Early Education in the News
Gov. Peter Shumlin says he’s proud the state of Vermont is getting $36.9 million in federal grants to help improve early education programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. This is the third time these early learning grants have been issued. Fourteen other states were previous winners. In total, nearly $1 billion in grants has been distributed. Shumlin says it’s going to be the largest single investment in early childhood education in Vermont history.
Pennsylvania is getting a $51.7 million boost for early childhood education programs, Gov. Tom Corbett announced Thursday. It’s the largest federal grant the state has ever received to spend on programs for early learning, and reflects the state’s commitment to strengthening and increasing programs that help prevent students from falling too far behind by the time they reach third grade, Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq said. “This is actually the next evolution,” Dumaresq said on a conference call with reporters. “This is where Pennsylvanians need to go.”
Six states were announced as winners Thursday of a combined $280 million in government grants to improve early learning programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. The winning states in the Race to the Top-Early Challenge competition were Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont. The winners were announced by the Education and Health and Human Services departments, which jointly administer the program. This is the third time these early learning grants have been issued. Fourteen other states were previous winners. In total, nearly $1 billion in grants has been distributed.
Georgia has won a second multimillion-dollar federal education grant — one aimed at improving learning for the state’s youngest children, it was announced early Thursday. The state will receive $51 million over four years to expand access to high-quality child care for low-income families, to increase training for early childhood teachers and to put extra resources into areas of the state where test scores and other indicators show the greatest need.
Only one in three four-year-olds attend a high-quality preschool program — and the number for three-year-olds is much lower. Across the country, children remain on long preschool waiting lists, and families who could benefit from support as they raise their children remain unserved.
Congress sent President Barack Obama legislation Wednesday scaling back across-the-board cuts on programs ranging from the Pentagon to the national park system, adding a late dusting of bipartisanship to a year more likely to be remembered for a partial government shutdown and near-perpetual gridlock. . . . Democrats expressed satisfaction that money would be restored for programs like Head Start and education, and lawmakers in both parties and the White House cheered the cancellation of future cuts at the Pentagon
Sixty-five percent of Alabama kids under age 6 have both parents in the work force. So while their parents work, many of those children spend their days at child care centers, preschool or kindergarten. The child care and early education industries are critical not just to those 192,000 children, but also the state's economy, contended a new report released by a group arguing for more investment, and higher standards, in early care programs. The industry directly employs 18,959 full-time equivalent jobs, has a payroll of $369 million and has a billion dollar impact on the state's economy, according to the report prepared by Auburn University at Montgomery economist Keivan Deravi for the Alabama Partnership for Children.
Officials with the National Institute for Early Education Research, or NIEER, said there has been virtually no research done to explore the link between increased access to quality early childhood programs and a drop in academic remediation costs — largely because the term “remediation” is too broad. But Milagros Nores, associate director of research for NIEER’s Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes, said numerous studies show a direct impact between kindergarten readiness and significant reductions — as much as 30 percent — in the number of children who need special education or end up repeating a grade. Nores said reducing either one — children who are held back or those with learning delays — would have a significant and positive impact on a district’s operating budget.
West Chicago Elementary District 33 is one of many in the Chicago area that has seen the number of available state-funded preschool spots plummet in the past few years as Illinois continues to slash funding for some of its smallest residents. A few years ago, when funding was late once again, the district went so far as to cancel its preschool program. But the state came through at the last minute, and the district scrambled to rehire teachers, get bulletin boards decorated and inform parents that classes were back in session. The concern, said Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, is that inconsistent funding can undermine quality programs. "I understand it's been a long time since Illinois has had a good budget year," he said, "but it wreaks havoc at the local level."
A new report shows if all children went to preschool, children would not only get a head start on their education, but it would save the state money.The study, released on Wednesday by the Montana Budget and Policy Center, a non-profit research institute, shows Montana is one of only ten states with no state-funded preschool system.
Nearly 73 percent of Minnesota children were prepared to start kindergarten in the fall of 2012, or about 13 percent more than in 2010, according to a new report from the Minnesota Department of Education.
If policymakers want to improve students’ scores on international exams, they should start by bettering education options for their littlest learners. That is part of the story told by a report released on Monday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international group that promotes economic progress. The OECD report used data collected from its international exam, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), to compare education patterns around the world.
Child care in New Jersey costs on average almost $11,000 per year, but parents have few options to find out whether child care centers meet state regulations, according to a report released today. The Advocates for Children of New Jersey, or ACNJ, report supports more oversight, and a state income tax credit for child care to help families with the cost.
Working families in New Jersey spend about one-quarter of their income on child care — two-and-a-half times more than the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends, according to a report released today by the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New Jersey.
A new statewide report on school readiness shows many of Minnesota’s youngest citizens face hurdles that affect their learning in kindergarten and beyond. . . . The report is not surprising in its conclusions, Chase said, but it is a comprehensive look at Minnesota children under age 6 and shows the need to “change the mindset from closing the achievement gap to promoting opportunity as early as possible.”
The Louisiana Department of Education announced Monday that it will expand its early childhood pilot program and accept applications from parishes seeking to participate for the 2014-15 school year. The pilot program, which already includes 15 parishes, is part of the state's implementation of Act 3 of the 2012 Legislative Session, which calls for the unification of all early childhood programs statewide by 2015.
Attorney General Martha Coakley said the state should take some of the money it's spending "warehousing" nonviolent offenders and help inmates get job training or pass the GED high school equivalency test. The Democratic candidate for governor made the comments Thursday after visiting an early childhood center in Boston. Coakley said if elected she would push to reduce barriers to learning from pre-kindergarten through high school.
More than 500 state lawmakers from 49 states have signed a letter urging Congressional budget writers to increase federal spending on early childhood education. The letter, delivered to Capitol Hill Thursday, urges Congress to prioritize early childhood education to “provide greater access to children in need, and produce better education, health and economic outcomes.”
In the struggle pitting Gov. Mike Pence and Republican Statehouse leaders against Democratic state schools chief Glenda Ritz, it would seem the two sides can’t agree on anything. In fact, they all are pushing for the one school policy initiative the state most needs: early learning.