Early Education in the News
Return of investment of early childhood education includes school success, graduation, work force readiness and job productivity, [former president and CEO of Weis Markets Inc. Norm] Rich said. "Investing in children is investing in America," he said.
A new report argues that third-grade reading proficiency heavily influences later achievement, including high school graduation. What's needed, say the report's authors and other education advocates, is more focus on children's 0-8 years, as well as a system that does a better job of integrating early-childhood education, K-12, parental support, and health and human services.
The Missouri Parents As Teachers Program is facing $13 million in state funding cuts as part of this year's budget. Under the proposed state cuts, Columbia's Parents As Teachers Program would lose about half of its 39 parent educators.
All over the country, the financial crisis has forced states to make cuts to close what the National Conference of State Legislatures found was an overall budget gap of $174.1 billion this fiscal year and has lawmakers looking to cut another $89 billion next year. That means slashing services to children, the one population they have long protected.
The economic tailspin forcing states to look closely at spending priorities didn't keep 29 states from increasing enrollment in their preschool programs last year. Regrettably, Indiana still languishes among the handful of backward states with no support for high-quality pre-K.
What West Virginia needs is greater investment in early childhood education, especially for the poorest and most disadvantaged of children. Almost one-third of West Virginia's youngest children under 5 live in poverty. If we do not address their needs, we will never achieve the prosperity we all desire.
Low-quality care in the first few years of life can have a small but long-lasting impact on a child's learning and behavior, according to new results from the largest, most authoritative assessment of child rearing in the United States.
A recent state report indicates the need for more early childhood education programs, and some local providers said they see high demand.
The Dallas Independent School District is discussing whether to make pre-kindergarten available for a full day system-wide. Doing so would nearly double the number of full-day classrooms, but it could also mean cutting the number of teachers.
The study found that among African American students and boys in general, those who attended full-day pre-kindergarten classes outperformed their Head Start peers who had only half-day programs on reading benchmarks. But the results also applied more broadly.
Oklahoma is the only state where almost every 4-year-old can attend a quality pre-K program, according to the report.
Last year, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill directing the state education department to plan a gradual expansion of pre-K eligibility that would eventually include every child in the state. The first stage would have seen the eligibility limit on family income rise from 185 percent to 300 percent of the federal poverty line, increasing the programs' current $101 million cost by $19 million.
Early-education programs are struggling to serve all the children who qualify for them, as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has caused states to slash budgets and reduce spending, according to an annual survey of state-funded programs by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.
As a group, California's kindergartners are among the youngest in the nation, but that may change under a bill being considered in the state Legislature. The legislation by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, would require children to have turned 5 by Sept. 1 to begin kindergarten in that school year.
A Republican alternative plan to close Tennessee's budget gap won't include changes to the state's pre-kindergarten program, state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said.
Changes to the popular Parents as Teachers program have been spurred by Missouri's budget troubles. The operating budget approved by lawmakers for the budget year starting July 1 cut more than $13 million from the early childhood education program.
New research from the business-leader group, America's Edge, shows that investments in quality early learning are among the most effective ways to infuse billions of dollars into local and state economies, while creating tens of thousands of jobs and building a foundation for sustained economic security.
Experts talk too often about poorly performing middle or high schools and dismiss elementary and preschool time as the "cute" years. But these are the years we should focus on.
Missouri senators have endorsed a plan that would merge the state's two education oversight boards into one responsible for education from kindergarten through doctoral programs.
But even as educators and others recognize the importance of focusing on early childhood enrichment, tight state and local budgets are making it tough to maintain current programs and start new ones.