Early Education in the News
A new survey says 60 percent of Californians want the state to provide preschool to every 4-year-old who wants it. The survey also found that 83 percent of parents would enroll their children in preschool provided by the state.
Vermont has dozens of programs, public and private, aimed at helping young children get the physical and mental help they need to thrive.
The tax package would raise about $1 billion a year for education, including $100 million for preschool programs.
The governor budgeted an extra $14 million to add about 2,000 slots in preschool programs in 11 school districts identified as not making adequate progress in reading and mathematics under No Child Left Behind. The state currently spends about $38 million to pay for 6,300 children in preschool classes.
Experts say a quality preschool setting helps children develop physical, socialization, language, thinking and problem-solving skills through play. Research has shown children who were enrolled in preschool programs scored significantly higher on reading and math, were more likely to graduate from a four-year college, earn more money, and are less likely to be involved in delinquency.
Providing at-risk children with quality early childhood care and education significantly reduces the achievement gaps that otherwise plague them later in their school careers. Now, new Denver data from a study funded by The Piton Foundation reinforces these findings.
As Indiana considers a proposal to make pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten available statewide by 2007, Gov. Joe Kernan and top educators are looking to Georgia and eight other states that pay for full-day kindergarten. Officials in states that pay for full-day kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs say they have seen improvements in student achievement, attendance and graduation rates.
Educators, advocates and business leaders are calling for high-quality preschool for all the state's 700,000 3- and 4-year olds, despite the fact that Texas legislators are balking at new money for public schools. The bold plan aims to coordinate every preschool program in the state during a 10-year period, including private providers such as Montessori schools, church preschools, the federally financed Head Start program and state-financed preschools that serve children of low-income parents.
As for future funding, state education officials say they recognize the need for quality preschool and want to help locate other funding sources. Given Gov. Tim Pawlenty's goal of ensuring that all students read in first grade, his education department should be boosting, not reducing, early education investments.
As an early-childhood professional who has used the data to support the claims of high-quality preschool to secure funding for early care and education projects, I still have to say that my response to the preschool question is, unequivocally, no. Nurturing, consistent, one-on-one relationships prepare children for school success, as well as success in life, more than any other single factor.
Welcome to the preschool revolution -- the campaign to provide universal, first-class early education for the state's 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children. Massachusetts should jump in, drawing not only on its economic resources but also the academic, business, and cultural wealth that could enrich children's lives.
The first phase of [Governor Janet] Napolitano's full-day kindergarten plan will start at the 250 schools where 90 percent of students participate in the federal free or reduced-fee lunch programs. She said Arizona will build upon a "three-legged stool" of child care, all-day kindergarten and early-childhood literacy.
Different regional offices overseeing Head Start grant recipients use different standards to define a program as "underenrolled." The federal agency overseeing Head Start must strive for consistency among regions; each program should receive the same treatment and responses, regardless of its location.
Gov. Joe Kernan's proposal for early-childhood education would give Indiana parents something they've never had before: Free preschool that's designed not just to baby-sit, but also to educate children -- regardless of ability or income. Advocates say the proposal, part of an initiative that also would provide full-day kindergarten statewide by 2007, could fill a key void for more than 423,000 preschoolers in Indiana.
House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran's goal is to give younger children an early grounding in math, reading, and science.
While the Department of Education backs the idea of early childhood education, it has no specific proposal on the table.
Gov. Bob Taft's Head Start Plus program would provide all-day, year-round day care for 10,000 children from working-poor families. Instead of providing some social services, a caseworker for every 33 families would help refer parents to outside agencies.
The preschool years offer the optimal time to teach children how to control their impulses. Along with language and motor skills, young children in their first five years learn social and emotional patterns that stick with them for life.
The new budget is a rather plain version of its former fancy self: The original three-year proposal included a "distinguished educator" program, full-day kindergarten for everyone, and preschool for 127 low-income districts. Those programs were ambitious -- at least for Pennsylvania, which has been criticized by educators and advocates as one of only nine states in the country that provides no state funding for pre-kindergarten.
Advocates and policymakers [in California] hope to create a funding mechanism that over the next five to 10 years would provide for voluntary, free preschool that should be as accessible as kindergarten is today. Reform proponents believe early learning will boost achievement later in students' schooling and ultimately lead to more successful adults.