Early Education in the News
Louisiana 4-year-olds are making great strides toward readiness for kindergarten and in turn increasing scores on high stakes testing in elementary school. Year end reports for 2005-06 indicate that although at-risk students in the LA-4/Starting Points pre-kindergarten program started the school year scoring in the lowest quarter for performance in math, language and print, these students showed strong progress by the end of the school year, raising scores to above the national average for pre-kindergarten students.
Gov.-elect Chet Culver has pledged to spend $4 million toward a goal of having an accredited preschool program in every district. About 60 percent of Iowa's school districts now have such programs.
An upgrade in the education system is one solution to the labor quality problems facing Texas, and high quality pre-K programs such as child care, Head Start and public pre-kindergarten are some of the most cost-effective educational investments we can make as a state.
Being behind as a child, it seems, isn't just a temporary misfortune. For some kids, it can be a life sentence. This is why the Oregon Legislature should boost the state's investment in high-quality preschool for low-income children -- if legislators can find a way to make that investment sustainable. It's a natural complement to improving funding for Oregon's K-12 schools and colleges.
The Iowa Department of Education along with the other state departments of education has had to develop a six year State Performance Plan for the Federal Office of Special Education Programs. One of the indicators is the percent of preschool children with IEPs who received special education and related services (i.e. speech/language services) in settings with typically developing peers (e.g. early childhood settings and part-time early childhood/part-time early childhood special education).
Child care costs in Arizona have jumped 35 percent in six years, outpacing the amount of child care money the state gives needy families, a new survey shows. The Department of Economic Security, which conducted the latest child-care market survey, said it will press the state Legislature to give the department more money for child care subsidies.
What if the solution to American students' stagnant performance levels and the wide achievement gap between white and minority students wasn't more money, smaller schools, or any of the reforms proposed in recent years, but rather a new education system altogether?
Virginia school districts next year will begin collecting details about each kindergarten student's preschool experience as part of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's effort to offer publicly funded preschool to all 4-year-olds.
High-quality pre-kindergarten programs can close the gap for at-risk kids, says a University of Virginia researcher. He said his research, however, found few state programs of the caliber necessary to do the job. Robert Pianta, Curry School of Education professor and director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, observed thousands of pre-kindergarten and elementary school students in multiple states.
However, a new report from a special task force appointed by outgoing Assembly Speaker, Republican Representative John Gard, says [more preschool assessments are needed]. The task force plan calls for defined goals on English language skills, assessment test scores, and a reduction of future special education needs.
It takes time, patience, perseverance and a degree of strategic sophistication to make major changes in policy, but it can be done. After nearly a decade, the law creating Massachusetts' Board of Early Education and Care was passed, making Massachusetts the first state in the nation to enact such a law.
As school accountability requirements grow, educators are constantly seeking means to improve student performance. One effort focuses on the youngest scholars -- pre-kindergarten students. Kindergarten readiness has become increasingly important because kindergarten students are expected to develop significant pre-reading and math skills during the school year.
Every working parent in Ohio who drops a child off at a day-care facility in the morning with even slight reservations will now be getting help in evaluating their child's care. Expanding a state pilot program that rates the quality of licensed day-care providers to all 88 counties in Ohio is a welcome development, for parents and providers alike.
For example, starting a voluntary statewide early education program in Alaska will likely be expensive. But failing to join the roughly 40 other states that have started down the road to early learning will cost us more in the long run.
The Alabama Office of School Readiness, which funds programs for four-year-olds across the state, recently released results of an evaluation revealing the benefits of Pre-K programs. According to the results, children made substantial gains in vocabulary and language skills over the course of the program; made significant gains in letter recognition, rhyming words, alliteration; and classroom quality was consistently high across all state-funded Pre-K sites, as well as parent satisfaction with the programs and teachers.
A board focused on improving learning in the preschool years held its first meeting Thursday, visiting with Gov. Matt Blunt about the challenges facing early childhood education. Blunt said he wants the board to focus on coming up with a more comprehensive and standard approach for managing various funding sources for early childhood efforts, looking at what other states have done.
A new report recommends spending more than $102 million by mid-2009 to bolster early childhood education by adding thousands of new preschool seats statewide. The report, which also recommends more advanced training for preschool teachers, comes from a group that Gov. M. Jodi Rell created last February to improve and expand early childhood education in the state.
More than a year after Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) was elected on promises to make state-funded preschool available to all the state's 4-year-olds, a committee has recommended starting with a pilot program next year for 1,000 children. The Start Strong Council, a group of educators, business leaders and lawmakers convened by Kaine to help launch his ambitious proposal, issued a report yesterday saying that the state also should develop standards for class size and curriculum and work with area colleges to create teacher-training programs.
The plan unveiled by the governor Tuesday to expand full-day kindergarten includes money for more teachers, but educators and lawmakers worry because it includes nothing to build the hundreds of needed classrooms. That leaves school administrators warning that broadening full-day kindergarten could break their budgets.
Decades of early childhood research helped establish kindergarten classrooms that emphasized social activities, stretching children's imaginations, and a joyful transition to school — in essence, learning through play. Ellen Frede, co-director of the New Jersey-based National Institute for Early Education Research, said children learn about spatial relations, taking turns, and even counting from steps on the ladder, on the playground.