Early Education in the News
Across the country, day care and early childhood education programs are phasing in stricter employee education requirements as part of state and federal initiatives to improve teaching quality. In 2007, Congress approved a bill that sets a 2015 deadline for all teachers of Head Start, which serves more than 900,000 low-income children, to have at least an associate degree, and for half to have bachelor's degrees.
Kindergarten teachers across Michigan were largely united in their concerns that too many students are showing up unprepared for school, according to the results of a survey released today by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. Teachers ranked "not participating in a preschool program at age 4" as a main factor contributing to students starting school academically behind.
Last week's stopgap budget may mean 77,000 state workers are again getting paid, but child care center directors across the region say the budget impasse has left them scrambling to stay open without the state subsidies they are due.
The Rand Corp.'s California Preschool Study finds the achievement gap is evident as early as kindergarten entry, with many students coming to school without the basic social and early literacy skills they need to succeed. The persistence of these educational achievement gaps "imposes on the United States the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession," according to a new McKinsey & Co. study on the economic impact of the achievement gap in America's schools.
But the report also exposes the urgency of early-education needs in South Carolina, which ranks 39th overall in preparing children for school. [W]e should continue and expand pre-kindergarten programs funded through First Steps and public schools, so that every child has the chance to begin school prepared to learn.
A new education report shows how early childhood experiences, such as pre-kindergarten education, better prepare Charlottesville and Albemarle County students for kindergarten and result in tangible achievement differences.
Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology, recently received a five-year, $716,227 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study "The role of language in children's acquisition of number concepts." ... She also will be studying deaf and hard-of-hearing children of the same ages who are learning English to try to determine how language delays affect children's learning of number concepts.
One of the most promising proposals moving through Congress is the creation of an Early Education Challenge Fund. The main purpose of the Challenge Fund is to provide grants to states to help them build comprehensive, high-quality early learning systems for children from birth to age 5.
A $15 million grant to create three groundbreaking early childhood education centers in Tulsa has been approved, Gov. Brad Henry announced Wednesday. The grant will come from $100 million in federal stimulus money designated for an education fund to be allocated at the governor's discretion.
Educators, child-care providers and parents gathered in Bismarck Tuesday to talk about early childhood education. The first pre-kindergarten summit was at the Heritage Center.
Quality and quantity of parents' conversations with their children play a role in how much children learn in their early years, according to findings in a 1995 study by two university professors, which is routinely cited by education experts stressing the need for quality early-learning. Early-learning experts stress the importance of picking quality child-care providers to help increase the achievement of all children.
Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to restore most of the state money that was sliced from early childhood education programs is good news, education advocates say. But they warn that it's just a fleeting -- and partial -- solution to a big problem.
[Gov. Jim] Doyle said he would propose changes that would:
• Better track student performance, from prekindergarten to college. "With that data you can make really sound decisions about what works and what doesn't work — not based just on what one test shows but on the performance of students that have had certain kinds of schooling over time," he said.
Miami-Dade will use some of its $89.2 million for disabled students and $96.5 million for high-poverty schools to save about 200 more jobs, including speech teachers and physical education teachers for disabled children. Some of Broward's share, including $62.5 million for special education and $48.4 million for high-poverty schools, has already created 54 two-year posts for academic coaches -- reading, math or science specialists who coach teachers -- with more to come.
A trio of national early childhood experts and advocates in Oklahoma made a clear case last week for continued investment in early childhood education. Public and private investors get the biggest return when they help children from birth to 3 years old get on an early learning track, they said at the Oklahoma Economic Summit on Early Childhood Investment.
Mississippi Building Blocks, a pilot early childhood education initiative, could receive about $500,000 in federal funds. The money would be applied to all aspects of the program, including scholarships for child-care instructors to attain certification and business consulting for the child-care centers.
This is a big part of the motivation behind the state's ramped-up pre-kindergarten program, initiatives to raise high school graduation rates, and a greater emphasis on math and science instruction. Pre-K now won't yield immediate job-market results, but it is clear, through comparison with other states, that it is a critical building block for a sophisticated adult work force.
It is noteworthy that Alabama has not yielded to the temptation of balancing the budget by turning its back on young children and the state's future. Quite the opposite: the state recently announced that 27 more classrooms have been selected to become First Class Pre-K sites and are receiving at least $45,000 each to deliver high-quality pre-K.
The state's new pre-kindergarten pilot program for low-income children will roll out this fall in four communities -- Central Falls, Providence, Warwick and Woonsocket, education officials announced Wednesday.
The interactive Born Learning Trail's 10 signs wind through the park and list about three ideas, each designed for parents to engage their pre-kindergarten children in a variety of activities to develop such skills as language and reading, problem solving, imagination and motor skills.