent after the state's decision to decrease the amount of help families can get, and providers say parents appear to instead be opting for cheaper, unlicensed care or leaving their children with relatives.
June 1, 2010
Daily Herald, Arlington Heights, IL
Groundbreaking preschool regulations have been tweaked to reflect Illinois' dire financial situation, but budget concerns still likely will stand in the way of getting the neediest students help, suburban educators say.
May 31, 2010
CBS 2 News, New York, NY
Some teachers in Westchester are silently making waves with an unusual teaching method: they're using sign language, although none of their pre-kindergarten students have hearing issues. The staff realized very quickly that, regardless of whether you're dealing with a typical four-year-old or a boy or girl who's developmentally challenged, they're all learning to communicate together – and sign language is just another tool in the arsenal to help them on their way.

Resources

This report from the National Center for Learning Disabilities provides educators, researchers, and policymakers with an explanation of the concept known as Response to Intervention (RTI) as it applies to preschool education, provides guidance on the development of a pre-K RTI model, and makes policy recommendations to help build the state and local support needed to implement a successful model. While RTI was designed for K-12, the authors say research suggests an RTI approach can be beneficial in the years before kindergarten.
This report from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Innocenti Research Centre in Florence, Italy, presents data and analysis on children in immigrant families in Italy, the United Kingdom, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Switzerland, and the United States. Among the areas addressed are the share of the overall child population immigrant children represent, how many are born in the country of settlement, their future role in the economic and social life of their countries, and challenges and opportunities for integration.