Early Education in the News
Are you ready to receive some really good news? West Virginia is one of the national leaders in providing preschool opportunities.
Lawmakers trimmed controversial programs like anti-bullying and preschool quality rating system from the bill. Supporters say the bill encourages high schoolers to stay in school, but opponents say early childhood education needs more funding.
If state leaders want to improve Ohio's education system, they shouldn't be slashing $244 million in state aid to early-care and education programs for low-income youngsters, advocates say. Katie Kelly, director of Groundwork, a statewide coalition of early-care advocates, said the cuts will mean that fewer at-risk children are prepared to start school and will lead to higher costs for the state down the road.
We should make sure that the care and education we are investing our public dollars in is of high quality. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood programs for low-income children yields big returns. Kids in high-quality programs do better, dramatically reducing the need for investment in remedial services later on.
The brain research argument is that the early years of a child's life, from the prenatal period onward, are when the brain is developing and growing faster than any other time. This period is critical and sets the stage for all of later learning and adult functioning.
While fourth-graders toil over long division and 10th-graders immerse themselves in Algebra II, the 5-year-olds are drawing pictures, putting together puzzles and lining up for recess. But the pre-kindergarten, also known as Young 5s or developmental kindergarten in other districts, nearly met its demise after legislators threatened to slash funding.
A new statewide program aimed at improving the education of Oregon's young children will give money to early child care and education workers who complete college courses or training. The program -- launched today by a partnership of six groups -- will use nearly $3 million in federal stimulus dollars, as well as private donations to pay for the incentives.
At a time when the stock market is slumping, Mississippians are making the smartest investment possible in an uncertain economy: providing a better start in life for some of our most vulnerable children.
California voters supported Proposition 10 not simply because it was a humane investment in society's youngest and most vulnerable members, but also because it made economic sense to invest early and prevent costly problems down the line.
Mr. Obama also is seeking $500 million in federal matching funds that would encourage states and districts to devote a larger share of their Title I money to prekindergarten programs. And he has asked for $300 million to help states better integrate early-childhood programs.
Early care and education is literally the foundation for all subsequent school success. Many national studies show the value of quality early learning experiences, and an important Minnesota study conducted by the state Department of Human Services demonstrated that children in quality child care are measurably more "ready for K" than are children who lack that opportunity.
The push in the Texas House of Representatives for full-day prekindergarten classes had the weight of 100 members behind it before a vote was ever taken. [But] it will be up to the 10-member conference committee negotiating the budget to say if the state will make a major new investment in prekindergarten.
The answer is to integrate, says Shannon Riley-Ayers, assistant research professor for the National Institute of Early Education. Absorbing written information doesn't have to come only by the way of books; you can promote literacy to your children by engaging in various hands-on activities, many of which are available or sponsored through your local libraries.
The Anchorage School Board will look at how to spend about $60 million in federal stimulus money over the next two years on Monday, and some educators would like to see the money used to develop pre-kindergarten programs.
The state Department of Education will be starting a new evaluation of the effectiveness of Tennessee's voluntary pre-K program next month. The five-year, $6 million study is being funded by a grant from U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Science.
The nation's 9- and 13-year-olds are doing better in math and reading than in the early 1970s, but average scores for students approaching high school graduation haven't budged, according to test results released today.
Despite solid evidence that preschool can have lasting effects on children, even curbing dropout rates and slimming the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their classmates, there is no uniform system for funding it. The fates of different preschools and their different programs will vary dramatically depending on where they get their money, and whether they can find ways to tap the stimulus.
Of the 38 states that sponsor pre-K classes, Texas is the only one that doesn't cap student-to-teacher ratios. Pre-K programs, including Head Start, are among the best, most cost-effective ways to propel disadvantaged kids into academic success — but studies show that pre-K works its magic only when the program is of high quality, with trained teachers and a low student-to-teacher ratio.
Utah legislators and educators should look closely at an early-childhood learning program created by a law written and promoted by the company the state is now paying $2.5 million to provide preschoolers with computer software.
[Pre-K teacher Vickie] Floyd has kept track of Jamarion and the 19 other students in her class since August, through portfolios of their work and other brief, two- to five-minute assessments. In two weeks, she'll review some of the data collected throughout the year to help parents and other administrators decide whether Jamarion or other students need seven more weeks of school.