Early Education in the News
A new report shows the effectiveness of Tennessee's pre-kindergarten program diminishes after the second grade, but supporters say it still provides a valuable foundation that will help at-risk children succeed. The report commissioned by the state comptroller's office late last week reveals kindergarten students who participated in the pre-K program performed better academically than a group of those who didn't.
The total cost of the program was $15,166 per child (adjusted for inflation from 1962 dollars to 2000 dollars). The return to society on that initial investment was $244,812 per child. Preschool is a "social program from which everybody wins," says economist Steven Barnett, director of the Institute for Early Education Research.
If Illinois pre-K administrators and educators are given the same budget they received last year — which amounted to a 10 percent reduction from the previous year — cuts would have to be made across the state. More than 9,500 3- and 4-year olds could go without pre-kindergarten.
[South Dakota state Sen. Tom] Dempster and a committee have been working to draft a bill that would not ask for an appropriation this year; it would simply set up a structure for preschool standards that would at least enable the state to start receiving federal money designated for such programs.
The state's fiscal crisis is striking some of its most vulnerable residents -- 4-year-olds whose private, nonprofit preschool programs are losing state funding. A 50% cut in grants, part of the school aid budget that became official last week, means more than 20 programs won't get their funding renewed and 2,000 slots will be lost.
According to a report released Monday by Nielsen, a TV ratings organization, the amount of television kids watch has reached an eightyear high, with children ages 2 to 5 watching more than 32 hours a week and those ages 6 to 11 watching more than 28 hours. The study was based on children's consumption of live TV, recorded TV programs and game-console use.
Child experts say that's just too much television.
Oregon's Legislature was among 13 state legislatures that increased spending on prekindergaten education, the Pew Center reports this month in an annual report on legislative action affecting prekindergarten. The Oregon Legislature in 2007 put an additional $37 million into Oregon Head Start, nearly doubling the number of 3- and 4-year-olds from low-income families served by the state to 6,550.
New Jersey was poised to expand this preschool program to even more children when the recession devastated state revenues. Whoever occupies the governor's mansion next year needs to appreciate the value of this resource and build on it by making New Jersey's highly effective early education programs available to children who need them in school districts across the state.
Across the Columbus school district, tests given each fall show that more than three of every four kindergarten students aren't ready to learn. This is a particularly difficult challenge for two reasons: Preparing small children for school isn't usually the responsibility of a K-12 school district, but it still must spend time and money to help kids catch up.
A three-year, statewide study of 10,002 preschoolers from low-income families has shown a good education before kindergarten vastly improves a child's ability to learn.
Ohio slashed preschool programs more than any other state in the nation, according to a new report. The state-by-state analysis found that Ohio cut the largest percentage of funding from preschool education and, as a result, will deny services to the largest number of children.
With a deadline looming next week to either fill the seats or lose state funding, the Education Department is scrambling to reach parents by any means possible. Up for grabs are the 5,400 pre-K spots for 4-year-olds, including more than 900 for coveted full-day programs.
The report found that Massachusetts this fiscal year cut 22 percent of the budget for prekindergarten education, more than every state but Ohio, which cut 33 percent of its money for such programs. Massachusetts state officials called the report skewed.
Despite declining revenues and budget shortfalls, state funding for prekindergarten is expected to increase by about 1 percent, or $5.3 billion, nationally in fiscal 2010, says a report from a group that advocates high-quality early-education programs.
The analysis showed that at 9 to 15 months, Hispanic and white children performed equally on tests of basic cognitive skills, like understanding their mother's speech and using words and gestures. But from 24 to 36 months, the Hispanic children fell about six months behind their white peers on measures like word comprehension, more complex speech and working with their mothers on simple tasks.
The program is designed to fight childhood obesity by teaching kids exercise and nutrition, the younger the better. The program's design is based on brain research, which shows movement fosters proper brain development in young children.
Rhode Island was one of 12 states that had no investment in early childhood education until the opening this fall of seven state-sponsored pre-kindergarten classrooms in four cities — Providence, Warwick, Central Falls and Woonsocket.
A unique early-childhood program is helping low-income students enter Wichita-area schools prepared to learn, according to data released by the Opportunity Project, or TOP.
Started in August 2005, Florida's Voluntary Prekindergarten Program provides free to all families an opportunity for 4 year olds to learn and practice skills they will need to be successful in kindergarten and throughout life.
With the struggle to get our pre-kindergarten kids ready for school, over 40 states have gone to putting preschools as part of their curriculum. A move that has proved successful in preparing children to better read, write and do math. Which is why the Anchorage School District with the help of stimulus dollars is joining the ranks to get Anchorage's kids a part of early education.