Early Education in the News
What preschoolers aren't suited for, in [a Head Start program director Loudell] Robb's opinion, is a 20-minute standardized test that requires them to sit and focus on a series of questions about letters, numbers and vocabulary intended to assess their school readiness. It's a test called the National Reporting System that's required of all Head Start pupils ages 4 and 5 every spring and fall, a controversial program that Congress is considering doing away with.
More than half of incoming kindergartners in Cincinnati Public Schools are behind in literacy readiness, but those who attended a district preschool are better prepared to succeed, according to findings of the third annual Ohio Department of Education's Kindergarten Readiness Assessment - Literacy. While the results show a connection between attending preschool and kindergarten readiness, there are only so many preschool slots available in Cincinnati schools because the state does not provide per-pupil money for that program.
Significant achievement gaps exist between white and Hispanic students, but effective prekindergarten programs can help reduce those gaps, the head of a national task force said Monday. Speaking at a news conference at the state Capitol, Eugene Garcia of Arizona State University said the fact that Hispanic students lag behind their white classmates is a great concern because Hispanics constitute one-fifth of the nation's children ages 8 and under.
Instead of following recommendations from the state's own task force to set up a pre-K that met national standards for excellence, lawmakers delivered a bare-bones plan full of loopholes.
The state has money to help needy parents defray the costs of preschool. Now it just needs more parents to apply.
But it's a lot harder to set up high-quality [preschool education] programs. And it will be a multifaceted challenge for Massachusetts, which is trying to build high-quality programs in many settings, including schools, day - care centers, and home-based child - care settings.
Pennsylvania is making substantial investments in preschool education and it is about time. Research has clearly shown that a high-quality preschool education improves later school success, employment and earnings.
In a state that has the fastest growing child population in the country, the 10th largest economy in the world, and a "baby boom" generation about to retire from the workforce, we must ensure Texas remains competitive in the future. We can get there by investing in high quality early education settings such as child care, Head Start and public pre-kindergarten.
It's been 15 months since a circuit judge ruled that South Carolina fails to provide its youngest residents with sufficient early childhood education programs. In issuing his decision in the long-simmering school equity lawsuit, which pitted eight rural districts against the state, Judge Thomas W. Cooper found that adequate funding was available for facilities, curriculum and teachers. But the state fell short of its obligation when it came to early childhood intervention and pre-school programs, the judge wrote.
The budget allocates nearly $438 million toward universal pre-kindergarten programs for all 4-year-olds - an increase of more than $145.9 million. In districts that already offer pre-K, some educators say they are pleasantly surprised and want to use the money to enroll as many children as possible come September. Others worry that if they expand, they'll be left paying for expensive programs themselves if the aid dries up.
Boston's public preschool and kindergarten programs are hobbled by mediocre instruction, unsanitary classrooms, and dangerous schoolyards, according to a first-ever study of the programs. The quality of instruction and facilities in 70 percent of the classrooms, the Wellesley Centers for Women study said, is inadequate to achieve the school system's primary goal: To get the children, most of whom are black and Hispanic and from low-income families, up to speed by first grade so they are as prepared as their white and Asian peers.
Statewide survey results confirm what early education advocates have been saying for years: Hawai'i's youngest need to be better prepared to enter kindergarten. A survey of 628 kindergarten teachers showed that only 8 percent of them felt that most of their students started kindergarten with all the skills necessary for success.
The Iowa Legislature is currently considering a bill that would create a voluntary statewide preschool program that would be available to all 4-year-olds. The proposed legislation would only require programs to offer 10 hours of class time each week.
Up until now, we have had a patchwork system of early education. We now have two examples of attempts to provide opportunities to children - the collaboration with Newport Independent Schools and Ohio's plan to increase access to early education and care.
A Rutgers University study of pre-kindergarten programs for 3- and 4-year-old children ranked West Virginia sixth in the nation in terms of accessibility and quality of such programs. It noted that our state is one of just six that, by law, make pre-kindergarten programs available to all 4-year-olds.
The bill, which passed 99-45, would allow for the expansion of publicly funded pre-kindergarten programs but caps that expansion. The legislation also sets up a protocol for how those programs are formed, operated and funded, including requiring that districts consider existing private providers.
Parents on a guilt trip after reading last week's widely reported news that nonmaternal child care and education cause aggressive behavior in children as late as sixth grade should relax a little. That's because reaching such a sweeping conclusion from one limited study needlessly exacerbates the worries of working moms and dads who have few good alternatives for affordable child care outside the home.
The research seems clear: Children who attended high-quality preschool programs do better in school, are less likely to break the law and are more likely to have high-paying jobs as adults. [Yet a] 2003 University of Delaware study of early childhood programs in the state called the quality of curriculum planning and implementation "weak," particularly in the areas of math, science and -- for some -- language and literacy.
If Florida were to require pre-k teachers to have four-year degrees, it would not be alone. Already, 22 of the 37 other states that have pre-k programs have that mandate, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research.
Under the governor's bold proposal, millions more will be invested in early childhood programs and additional preschool slots, so more youngsters will have access to Connecticut's innovative programs. With a quality preschool education, students will be more likely to graduate from high school, find a secure, well-paying job and become less likely to commit a crime when they become adults.