Early Education in the News
For every dollar spent on early childhood education, $7 is saved later through reduced costs for special education, welfare dependency and crime. That's why a growing coalition of Massachusetts' leading employers, whose executives are usually focused on workforce development at the college and high school level, is working to make early childhood education available to all.
Washington Learns, a steering committee led by Gov. Chris Gregoire, says public schools fail to adequately prepare students to compete in an increasingly global economy. It recommends that the state provide seamless education from early childhood through graduate school by working closely with preschools and day-care providers, aligning curriculum between high schools and colleges and lengthening the school year and school day to provide more instruction time.
Illinois has had broad learning goals for all students since 1997 but until now hadn't specified what that meant for kindergarten students. Specific goals for clusters of other grades and preschoolers already have been established.
A wealth of research has documented that children who attend preschool perform better academically than those who do not. What's harder to pin down is whether expensive preschools give children a significant advantage over youngsters who've attended more affordable programs.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday signed legislation that provides $50 million to expand preschool opportunities for thousands of low-income children. The money will target preschools operated by school districts and nonprofit organizations in neighborhoods where students score in the lowest three deciles of the Academic Performance Index.
One alphabet letter at a time, Head Start is doing a better job of helping low-income children get ready for school—by placing a stronger emphasis on building the foundations of reading—psychologists and other researchers said at the Head Start Research Conference held in Washington, D.C., in June.
Whether we are 3 or 93, we all remember our first day of school, that milestone day that launched our lives as students. Many Minnesota children are unprepared to take this first step. They have not been exposed to the prerequisite skills, and they lack high quality early childhood experiences that lead to success in school.
Unlike some other states, such as Florida, Arizona does not have a preschool tax credit to pay for early education, nor does it have a uniform rating system for parents to gauge such programs.
Experiments conducted at Vanderbilt University, described in the May/June issue of Child Development, offer some hints about toddlers. They showed that 24-month-olds are more apt to use information relayed by video if they consider the person on the screen to be someone they can talk to. Without that, the children seemed unable to act on what they had seen and heard.
To best educate our children, we need to make that investment as early as possible - in a child's formative years, when tax dollars pay the highest dividends by getting children ready for school. Overwhelming research shows it's the best investment of education dollars we can make.
There has been little or no improvement in turnover in recent years, says Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, a New Brunswick, N.J., nonprofit.
Although there is still playtime and finger painting, kindergarten is not all fun and games. Ellen Frede, co-director of National Institute for Early Education Research, said there is much debate over how much and in what manner young students should be taught.
A retooled state-funded early childhood education system in Ohio should benefit all children, regardless of family wealth, a state panel recommended on Friday. The School Readiness Solutions Group, which wrapped up 14 months of work on a report containing 10 recommendations, also had considered a less costly system that would have reached just the neediest in an effort to have an impact on an obvious symptom of the cycle of poverty.
Advocates for early childhood education told a legislative task force on Thursday that eager-to-learn 3-year-old kids in the state are falling behind their counterparts elsewhere because Idaho doesn't give them a chance to attend publicly funded preschool. Both groups also touted a proposal to extend kindergarten to a full day, while making its completion mandatory.
Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, wants the state to spend up to $7 million to train a team of specialists to give parents, preschools and day-care centers the tools they need to make sure children are ready for kindergarten. The specialists would reach out to all families and help those who are disadvantaged due to income or limited English skills understand how to access available services, including Head Start preschool programs.
Come this fall, several new early-education programs will be in place throughout Vermont, thanks to a unique collaborative of philanthropists, education experts, and private foundations. Advocates say the problem isn't that the current system isn't unsustainable, but that it's unaffordable for many parents, and wages are too low to attract providers into the field.
Pennsylvania is getting better at readying its children for school, but still has too little high-quality child care available, according to a study released Thursday by a child advocacy group. The Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children report praised the state for having more children in pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten than it did last year, and also more enrolled in Head Start and high-quality child-care programs.
Looking at Florida's Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK) one year after its launch, one is left wondering how far off the mark the program really is. I say "wonder" because at present, there is no scientifically sound plan to measure its educational benefits to the children who attend.
As pre-kindergarten becomes ever more popular here and nationwide, public schools continue to see more and more 4-year-olds stepping bravely into the world of language centers, recess and art time. [Oklahoma] is one of the few states where pre-kindergarten is made available to all students regardless of income and where the budget is part of the common-education funding stream.
Despite representing a large and rapidly growing segment of the nation's population, Hispanic children are least likely to participate in preschool, studies show.