Early Education in the News
Now consider the long-term return on investment when we have nurtured and raised a generation of more educated, creative, resourceful and innovative workers. A wealth of studies have examined the benefit-cost ratios of early childhood development programs and found their net benefits both positive and large; on average, a $1 investment in quality early care and education provides between $4 and $8 in reduced costs associated with such social outcomes as lower rates of grade retention, special education placement, adolescent pregnancy, drug use, and criminal activity — at the high end this is a 17-percent return on investment.
More early childhood education and better support for working families will be key to moving Louisiana families out of poverty, state and national experts said Thursday. The majority of [Child Poverty Council] members said expansion of early childhood education and child-care assistance were the most effective strategies in achieving the council's goal, according to a survey conducted by the council's consultants.
Arne Duncan, President-elect Barack Obama's pick for Education secretary, promised a new emphasis on early childhood education at his confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Duncan said he would work to do something "dramatically better" in early childhood education, and he said Obama was committed to the creation of a commission on early childhood education.
Economists have backed up Churchill's instinct with hard data: public investment in the institutions, programs, and systems that support the healthy development of all young children in a community yields a high rate of return. Indeed, there are few public investments that are likely to bring better societal benefits or larger long-term monetary savings.
In this report, some of the findings reinforce the value of common practices, such as teaching young children the alphabet. But "some of the patterns are different from what people predicted, and that's going to change practice," says Timothy Shanahan, chairman of the National Early Literacy Panel, which released the report Thursday.
Advocates of early childhood education initiatives such as Head Start are lobbying for early childhood funding to be included in the stimulus, but lawmakers and education experts say they may be disappointed. Those calling for Head Start funds in the stimulus, however, argue that increased funding is an infrastructure investment.
Aside from going after non-classroom spending like bus services for kids in magnet schools, instructional materials and online classrooms, the Legislature is looking at adding more children to pre-K classrooms. As it is, about 59 percent of Florida kids take advantage of the program.
This legislative session, South Dakota lawmakers will consider a state-funded pre-k program for your kids. The state is one of only 12 without such a program, and one senator says the legislature needs to revisit the issue.
The issue of pre-K schooling has been often overshadowed or dismissed in North Dakota – one of only about eight states not spending any money on pre-K programs. But there is a growing movement among lawmakers and school officials to change that this year.
Thousands of Minnesota children enter kindergarten unprepared every year, and that's costing Minnesota's education system about $113 million a year, a new study found. But the study released Monday also found that a quality two-year program for at-risk 3-year-olds would cost schools about $377 million a year — more than three times the $113 million that would be saved.
If new early education investments are made too quickly - if funding gets ahead of capacity to deliver high-quality programs - the results will not live up to the high expectations advocates have created. To prevent this outcome, the Obama administration must ensure that any new early education investments focus on quality, invest in capacity, and are integrated into a broader education reform agenda.
A staple in urban districts for a decade, Gov. Jon S. Corzine promised to make preschool available to poor children no matter where they live. But in some suburban districts, the full-day expansion that now includes 3-year-olds is squeezing out the children of middle-class families who used to be included in half-day programs.
Proximity to industries — and the exposures to toxic chemicals that often go with it — can portend unique dangers for young children. Their bodies still are developing, and they breathe more air per pound than adults.
Florida's youngest students hit an all time high in early literacy and other skills when the Florida Department of Education released the results of the 2008 Kindergarten Readiness Screener on Monday.
The group pointed out in a report that while unemployment is growing, employers are still having trouble finding skilled workers for jobs like carpenters, engineers, machinists and accountants. The group thinks the most cost-effective way to tackle the problem is to improve the education of young children.
In a Reader's View, Darrel Deide advocated against early childhood education, arguing that parents should be responsible for meeting this need. While Deide indicated there are some public policymakers who share his opinion, more than two thirds of Idahoans reported they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports access to pre-kindergarten programs for Idaho's young children.
With the ever-increasing emphasis on student achievement, accountability and rigorous standards that come with implementation of the Tennessee Diploma Project, early childhood education programs including Gov. Phil Bredesen's voluntary pre-K classes are even more critical for student and school success. Research shows that children who attend a high-quality preschool or pre-kindergarten experience greater social and academic success in kindergarten, throughout subsequent grade levels and in life outside the classroom.
Early learning opportunities, the foundation for educational success, are reaching more of the state's children as 37 school districts added 4-year-old kindergarten (4K) for the 2008-09 school year. The programs provide educational and economic benefit regardless of family income, but specifically bridge the effects of poverty by allowing children from economically disadvantaged families to gain a more equal footing with their peers.
Mr. Obama's platform, which Mr. Duncan helped write, emphasizes extending care to infants and toddlers as well, and it makes helping poor children a priority. It would also provide new federal financing for states rolling out programs to serve young children of all incomes.
A year or two in a quality preschool program could ultimately mean the difference between success and failure for disadvantaged Virginia students. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's administration has identified high-quality preschool programs as a priority, but with budget cuts looming, it is unclear whether initiatives and funding will continue.