Early Education in the News
Pay now, or pay later. That's the cold reality, too often lost in the emotional furor over funding early education, such as pre-kindergarten.
Yesterday, Education Commissioner Lucille E. Davy said the data supporting the Education Law Center's claims were actually estimates of the amount of students expected to attend preschool in Abbot districts, and did not indicate that students would be dropped from the landmark program borne from Abbot vs. Burke.
Every dollar invested to make preschool classes available to more Kentucky children would produce more than $5 in benefits for the state, according to a cost-analysis released Friday by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. The study claims that, in addition to financial returns, expanding "pre-K" programs would reduce the need for special education courses and help to lower crime and child abuse and neglect rates, while boosting high school graduation and post-secondary education enrollment rates for low-income students.
Some potential preschool students in four area school districts -- and about 7,000 children across the state -- are now ineligible for a preschool program focused on educating students in low-income neighborhoods.
Starting the first of the year, 1,600 low- to moderate-income families may have to dig into their own pockets for more of their child care tab. In a move designed to cover more families with subsidized child care, the state Department of Human Services has revamped its payment plan for the 7,792 families receiving child care subsidies for 14,577 children.
Research shows that children raised in violent homes are more likely to be violent themselves, perpetuating a pattern of aggression that has gripped Chicago in recent months. But a growing body of science suggests there are critical stages when interventions can interrupt the cycle. And new findings in brain development, human behavior and economics suggest that early childhood is the most critical and cost-effective time.
In 2009 the state of New Jersey adopted what it terms Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards in all subject areas.
The state has four goals with these standards: defining good learning environments for children, giving guidance on ways to assess children, showing optimal relationships among preschool educators, members of the community and families, and giving the state expectations about what preschool children should be learning.
The goal is to promote children's social and emotional competence. Using the social-emotional curriculum in early childhood settings statewide will help reach that goal, and PTELC and Norwood Preschool staff will help other educators and community members see how it works.
Black children's academic skills lag behind their peers before they enter kindergarten, a new report sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education finds. Lastly, children who participated in regular early care and education arrangements the year prior to kindergarten scored higher on fine motor skill than children who had no regular early care and education.
Do videos and interactive games help kids better prepare for kindergarten? According to a new study, low-income children in preschool classrooms improved their literacy skills when their teachers incorporated videos and online technology into the curriculum.
Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is telling Kentucky's public school superintendents to brace themselves for $20 million in cuts this year to programs such as preschool for at-risk and disabled children, reading help and dropout prevention.
It includes a broad range of suggestions, including some that are free or low-cost and others that would be phased in over the next decade. The plan covers all aspects of preschool life, from health and nutrition to literacy and special needs.
In 2008, a group of community leaders participating in the Jacksonville Journey anti-crime initiative identified early intervention at child-care centers as one long-term answer to reducing crime. The city came up with $1.5 million for the Early Learning Coalition to work with 25 child-care centers — about 800 children — in a high-crime area of Northwest Jacksonville.
In Delaware, state-supported pre-kindergarten is offered to families at or below the federal poverty level, which is $22,050 a year for a family of four. The fiscal crisis has tabled any discussion of expanding the program, said Jim Lesko, early childhood education associate for the Delaware Department of Education. But across the border, Delaware can monitor what is going on in Maryland. If the results are overwhelming there, it could look into its own initiative.
Thousands of children in Massachusetts risk losing subsidized child care services because of a $4.4 million budget cut that Governor Deval Patrick has made, according to the head of a Boston-based antipoverty group that helps arrange the services. John J. Drew, president and chief executive of Action for Boston Community Development Inc., said a cut announced last month by the governor imperils services to 57,000 low-income children statewide, including 12,000 served by his agency.
Preschool children in home-based child care watched an average of 2.4 hours of television a day. Preschoolers at centers watch an average of 24 minutes of TV a day, according to the study.
But what's the point of improving K-12 if you leave early childhood education unaddressed? Idaho is outside the mainstream in its refusal to spend money on pre-kindergarten programs.
Mississippi’s education community, in addition to analyzing the first results of more rigorous statewide testing, is waiting for information from an early childhood initiative, Mississippi Building Blocks, which started in August. The mostly privately funded initiative, $2 million per year, involves dozens of private, licensed child care providers across the state, with funds supporting on-site mentors, classroom materials, business consulting for owners and managers, and parent consulting.
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved preliminary budgets for the state Department of Education last month. The department budget includes $3 million to start a pilot program that would serve 3-year-olds. It also includes $14.7 million more for the Cecil J. Picard LA4 preschool program.
Locally and across the nation, time for play has been increasingly squeezed out of kindergarten and first grade as schools, bent on raising student achievement, especially among poor and minority students, have focused on literacy and math skills for children at ever-younger ages. That proficiency is measured on tests, but the far-reaching effects of play don't show up in answers to multiple-choice questions.