Early Education in the News
Charles Bruner, director of the Child and Family Policy Center in Ames, Iowa, testified this morning in the ongoing school-aid trial. Bruner said some children from low-income families start kindergarten a year or more behind their peers.
The state's two-year effort to create universal access to preschool has so far provided more than 100 programs with new classroom materials, computers, or teacher bonuses but has done little to expand access, according to a report being released today.
Children from every ZIP code in San Francisco are now eligible for a city program that provides free preschool to 4-year-olds, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday. Education officials say the Preschool for All program, which offers free part-day preschool to 4-year-olds, will have 4,800 slots for the city's 6,000 4-year-olds within the next few years.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics introduced standards for pre-K math in 2000. The standards emphasized these concepts as important for children to begin to understand: numbers; shapes and sizes; and measurement.
Even if the court sides with rural schools and orders a greater investment in education, there's no guarantee that student achievement will soar. That's because the answer isn't simply more money, it's more money well spent. It's money spent on preschool for at-risk 3-year-olds, something the state hasn't even considered in any real way.
Almost half of the United States has proposed increases in funding for their pre-kindergarten programs, according to one study recently released. Conducted by Pre-K Now, a collaboration of state advocates and policymakers, the study found $261 million in increases would go towards providing resources for pre-kindergarten programs in 21 states, bringing the total state funding for pre-k to $52.5 billion - a 5 percent increase from 2007.
By investing in high-quality early childhood education, the states with solid programs are positioning their children to realize short- and long-term gains. Mississippi is moving in the right direction through the systematic implementation of its early childhood program targeted towards low-income children - the Mississippi Child Care Quality Step System.
Five Shelbyville High School students are spending part of their semesters working with young children in the preschool class, which was moved to the high school this year so that an elementary school could have more room for full-day kindergarten. Preschool teacher Susan Smith said she assigns the high school students small tasks, such as helping children with flash cards or activity books.
More than a decade has passed since New York promised a pre-school education for every 4-year-old whose parents wanted it. But as this school year begins, it is a long way from that goal.
The advantages of solid universal preschool education in society are unquestionable, but its implementation still faces major hurdles. A poll of public preschools revealed that over 75% have a waiting list and have been forced to turn away low-income children.
"It's a very emotional decision, and very common for (parents) to be at odds," said Shauna Adams, University of Dayton's Early Childhood Program chairwoman. "(Good programs) are play-based, are age appropriate and are not about making four the new six."
While she hasn't read the recent report on Tennessee early childhood education, [Pre-k Director] Dr. Benford said, she has examined other studies that show the importance of pre-k. Even if what the current study says is true, pre-k offers benefits beyond academic achievement, she said.
[Guilford County Schools Chief Accountability and Research Officer Gongshu Zhang] said that, in 2007-2008, students who had attended pre-K performed significantly better on tests afterward. Zhang said that Hispanic students saw the largest statistical benefit from pre-K, and that there was no statistical difference in improvement rates between black and white students.
High-quality preschool programs can help children from low-income communities be more successful in elementary school, initial results from a study show. Researchers found that students in the Dallas school district who had received services from certain early childhood education programs outperformed their classmates from similar backgrounds, officials said.
In the non-profit organization's new partnership with Imagination Library, a book is mailed directly to the child's home every month until they turn five. Every child under 5 years old in a household can sign up individually to start receiving their own free, age-appropriate books.
Massachusetts is taking steps to join a national trend by launching a system to rate programs that provide early childhood care and education. The goal of implementing the system is to increase the quality and transparency of early childhood care provided by "pre-K programs, early education programs in public schools, day care centers — anywhere where you'd find young children," said Valora Washington, president of the Community Advocates for Young Learners (CAYL) Institute, a Cambridge-based organization.
Your child knows his ABCs, numbers, colors and shapes, so he's all ready for kindergarten, right? Not so fast. While teachers are always glad to see kids walk in the door with basic academic skills, it's more important for them to have certain developmental skills.
I urge lawmakers, private- sector leaders and the community to significantly increase Delaware's investment in early childhood education, targeting additional dollars toward Delaware Stars For Early Success and participating institutions. Study after study has proved investing in early care and education provides a higher rate of return than virtually any other public expenditure.
Maine needs to make greater investments in early education so we can prevent crime and violence before it happens and save taxpayer dollars. We should commit to quality early childhood education so more kids end up in graduation gowns, not orange jumpsuits.
A new report, entitled "Breaking the Cycle: School or the Streets," includes research showing that high quality pre-kindergarten is the most effective deterrent against high school dropouts. A study of Chicago's Child-Parent Centers, a high-quality early education program, showed that kids left out of the program were 70 percent more likely to have been arrested for a violent crime by age 18 than those who participated in the program.