Early Education in the News

New York Times Motherlode blog
December 11, 2014

Invest in us. We’re too small to fail.

So say a growing number of businesses, foundations, organizations and state and local leaders of children in their first five years (from birth to age 5). Today, President Obama announced over $750 million in federal funding for early learning programs through the Preschool Development Grants and Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships as well as calling for the expansion of early childhood opportunities for children across the country through public and private commitments to investment in early childhood programs and research.

790 Talk Now
December 11, 2014

Texas was not a winner of the big prize that would have garnered up to $120 million over four years for universal preschool. HHS announced awards for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership and Early Head Start Expansion grants designated for expanding and improving preschool. The feds granted Texas programs approximately $30 million. The largest chunk of government dollars will go to San Antonio and Edinburg, each receiving $7.4 million. Early Head Start is the pre-preschool version of Head Start. Head Start's Program Standards or the National Institute for Early Education Research are cited as the program's benchmarks, Breitbart Texas reported. This kind of pre-K also comes with a mandate for voluntary home visits.

December 11, 2014

New Jersey should be required to provide more school aid and universal preschool for 16 mostly poor, rural districts, including four in Ocean County, attorneys representing the districts argued in court Thursday. The Education Law Center — which represented Lakewood, Lakehurst, Ocean Township (Waretown), and Little Egg Harbor schools in addition to the other “Bacon” districts — said the districts are unable to provide an adequate education to their students due to cuts in state funding.

Bloomberg Businessweek
December 11, 2014

Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Illinois has won an $80 million federal investment in early childhood education. Illinois will receive $20 million annually for four years through the Preschool Development Grants competition, which is part of President Obama's call in 2013 to expand access to high-quality preschool to every child in America. Thirty-six states competed for a total of $250 million annually over four years to provide children from low-income households with access to early childhood education. The announcement is part of Governor Quinn's Birth to Five Initiative, which expands access to early learning opportunities.

"Providing high-quality early childhood education is a game changer for our economy," Governor Quinn said. "While Illinois currently leads the nation in the number of three-year-olds in preschool, we have much more work to do. This major investment in Illinois' littlest will have a big impact in many of our communities. Every child, no matter where they live, deserves the opportunity to succeed in life."

The Atlantic
December 11, 2014

Reading aloud introduces more and different words into the vocabulary of both parent and child at a time when the child's brain is growing at its fastest. Researchers have found that 86 percent to 98 percent of a child's vocabulary by age 3 consists of words used by his or her parents. It's no wonder, then, that young kids of professional parents know twice as many words as the kids of low-income parents. By age 4, the average child in a poor family might have experienced 13 million fewer words than the average child in a working-class family. Between the highest and lowest ends of the economic spectrum, there could be a 30-million-word gap in children before they reach kindergarten, according to psychologists Betty Hart and Todd Risely, who published their findings in 2003.  She and millions of other parents share the same dilemma: How do we give our kids the best start possible when most of their early exposure to the world comes from us? It's a lot of pressure on parents, whether they dream of a future Rhodes Scholar or struggle just to keep their children fed and clothed.

Great Falls Tribune
December 10, 2014

Montana was awarded a $10 million federal grant Wednesday to help develop preschool programs for 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.

The money will help preschools in 16 communities, Gov. Steve Bullock and Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said.

PBS NewsHour
December 10, 2014

Declaring early childhood education “one of the best investments we can make,” President Barack Obama on Wednesday followed up on a promise to expand early education opportunities for tens of thousands of children by announcing $1 billion in public-private spending on programs for young learners.

Obama said that less than one-third of 4-year-olds are enrolled in preschool and blamed the high cost of these programs for essentially shutting off access to poorer infants, toddlers and preschoolers. He said studies repeatedly show that children who are educated early in life are more likely to finish their educations, avoid the criminal justice system, hold good jobs and have stable families. All those factors are good for the U.S. and its economy overall, Obama said.

December 10, 2014

Why were Rhode Island officials so excited when the White House announced Wednesday that the state had won a $2.3-million federal grant for its preschool program?

Because the influx of funds will help expand one of the most successful state-funded pre-K programs in the country from 17 sites to 60 sites over the next five years, tripling the number of classroom seats offered to four-year-olds across the state.

December 10, 2014

Seven local school districts will be able to expand and enhance their public preschool programs next year as part of a $17.5 million federal grant awarded to the state Department of Education Wednesday.

Nineteen high-need school districts statewide will benefit from the grants designed to add 1,248 new preschool slots for 4-year-olds and improve existing programs for another 1,000 students.

Washington Post
December 10, 2014

The Obama administration today announced a public-private partnership designed to pump $1 billion into public preschool programs around the country.

At a White House summit on preschool education Wednesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced his agency is awarding $250 million to 18 states to either create or expand existing preschool programs. The states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. In all, 36 states had applied for the grant money.

And the Department of Health and Human Services said it was giving $500 million to more than 40 states to expand Early Head Start and child care programs for youngsters from birth to 3 years old.

About 63,000 children would benefit from those grants, the administration said.

Wall Street Journal
December 10, 2014

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says New York will receive a nearly $25 million federal grant for preschool programs in the state.

The New York Democrat says the Department of Education funding supports building or improving infrastructure and expanding preschool programs in targeted communities.

They're intended as models for expanding preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.

Washington Post
December 10, 2014

Virginia has been awarded a $17.5 million federal grant to expand preschool programs.

Virginia is among 13 states receiving funding from the Preschool Development Grants program to expand preschool. Five other states received grants for preschool development.

December 10, 2014

Vermont's road to universal preschool got smoother with fresh federal assistance announced Wednesday. Over the next four years, the $33 million grant will help public schools partner with private childcare centers and Head Start programs to raise standards and train teachers.  Vermont has been on a roll when it comes to federal support for preschool. First there was a $37 million “Race To The Top” grant, which establishes a framework for a state-wide preschool program. Now comes a grant almost that big to help districts fill that framework, hiring and training teachers and expanding pre-K hours.

December 10, 2014

 President Barack Obama is following up on his promise to expand early education opportunities for tens of thousands of children by announcing a $1 billion public-private investment in programs for the nation's youngest learners.

The president will join a daylong summit convening at the White House on Wednesday to announce the investment in early learning programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — especially those in lower-income communities. Nationwide, 28 percent of America's 4-year-olds were enrolled in a state-funded preschool program last year.

U.S. Department of Education
December 10, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced today that 18 states have been awarded grants, totaling more than $226 million, under the Preschool Development Grantsprogram.

From the 36 applications the departments received, five states will be awarded development grants: Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana and Nevada. Thirteen will receive expansion grants: Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

U.S. News & World Report
December 10, 2014

The children are the future - and the Obama administration agrees. The White House is announcing on Wednesday $1 billion in funding in government, public and private support for early childhood education programs, including $750 million in federal investments for preschool development grants and an expansion of the Early Head Start program.

The announcements - which come as part of the White House's summit on early learning taking place in Washington on Wednesday - will also include the launch of a public awareness campaign dubbed "Invest in Us" and spearheaded by the First Five Years Fund. 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
December 9, 2014

Pittsburgh City Council's "Women's Caucus," the four female members, has carved $250,000 out of the 2015 budget to create a fund for improving child care facilities in Pittsburgh.

The fund, to be housed in the city's Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment, will be used to start a low-interest loan or grant program to "help child-care providers install certain safety features and amenities required for facilities to be considered high quality by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,“ according to a news release.

News4Jax (Florida)
December 9, 2014

Florida children's advocates are hoping that momentum for investment in early education at the national level will spark interest in changes to preschool funding and policy at the state level as well.

The week after Republicans swept the November elections, Democrat Jim Messina, who managed President Obama's 2012 re-election bid, and Republican Kevin Madden, a senior advisor to rival candidate Mitt Romney, sent a memo urging members of both parties to "seize the opportunity to own the early childhood education issue."

"It's also an issue that has an impact tied to economic performance," Madden told The News Service of Florida last month. "If we're going to create a more competitive workforce for the future, then that begins with an investment in early childhood education."

December 9, 2014

Little children are big news this week, as the White House holds a summit on early childhood education on Wednesday. The president wants every 4-year-old to go to preschool, but the new Congress is unlikely to foot that bill. Since last year, more than 30 states have expanded access to preschool. But there's still a lack of evidence about exactly what kinds of interventions are most effective in those crucial early years. In New York City, an ambitious, $25 million study is collecting evidence on the best way to raise outcomes for kids in poverty. Their hunch is that it may begin with math.

December 8, 2014

Vermont’s Agency of Education has surprised many school districts by delaying the start of a new law mandating universal pre-school. The programs were supposed to be ready by next fall, but the agency says it needs more time to hammer out details and schools need more time to budget. Many districts want to forge ahead anyway. And yet, when she heard about the deadline extension, she felt not relief, but “horror.”  Powers says she felt as though “everything that we had worked for the past year was crumbling underneath our feet, because I was so proud of the fact that we have these 46 extra kids in preschool and now their fate was in jeopardy.”