Early Education in the News
San Francisco children are doing better, on average, than those in other counties across the state, according to a new study released Monday, but family advocates say the numbers don't reveal the disparity between different income and racial subgroups. Not surprisingly, the data reveals that, according to the report's "critical indicators," children fare better in counties where families have a higher economic well-being.
A lot of worthy goals are competing for bucks in Harrisburg right now. In terms of long-term impact for the dollar, the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts is one of the best investments.
The news is heartening: A study of 2,300 children from the state's neediest school districts shows children who attended state-funded preschool programs in poor districts did substantially better than other kids in kindergarten.
Expansion of full-day kindergarten got all the attention during this year's General Assembly session, but legislators also, with no fanfare or public discussion, created a pre-kindergarten pilot program for children as young as 4 years old. There is no particular urgency – the legislators put no money in the state budget to fund the program. But its mere existence will keep the issue on the public agenda, and some advocates will be out looking for money through foundations and private grants to fund it.
The House approved a record school spending package Tuesday that boosts Oregon's early childhood education program and provides resources to stem the loss of new teachers. The package of bills providing $6.245 billion over the next two years now goes to the Senate, where the bills are expected to be passed.
In 2002, however, the National Institute for Early Education Research concluded that Head Start produces long-term educational benefits, but it could do better with more money and higher standards. West Virginia educators, child advocates and health policy experts are so taken with the lifelong payoff of good preschool, they've been working together to offer it to as many children as possible.
[Governor Butch] Otter's staff, [State School Superintendent Tom] Luna and education officials are expected to meet next week to discuss the cuts, and in the meantime, Otter's staff is talking informally with legislators, spokesman Jon Hanian said Monday. It shouldn't be that hard to find replacement dollars for Parents as Teachers and Head Start — the programs stand to lose about $2.3 million in federal money — and sort out any administrative quibbling over who should run the programs.
The Early Reading First Program has had a positive effect on children's print and letter knowledge, according to a report released by the Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. But the study also found the program has had no impact on phonological awareness, which includes rhyming, or oral language, which includes vocabulary development. The program has led to more professional development for teachers, according to the study.
Thousands of new 3- and 4-year-olds will join [Head Start student Brayden Freguson] across Oregon in the next two years, including many from the Mid-Valley, if the Legislature approves a Department of Education budget that expands Head Start.
The Legislature's joint budget committee voted 19-1 on Friday for an agency budget that adds the full $39 million Gov. Ted Kulongoski requested to enroll almost every eligible child in the prekindergarten program.
Legislation that was signed into law Friday firms up the protocol for setting up and running such programs around the state. Detractors were glad to see that the legislation encourages collaboration with private child-care providers and includes a cap on the number of slots that qualify for public funding, a move that brought on board Gov. Jim Douglas and others who had been reluctant.
Nationwide, almost two-thirds (64 percent) of children attend preschool center in the year prior to kindergarten, typically at age four. On any given day, more than 5 million American youngsters attend some prekindergarten program.
An overwhelming majority of Alabama kindergarten teachers say pre-kindergarten programs are extremely important and significantly improve the skills of students, according to results of a statewide survey released Thursday.
[U.S. Senator Bob] Casey, D-Pa., wants the federal government further in on the push for more preschool education. He has introduced a bill, S. 1374, the Prepare All Kids Act of 2007, to set aside $5 billion a year starting in the federal fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 to aid states that want to boost preschools.
About 4,800 Iowa 4-year-olds will be able to attend preschool next year at no charge to their parents under rules laid out Tuesday by the Iowa Board of Education. Gov. Chet Culver earlier this spring signed into law a $15 million voluntary plan that will expand preschool options next year. School districts can apply for state money to expand or create programs or work with local providers.
Five-year-olds can come to approximate solutions for addition and subtraction problems even before they formally learn arithmetic, a new study suggests. The researchers built on previous work to see if children could use basic concepts about "more" and "less" to solve math problems -- without the pressure of getting an exact amount.
A proposed rule requiring classroom teachers in the Arkansas Better Chance Program to hold bachelor's degrees will be rewritten because of concerns raised by state lawmakers, a state Education Department official said Wednesday. The rule, approved last month by the state Board of Education, was criticized Wednesday by members of the Administrative Rules and Regulations Committee of the Arkansas Legislative Council, which reviews the rules and regulations of all state agencies.
Some parents and child-care experts say the state's child-care rating system, the Star Quality Program, has led to improvements in care. The ratings, which award child-care programs with up to three stars for going beyond the state's minimum licensing standards, aren't perfect, but have established uniform standards, they say.
One worry was that if state-supported early education was expanded in Vermont it would drive private nursery schools out of business. So the bill stipulates that new programs begun by school districts operate in collaboration with private providers where possible.
Kindergarten used to be mostly about play: singing songs, "housekeeping" in a Little Tikes kitchen and being read to. That is changing largely because of full-day kindergarten, which has swept the nation's public schools in the past 20 years, stretching the instructional day from 2 1/2 hours to six. The new kindergarten is partly a societal concession to busy two-income families and partly a response to the growing sense that 5-year-olds are ready for formal study.
Research and my experience have shown me that helping kids get the right start in life is one key to preventing crime. Quality programs like Head Start and Early Head Start reduce later crime. These programs not only provide our nation's most vulnerable children with a social and educational foundation; they are also a crime prevention tools.