Early Education in the News
The measure envisioned free half-day preschool at public schools and private learning centers for all children, regardless of family income.
The bill, which would take effect in the fall of 2008, reflects a decades-old worry about sending children to school too early. Rep. Dale Folwell, a Forsyth County Republican and the chief sponsor, said the legislation is aimed at ensuring children are not so many months behind their classmates developmentally because of an arbitrary date.
Even if your parents speak English at home, at 4 years old you have a ways to go before mastering the language. But, especially for 4-year-olds whose first language is Spanish or Hmong or Vietnamese, quality preschool can improve the transition to elementary school.
Experts say only premium programs pack the punch that educators say is needed to help the most disadvantaged children prepare for kindergarten.
Many education analysts are tracking the California debate over whether pre-kindergarten should be universal or targeted to disadvantaged kids.
No other social program has been evaluated more than preschool education.
The smaller amount proposed by the governor would go mostly to children from poor families who are not already enrolled.
Heeding studies showing that investing money in kids before kindergarten increases their chances of graduating and staying out of jail, nearly half of governors this year are pushing for -- and many are getting -- more funding for preschool education.
A proposed universal preschool program on California's June ballot would dramatically increase student achievement and could eventually become a national model if it is adopted, early education researchers say.
State lawmakers and the past couple of governors of Minnesota have been told by wide-ranging groups in recent years there are good reasons for making a higher priority of investing in programs for little kids.
The bill would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to create standards for optional early education programs designed to help pre-kindergarten children with social, emotional and language development.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine promised expanded preschool during his campaign last year, but did not push for it during the most recent General Assembly session. On Friday, Kaine plans to announce the members of his early education council, which will propose a model for expanding preschool in Virginia.
Georgia's example is one of several state programs studied by the drafters of California's initiative, who hope voters will back an effort that they argue would give all students a jump-start on traditional kindergarten. Doing so, supporters hope, would translate into achievement gains for students in the nation's most populous state.
The commonsense and practical solution is to expand preschool services at the state level within the structures that already exist in the Department of Education and in local school districts. This would guarantee children a seamless transition from pre-kindergarten programs into public kindergarten programs.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich's landmark "Preschool for All Children" initiative won't give all children access to free preschool after all, at least in the short run.
Supporters hope that if voters pass Proposition 82, some 550,000 4-year-olds who live in California would have a chance to go to school. However, the initiative, which was once popular with residents, is losing voter support amid a disagreement over which children would benefit.
The proposal would make the child of an active duty member of the armed forces or a member of the National Guard or Reserve eligible for pre-kindergarten.
Half of the region's kindergarteners are the children of immigrants, and their scores tend to be lower than their English-speaking counterparts. But officials Wednesday said those scores are correlated with social factors — not language.
Early enrollment numbers for Florida's new voluntary summer pre-K program are low.
North Dakota has an opportunity to use public dollars in the best way: to get children started early on the road to a good public education.