Early Education in the News
New Jersey's partnership with private child care centers to provide free preschool in its cities continues to grow.
More than 200 educators, law enforcement officials and parents are expected to congregate on the state Capitol floor this morning, communicating an idea as basic as the ABCs -- all California children should have access to preschool. The hearing is organized by the nonprofit organization Preschool California, established last year to coordinate a publicly funded, voluntary preschool program for all 3- and 4-year-olds in the state.
Washington voters will get to decide in November whether to boost the state sales tax by a penny on the dollar to generate $1 billion a year for education.
By then, funding is expected to be awarded to districts that applied for the Early Launch Learning Initiative, a $15 million grant that will fund preschool programs in districts that get little or no state aid for early-childhood programs. With the money, districts can start a new program or expand an existing one.
The prospects for universal preschool became brighter yesterday when the state's legislative leadership showcased the issue for their colleagues from around the country.
Preschool teachers should have at least a bachelor's degree — and get salaries that match those of public elementary, middle and high school teachers, an influential education group says. In a report issued Tuesday, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) calls for what amounts to a complete makeover of the nation's early childhood education system, urging both private and public systems to raise standards and salaries with the aid of taxpayers, colleges and private enterprise.
The legislature appropriated up to $8 million for pre-kindergarten and up to $2 million for after-school programs in Tennessee schools, but it's still not known how much of that money will be spent. The lottery law set up provisions for any excess money from the sale of lottery tickets to go for pre-K and after-school programs — with conditions.
Education is still a major focus, a close ally to economic opportunity. "The most important thing is to continue to invest in education," says Marc Morial, the League’s president and chief executive.
This week, state officials promoted a recent study that measured results after the first two years of operation at 13 Judy centers, named for the late Prince George's County early childhood educator and spouse of U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md). State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick said the findings from 2001 to last year showed that Judy centers help to quickly close the achievement gap when it first emerges for poor and other disadvantaged children.
Thirty-six states now have standards for what children should know and be able to do before they enter kindergarten, particularly in literacy and other academic areas. But many of those documents don’t give the same level of attention to other aspects of development, such as social and emotional skills and physical growth, according to the latest findings of a three-year study of states’ early-learning standards.
Beginning in 2006, children who turn 5 after Aug. 1 will attend a junior kindergarten for a year before entering regular kindergarten, under a bill Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law yesterday. The new law allows for some flexibility to move the children into whichever level is most appropriate and allows children to be promoted directly from junior kindergarten to the first grade.
The new agency, Los Angeles Universal Preschool Inc., will oversee a system being built from the ground up.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell had envisioned that if school districts chose to spend the money on pre-school and full-day kindergarten programs, 9,000 more students could attend pre-kindergarten programs and 13,000 more could enroll in all-day kindergarten.
Gov. Jeb Bush vetoed a bill Friday that would have created free prekindergarten for Florida's 4-year-olds, saying it didn't do enough to ensure what enrolled children would learn. Besides not laying out broad goals for what children should learn, the governor said the bill also should have included a requirement for a certain number of adults in each classroom to ensure safety and more specific teacher training requirements.
What Head Start most needs from Congress right now is a bipartisan five-year plan for improving the quality and effectiveness of services for the nation's poorest 3- and 4-year-olds - especially those services that make the most difference in their readiness for school. And it needs a spending plan that adequately supports it.
Less than half of Tennessee's children who need quality early childhood education programs are receiving them, a report released by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) finds.
[Lt. Gov. Diane] Denish is on a mission to convince New Mexico's business community that early childhood development is the next phase of education reform. But getting the business community to universally support her view that early childhood education programs are by definition "education reform" and therefore worthy of receiving a portion of the new money now available, because of the voter-approved increased distribution from the land grant permanent fund last year, is not going to be easy.
The Los Angeles County First 5 Commission, which plans to enroll 100,000 children in the county over the next decade, was scheduled in June to review candidates to serve on the board of directors for the nonprofit corporation that will run operations.
Statewide pre-kindergarten is supposed to start in fall 2005, and a program of this size can't be created overnight. Having enough classes, public and private, to educate an estimated 150,000 kids will take a lot of preparation that would be pushed back substantially if the Legislature started all over again next spring.
Yet suddenly this year, Stroucken has emerged as a champion for an issue that is rapidly gaining priority at many corporations and foundations in Minnesota: the need for a stronger commitment to early childhood development. But he fears that [a stronger workforce] won't happen unless this nation does more to help children in their critical pre-kindergarten years, when so much of their brain development occurs.