Early Education in the News
North Carolina is one of only two states whose prekindergarten programs met all benchmarks for quality cited in a report from an early childhood education policy institute. The National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University highlighted the More at Four program and another initiative in Alabama as the only state-funded prekindergarten programs that reached all 10 benchmarks in 2006.
As all-day kindergarten grows in popularity, some districts are asking parents to pay for the extra costs of the longer program. Pay programs have critics, but proponents say charging is one of the best ways for districts to provide full-day programs in states like Kansas and Indiana, which only pay for half-day programs.
The science is conclusive: Children that participate in high-quality early education programs are more likely to graduate high school, go on to college, and maintain meaningful employment. A recent five-state study conducted by the National Institute for Early Education Research found substantial early language, math and reading gains among children who received state-funded Pre-K education at age 4.
[Gov. Rick] Perry has proposed an additional $80 million over the next two years for early childhood programs that adhere to the Texas Early Education Model, which [Brooke] Jones and [Rachel] Brace use at the Children's Courtyard. The model encourages the state's three main government-funded providers of pre-kindergarten — public schools, Head Start and child care centers that accept federal welfare-to-work vouchers — to share teachers, facilities and ideas.
Using an idea that's catching on throughout the state, the [Menomonee Falls School District] plans to partner with local preschool and child care centers to give 4-year-olds a half-day program that proponents say will give them an educational boost for years to come. Almost every Wisconsin school district looking to add a new 4-year-old kindergarten program is considering such a collaborative approach, said Jill Haglund, an early-childhood education consultant for the state Department of Public Instruction who estimated that the partnerships exist in about 50 school systems.
Pennsylvania's top education official on Thursday defended a proposed expansion of an education-grant program that would have the state spend $100 million more on preschool and full-day kindergarten. Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak told the House Appropriations Committee that boosting the state's three-year-old accountability block grant program was crucial to ensuring that thousands more youngsters are prepared to succeed academically in school - one of Gov. Ed Rendell's top priorities.
Oversight and regulation of child-care centers in many states are disturbingly low, according to a study released yesterday that ranked the Defense Department well above any state for its child-care standards and Maryland fourth in the nation. The findings add weight to a series of similar reports released over the past year, said Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.
A growing number of West Virginia children are being enrolled in prekindergarten programs, and experts stress that an early start on education can be a big boost to a child's success in school. West Virginia has an improving track record on pre-school preparation, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.
State law enforcement officials want increased funding for an early childhood education program. Head Start provides preschool education to low-income families. Law enforcement wants more federal money for the federal program because children who attend are less likely to cross their paths later in life.
Critics say proposed new standards for preschools are evidence of lawmakers trying to seize control of families and threatening to drive up already expensive early childhood education programs. Proponents say the standards issue is a simple one of encouraging better education for young children.
When school started in August, more Florida kindergartners were prepared to tackle reading than had been ready in previous years, the state's annual early-literacy screening shows. That makes educators hopeful that the state's new pre-kindergarten program is making a difference.
Expanding preschool access to Iowa children has been a widely debated issue during the current legislative session. Iowa lawmakers are weighing legislation to create high quality preschool for 4-year-olds. The bill proposes spending $15 million for three years and $16.2 million during the fourth year of the program.
Classroom space in California public preschools is at such a premium that 21% of eligible 4-year-olds would be unable to attend if they all attempted to enroll, according to a statewide study released Thursday. The survey, released by Advancement Project, a national public policy and civil rights advocacy organization, found that if California public schools were to provide universal preschool, there would not be enough room for 117,000, or 21%, of 4-year-olds.
Head Start, the country’s early childhood development program, would be open to more children and see more money under a bill approved Wednesday by the Senate's education committee. The bill, which would renew for five more years the school readiness program aimed at disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds, is expected to go before the full Senate for a vote later this year.
The Senate Education Committee agreed Tuesday that Idaho school districts should be allowed to enroll 4-year-olds in voluntary preschool programs. The committee voted 6 to 2 to drop the minimum age for enrolling students in public schools from 5 to 4. The bill now goes to the full Senate. If it passes the Legislature, the bill would let school districts offer pre-school programs on a voluntary basis provided that no state money is used to fund them.
Statewide, Missouri public pre-kindergarten enrollment has more than quadrupled in four years — from 4,400 in the 2001-2002 school year to nearly 18,000 last year. Libby Doggett, the executive director of Pre-K Now, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., said Missouri’s pre-K boom is mirrored nationwide.
A child who's already behind when kindergarten starts is more likely to have trouble, to drop out, to get involved with crime, to end up in jail. The earlier intervention starts, the more hope there is of mitigating the damage a poor home environment can cause, and the greater likelihood of success down the line.
Speaking of preschool quality, there's another miniscule budget item Gov. Tim Kaine has proposed that could make a big difference. It would take Virginia the first step toward a system that rates the quality of child care.
Based on test score data provided by the state Department of Education in its annual release of the New Jersey School Report Cards, the cumulative three-year gap in scores between students in Abbott and non-Abbott school districts is decreasing, for the most part.
Almost a decade ago, thanks to a low-key push by a small group of state legislators, business executives and educators, Oklahoma agreed to pay for one year of prekindergarten. The program is voluntary, but 70 percent of 4-year-olds here now attend public preschool, more than in any other state. In every classroom, the head teacher must have a bachelor's degree — nationwide, most preschool teachers don't — and there must be a teacher for every 10 students.