Early Education in the News
Gov. Steve Bullock is urging the Montana Legislature to join 44 other states in funding preschool programs.
Bullock is giving the biennial State of the State address at the Capitol in Helena Wednesday evening.
The Democratic governor is calling on the Republican-led Legislature to back his $37 million plan to provide funding for 4-year-olds to attend preschool.
In Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State address, he stressed the importance of early childhood education, especially from the “prenatal to third grade” years, and committed his administration to focusing upon early education in his second term. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) champions efforts that put children front and center, and we applaud the governor’s support for early childhood education.
In 2013-2014, according to the Michigan Department of Education, only 61 percent of Michigan students were proficient readers in third grade. Among children of color, only 37 percent of African-American and 47 percent of Hispanic students were proficient. This reality motivates WKKF to partner with community leaders, teachers, parents, businesses and philanthropy to find the most effective, equitable and high quality approaches in response.
Terms such as "babysitter," "caregiver," or "daycare provider" are too often the words that pop into people’s heads when they think of an adult who teaches very young children. And their pay is too often at the bottom of the income ladder, with salaries near $10 per hour. In fact, many adults working in child-care centers and other early-childhood programs make about $1 more than fast-food cooks and less than animal caretakers, according to a recent report by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.
This undervaluing of work is not just the case for infant and toddler teachers and assistants. Pre-k teachers, for instance, earn 40 percent less than kindergarten teachers, even though the demands of the job—and the education and training required—can be nearly identical. Research shows that these teachers matter a lot. The adults working in early-childhood programs set the foundation for future learning, developing essential knowledge in their young students as well as the skills, habits, and mindsets children need to succeed later in school and flourish in life. And the quality of interactions between teachers and children is especially important when it comes to sustaining the gains children make in pre-k programs.
More than 21,000 4 year olds have been enrolled in free preschool in Michigan over the past two years, according to Ron French at Bridge Magazine. It's the result of the biggest pre-school expansion in the nation. In 2012, a Bridge investigation found that about 30,000 pre-school aged kids that qualified for free preschool were not attending due to lack of funding, logistical issues or lack of transportation services. In 2013, Michigan increased preschool funding for low to middle income families, called the Great Start Readiness Program. The program got more funding in 2014.
President Obama used his penultimate State of the Union to call for a significant expansion in college access and increased investments in early childhood. This follows his administration's efforts in the last two years to increase funding and investments in high quality preschool and early learning opportunities. Given the correlation between educational achievement and a child's access to high-quality early childhood education, every sector should support better learning opportunities for our children to ensure our economic competitiveness down the road. Early education opportunities are critical to lifelong success. The first three years of childhood are a period of extraordinarily rapid brain development. Several studieshave documented significant cognitive gains for children who attend Pre-K programs. Furthermore, research has shown that students who attended Pre-K and kindergarten are more likely to have higher reading and extrapolation skills by the third grade than students who did not. This is key, considering third grade tests scores are a remarkably accurate indicator of whether or not a child will go to college.
Legislators anticipate Governor Bullock will tout the piece of legislation focusing on early childhood education that he introduced called Early Edge Montana. The program aims to achieve free public pre-k for four-year-old children.
Teaching experts say one of the fundamental building blocks of an education and a child's successful learning experience starts in a pre-school classroom. Developing social skills and getting a head start on education is what pre-school is for.
Military families can search for military child care availability and sign up for waiting lists online through a new Defense Department program that's gradually being rolled out worldwide.
DoD officials have launched MilitaryChildCare.com at 13 installations beyond the five previous pilot locations. It's expected to be operational worldwide by September 2016, with more installations coming online each quarter, officials said.
A new nonprofit, whose leaders include some state heavy-hitters, will launch a three-year campaign this week to expand New Jersey's quality preschool program to children in need throughout the state.
Pre-K Our Way will launch its initiative with an informational event Tuesday at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick.
Its leadership group includes former Govs. James J. Florio, a Democrat, and Thomas H. Kean, a Republican; former first lady and schoolteacher Lucinda Florio; Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey; William J. Marino, former chairman and CEO of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey; Douglas L. Kennedy, president and CEO of Peapack-Gladstone Bank; and Lynda Anderson-Towns, superintendent of the Woodbine School District.
A chief organizer of the effort and, for now, primary funder is M. Brian Maher, philanthropist and former chairman of Maher Terminals L.L.C.
Clearly, providing early learning opportunities for at-risk children has become not only a focal point for lawmakers, but a shared national commitment. And Washington State is leading the way with the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), modeled on Head Start. Based on evidence that most successful early learning programs are those that replicate Head Start’s comprehensive approach to the whole child and the whole family, ECEAP works hand-in-hand with local Head Start programs to expand access to high quality early learning to Washington’s most vulnerable children.
More than 25 percent of the students enrolled in Head Start programs in D.C. Public Schools were chronically absent last school year, missing at least 10 percent or the equivalent of a month or more, according to two reports the Urban Institute plans to release Tuesday.
Seven percent of the students missed 20 percent or more of enrolled days.
Overall, less than half — 44 percent — of the school system’s Head Start students had what one report called “satisfactory attendance,” which is missing 5 percent or less of the school year.
The House Education Committee on Monday passed two bills intended to increase funding for both preschool and full-day kindergarten, but the discussion highlighted differences over which program should have the highest priority.
House Bill 15-1020, a measure that would increase state financial support of full-day kindergarten, passed 10-1, with only one Republican voting no. But House Bill 15-1024, which would provide more funding for the Colorado Preschool Program, only passed on a 6-5 party-line vote, with majority Democrats on the winning side.
The two issues consumed much of a hearing that lasted more than six hours.
A former state lawmaker was honored Monday, Jan. 26, as an advocate for early childhood development programs in Michigan. . . . The former state senator, state representative and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee was chosen because he was "a tireless advocate" for early childhood education, according to local Great Start Collaborative Director Julie Kozan.
A statewide readiness test has found that half of kindergarten students began class in the fall without having basic skills to help them succeed.
Sen. Hanna M. Gallo has submitted legislation that would pay school districts to offer full-day kindergarten by accelerating a portion of the school funding formula.
Seven districts — Cranston, Johnston, Warwick, Coventry, East Greenwich, North Kingstown and Tiverton — do not offer full-day kindergarten to all children. Approximately 1,100 students would be offered all-day kindergarten if the districts made it universal. Under the current funding formula, districts that offer only half-day kindergarten are reimbursed for only half the aid for a full-time student. Because the funding formula is being phased in over seven years, districts that move to adopt all-day kindergarten this fall will not get their full reimbursement for another three years.
President Obama on Thursday unveiled plans to greatly increase federal assistance to working Americans struggling to afford child care, choosing a Democratic pocket in a solidly Republican state to sharpen the contrast between the parties’ economic visions.
In an appearance at the University of Kansas, Obama called for an $80 billion expansion of a federal program that provides child care subsidies to low- and middle-income families with children ages 3 and younger, nearly doubling the aid and offering it to more than 1 million additional children over the next decade. He promoted his plan to nearly triple, to $3,000 per child, the maximum child care tax credit. And the president said he would push to put more federal money into early childhood programs, expanding the availability of free preschool and extending Head Start — focused on low-income families — to last an entire day and for the full school year.
Dual language learners have increased massively within the last few years, due greatly to immigration and the organic growth of Spanish-dominate U.S. born Latinos. That said, there's evidence that identifying and supporting bilingual or multilingual students earlier in their cognitive development/educational process does not seem to be a state or national priority, although it can make all the difference in their future.
Very few states demand early language assessments in early education programs, according to a new webinar by the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), titled "Young Immigrants and Dual Language Learners: Participation in Pre-K & Gaps at Kindergarten Entry."
The results of the 2014-15 Oregon Kindergarten Assessment, which were released by the state Department of Education last week, only reinforces the need for early learning and earlier intervention before kindergarten, according to Woodburn Superintendent Chuck Ransom. The state’s assessment results should not surprise anyone familiar with the district and its composition. The data show that Woodburn students, when they begin their public school careers, are generally in line with their peers in approaches to learning and early mathematics, while they lag significantly behind in early English literacy. . .
According to the 2014-15 assessment, local students matched or even exceeded the statewide averages for self-regulation and interpersonal skills (two measures dealing with approaches to learning) and came in just behind the statewide results for numbers and math operations.
Not long after getting free all-day kindergarten, boosters of early childhood education are hoping to get state money for free all-day preschool across Minnesota. It's a top priority for Senate Democrats this session. They say giving 4-year-olds a quality education better prepares them for success in life.
Half of Kentucky's kindergartners did not enter the 2014-15 school year prepared to learn the reading and math skills they are expected to master, according to data released Wednesday by the state.
Fifty percent of students who entered kindergarten in the fall of 2014 were considered "not ready,” according to a statewide readiness screening administered by teachers to 49,089 kindergartners in all 173 school districts.
It's a very slight improvement from the 2013-14 school year, when 51 percent were considered not ready.
"While we are moving in the right direction, this data reinforces the importance of quality early learning opportunities for all children," Gov. Steve Beshear said in a prepared statement.
Stressing that 43 percent of Massachusetts third graders are not reading at grade level, state lawmakers are pushing to provide every child with an early start to education. State Senator Sonia Chang Diaz (D-Boston) filed a bill that would provide state-funded preschool education for three- and four- year olds across Massachusetts. If it is signed into law, school districts would qualify for funding by submitting a plan to the state on how they would provide high-quality education.