Early Education in the News

Duluth News Tribune
April 23, 2015

If Gov. Mark Dayton gets his way, all-day, every day preschool would be available to all Minnesota school districts.

He’s proposing to invest a large chunk of the state’s projected $1.9 billion surplus — $343 million — in universal preschool for 4-year-olds, and a total of $695 million for pre-K-12 education. Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius was in Duluth on Thursday to talk about Dayton’s education spending proposals and to hold a “listening session” with Duluthians.

“Research is so clear that kids have to have an early start in order to be ready for kindergarten and in order to not get behind,” Cassellius told the News Tribune. “Why do we have achievement gaps? Because we’ve been shortchanging kids on the front end.”

The percentage of the state’s 4-year-olds enrolled in publicly funded preschool is 15 percent, she said.

Billings Gazette
April 23, 2015

The economists and Montana lawmen have looked at the facts: What happens or doesn’t happen in the first few years of life is a strong predictor of whether a person will graduate from high school, become a teen parent, go to prison, get a good job, go on welfare and own a home. . .

All children need the skills that are taught in high-quality preschool. Low-income children are less likely to learn these skills outside of school, and their parents are less able to afford private preschool. State-funded preschool would bring these 4-year-olds closer to an even start.

We call on all Montana legislators who want to prevent crime and increase workforce readiness to support pre-K. How about starting with pilot programs to serve 4-year-olds in low-income neighborhoods?

April 22, 2015

A follow-up led by Ms. Walker, using 29 of the children, showed vocabulary gaps in preschool predicted 3rd grade gaps in language-test performance. "What I found in visiting those children from kindergarten to 3rd grade was, those who had heard the least were still at a disadvantage years later," she said. "I always knew where to find them; frequently, they were in the hallways, for behavior problems."

That doesn't surprise W. Steve Barnett, the director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick. Policymakers, he said, often acknowledge differences in exposure to words but not to "encouraging" language.

"I think one of the least-appreciated implications of this [study] is the problem with how we segregate low-income children in preschool programs just for them," Mr. Barnett said. "Children were already replicating these [family] patterns in their own interactions. What did we think the consequences would be of kids who get together and interact with each other largely negatively?"

CBS Minnesota
April 22, 2015

More than 100 law enforcement leaders across Minnesota are asking lawmakers for a minimum of $150 million a year for preschool programs.

They say early learning programs can help children develop a foundation for the future, reduce school behavior problems and cut back on the number of children who are held back in school.

Gov. Mark Dayton wants to send every 4-year-old to school for free and says he won’t compromise on his $343 million plan for universal preschool.

April 22, 2015

New Jersey's Assembly Budget Committee will hold its hearing on education funding at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Trenton. . . . The budget proposal includes a $3.3 million increase for interdistrict school choice aid and $2.7 million for preschool education aid.

MPR News
April 21, 2015

One of the biggest debates at the state Capitol this year centers around early education policy for some of the state's youngest residents.

Gov. Mark Dayton has made universal preschool for all 4-year-olds his top legislative priority. But opponents, including some of the state's largest childcare groups, say early education policy should be more focused on lower income families and parents should be allowed more choice as to where they enroll their children.

So far, both the House and the Senate have rejected Dayton's proposal.

Two guests joined MPR News' Tom Weber to discuss the issue.

Education News
April 21, 2015

The President went on to say that one of the main issues pertaining to wage inequality is that there are more men than women currently taking positions in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – careers.  In order to overcome this, Obama suggested increasing access to educational opportunities.

He suggested that access to early childhood education could offer STEM opportunities to children from an earlier age.  However, he also noted that because the average childcare cost in the state is $16,000, many families cannot afford quality care.  He noted that he would like to reform the current tax code in order to offer access to such education to more families, as children who do not receive these early learning opportunities arrive to elementary school at a disadvantage.

“We know [education] is the smartest investment we can make as a society,” Obama said. “People say, well that’d be nice if we could afford it. But the truth is if we closed a few corporate tax loopholes that are not contributing to the economy right now, then we could afford it.”

He went on to discuss the importance of offering quality child care for working families, saying that doing so will help the overall economic health of the country by ensuring that children grow up to be responsible, tax-paying adults.

Tyler Morning Telegraph (Opinion)
April 20, 2015

Early Childhood Education is one of the major issues at the forefront of conversations happening all over the United States and Texas, inside and outside the walls of Congress and even around the dinner table in our local community. The research is clear — quality early childhood education makes a lifelong difference. “Early childhood” is typically referred to as the earliest years of a child’s life between the ages of 0 to 5, before the age of traditional schooling beginning at kindergarten.

April 19, 2015

AS A FORMER governor and a statewide child advocate, we both agree that New Jersey children cannot wait any longer for the state to make good on the promise of preschool. This early education prepares children for school and, ultimately, for success in life while leveraging the significant investment we make in K-12 education. New Jersey has built a nationally recognized preschool program but it's only available in a handful of towns. Research shows that children lucky enough to live in these towns are getting a stronger start and performing much better in school. Now there is an increasing sense of urgency. Thousands of children are missing out on high-quality preschool simply because of their ZIP code. It is time to expand New Jersey's successful preschool program. The research is there and the results are in. What's missing is the political will to put preschool to work for all of New Jersey.

Star Tribune
April 18, 2015

On the day last week when tensions erupted over the Legislature’s snub of Gov. Mark Dayton’s top priority — universal preschool — Education Minnesota launched a $200,000, monthlong TV ad blitz to build support for the measure.

The stakes for the union couldn’t be higher. Fully phased in, public preschool is expected to cost $914 million in 2018-19 and require 2,849 licensed teachers, according to the Minnesota Management and Budget Office and the state Department of Education. Dayton has called for initial funding of $343 million in his budget ­recommendations.

The fight for public preschool is the latest example of the political muscle the state teachers union wields at the Capitol, where it has long been a powerhouse with an enviable win-loss ratio. This year, the union has been at the center of the action, from pushing back attempts to neuter teacher seniority protections, to arguing for more generous school funding and smaller class sizes.

Star Tribune
April 18, 2015

Gov. Mark Dayton on Saturday addressed Education Minnesota delegates at their annual convention and urged them to call on legislators and tell them to support his $343-million plan to offer universal access preschool for the state's 4-year-olds. The second-term governor has pledged to spend much of the state's $1.9 billion projected surplus on education. Dayton said that his signature legislative proposal -- universal access to preschool -- is one that would help close the state's glaring achievement gap. But with four weeks left until the end of the legislative session, the plan has not gained traction with the Legislature. The GOP-led House and the DFL-led Senate did not include funding for it in the education bills they unveiled last week.

April 17, 2015

Actress Jennifer Garner spent this week in the Palmetto state urging leaders to continue to focus on improving early childhood education. "I really wanted to help kids, like those who I grew up with in West Virginia and in rural America," said Garner.

Actress, Jennifer Garner saw at a young age how living in a middle class family can make a big difference when it comes to education. She's now an ambassador for the Save the Children Network. The program brings books and other tools to children before they are 5 years old in efforts to stimulate their minds.

Tampa Bay Times
April 17, 2015

Studies show that quality education in the early years is important. Consider that 85 percent of the brain develops by age 5. Or that 3-year-olds from high-income families have been exposed to 30 million more words than 3-year-olds from low-income families. Children who aren't exposed to quality learning and enriching life experiences at a young age are already behind by the time they reach school. Sometimes feelings of academic inadequacy can lead to a disdain for school or worse, triggering the widening of an achievement gap that so many minority students never close. . .

According to a report by the National Institute for Early Education Research, Florida ranks second in the nation in providing access to its VPK programs. But it is 35th in per pupil spending, and it meets only three of 10 benchmark quality standards, scoring well on early learning standards, student-teacher ratios and site visits. Even with Florida's challenges, which need to be addressed by the Legislature, I'm still a believer in VPK.

US News & World Report
April 16, 2015

Shaking hands and kissing babies. It’s the old stereotype of a political campaign. Now that several candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for the 2016 presidential race, we can expect to see a lot more of both in the next 18 months. But this time around, we should expect candidates to do more than kiss the babies.

Parents, policymakers and the public increasingly recognize the importance of early childhood education.Research documenting the crucial role of early language, social-emotional and cognitive development for children’s later learning has become widely known. High-quality pre-K programs in BostonNew Jersey and Oklahoma have demonstrated the potential of early interventions to produce lasting changes in children’s outcomes. There is also increasing recognition of the strains that working families are under as they seek to balance work and family obligations and obtain adequate care for their children. These are all potential reasons for candidates to pay attention to early childhood education.

Chalkbeat Indiana
April 16, 2015

Public funding for early childhood education in Indiana expanded once again today as Gov. Mike Pence announced the state’s new preschool pilot would grow by nearly 600 more seats this fall.

The announcement is one more piece of good news for preschool advocates in Indiana recently who think the state is long overdue in its investment of Indiana’s youngest learners. But the momentum raises a big question: Now that some public funding is available for preschool, are there enough high quality preschools to serve more children who are expected to enroll? In fact, Indiana has a ways to go if it wants far more children to begin learning basic skills before they start school in kindergarten.

U~T San Diego
April 16, 2015

As someone who spent decades nurturing this region’s – and California’s – business climate, however, I hoped that the governor would make a bolder investment in one area: preschool.

The research on the economic and social benefits of public investment in quality early-childhood education is beyond compelling. Yet in San Diego and across California, too many of the low-income children who could most benefit from this educational boost are going without.

NC Policy Watch
April 15, 2015

It’s budget time for the state – a good opportunity to review North Carolina’s history of early childhood investments.

Investing in strategies that focus on children from birth to age eight is the most effective and cost-efficient means to improve third grade outcomes and long-term success for children and the state. For optimal development and a strong foundation, children need good health, strong families and high quality early learning and school experiences. With quality early child development experiences, children are school ready, graduate from high school and grow into productive citizens and valuable employees.

April 15, 2015

After a 45-minute debate sprinkled with references to TV mom June Cleaver and "cradle-to-grave socialism," House lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to provide state funding for early childhood education, with half of the funding the Senate had approved.

House lawmakers voted 51-40 to approve Senate Bill 2151. The bill now goes back to the Senate, which can either concur with the House changes or request a conference committee to work out difference between the two versions.

The bill approved by the Senate 33-14 in February set aside $6 million for grants to public and private providers to help cover the cost of preschool for an estimated 6,000 children in 2016-17.


The Chronicle of Social Change
April 15, 2015

A few weeks after the expiration of a growing federal program that invests in home visitation programs, Congress last night approved a two-year extension that keeps it going through fiscal 2017.

The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) will receive $400 million per year in fiscals 2016 and 2017, the same annual appropriation it received for the past two years.

“Congress is making an important investment to transform communities by investing in what we know works to change outcomes for children born into poverty,” said Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) National Office CEO Roxane White, whose organization oversees one of 17 federally approved models of home visitation.

ABC News 4
April 14, 2015

Governor Tom Wolf today announced key next steps to further his administration's goal of expanding quality Pre-K education for families and children across the commonwealth.  The Wolf Administration, through the PA Department of Education (PDE), is accepting applications for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program grants. 

"Pennsylvania's publicly funded Pre-K and early education programs provide the foundation children need to enter school ready to learn," said Governor Wolf. "I'm excited to announce this historic expansion.  We are taking proactive steps to ensure that more students have access to high-quality early education options."

PDE is issuing two Requests for Proposals today to support providers' ability to serve children and be ready for enrollment by September 2015. The administration recognizes that providers need to conduct outreach to families; recruit, hire and train staff; and plan for successful implementation of the programs upon approval of proposed funding.