Early Education in the News

Billings Gazette
September 16, 2014

Gov. Steve Bullock’s plan to expand access to preschool will cost an estimated $37 million over the next two years, officials said Tuesday. The cost estimate is among the new details released about the proposal, which is expected to be one of the governor’s major policy initiatives for the 2015 Legislature. The proposal, to be included in Bullock’s November budget, will establish a grant pipeline for school districts interested in creating or expanding a local pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds, said education policy adviser Shannon O’Brien.

The Huffington Post [Op-Ed]
September 16, 2014

As with any transformative creation, both our railroad system and Head Start have faced challenges and opportunities and responded with innovation. The railroads have seen the addition of new modes of transportation -- automobiles and trucks led to the development of the nation's highway system, and airports were built to accommodate air traffic. . .

Tremendous innovation has occurred during the 49 years since Head Start burst on the scene, designed to open wide the opportunity for low-income and at-risk children, the opportunity to change their life trajectory and to let them reach for the American Dream. Head Start's unique design was based on research that asserted in order to be able and ready to learn, children must be healthy and nourished, able to see, hear, chew their food, and respect each other. 

The designers of Head Start also advanced a then radical idea - now confirmed byUniversity of Chicago research - that high parent involvement was an important element of future success.

The Gilmer Mirror
September 16, 2014

In a shift for a state that has shunned other federal education initiatives like Common Core and Race to the Top, Texas will participate in a signature Obama administration program focused on early childhood education. “One way to begin closing the achievement gap in Texas is to better prepare children who are entering our public schools,” Williams, a Republican appointee of Gov.Rick Perry,said in a statementwhen the Texas Education Agency announced last week that it would apply for its share of $160 million in total federal funds earmarked to help states expand preschool programs.

“With many high-quality pre-K programs already established in our communities, this federal grant opportunity allows an avenue to enhance and build upon that success,” Williams added. 

New York Times
September 16, 2014

The poverty rate declined last year for the first time since 2006, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday. But at the same time, it said, there was no statistically significant change in the number of poor people or in income for the typical American household.

The report showed significant improvements for children. The poverty rate for children under 18 declined last year for the first time since 2000, the bureau said, and the number of children in poverty fell by 1.4 million, to 14.7 million.

Over all, the bureau said, 14.5 percent of Americans were living in poverty last year, down from 15 percent in 2012.

Las Vegas Sun
September 15, 2014

The application process is underway for parents to receive part of a $1 million grant to send their children to preschool programs in Las Vegas.

For the fourth consecutive year, Windsong Trust, a private foundation for children’s education, awarded the grant to United Way of Southern Nevada. It will provide 250 scholarships for preschoolers and cover training and professional development fees for 135 teachers.

September 15, 2014

A new survey of early childhood education teachers shows that mindfulness is linked with alleviating lasting physical and emotional effects of childhood adversity.

The findings are especially important because adults who were abused or neglected as children typically experience poorer health, according to Robert Whitaker, professor of public health and pediatrics at Temple University.

“Previous research has shown that childhood traumas worsen adult health through changes in how the body responds to stress,” says Whitaker, who led the new study in Preventative Medicine. He adds that some people might adopt poor health behaviors, like smoking, to cope with stress.

Times Ledger
September 15, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio came to Queens last week on a whirlwind tour of the five boroughs to usher in his pre-K program for 51,500 children. He and his entourage visited the Home Sweet Home pre-K center in Fresh Meadows, which has been in need of programs for its growing population of 4-year-olds. It’s far too early to see what kind of impact the pre-K classes will have on school testing, graduation rates and applications to the city’s select high schools, where black and Hispanic students are underrepresented. But based on early childhood education research, the greater availability of pre-K for most of the city’s kids should provide vital preparation for the many years of school that follow and introduce the youngest New Yorkers to the wonders of learning.

Education Week
September 15, 2014

A majority of states—thirty-two in all—are interested in the U.S. Department of Education's new Preschool Development Grant program, which is aimed at helping states beef up and expand their early childhood offerings. States had until late last week to submit an "intent to apply" with the department.

Politico Pro
September 15, 2014

Under the bill, called the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, low-income families receive assistance from the program mostly in the form of the vouchers, which they can use at a child care facility of their choice, including religious institutions.

The early childhood world has changed in big ways since the child care law was last reauthorized in 1996: State-funded pre-K programs for low-income families have risen to popularity, and a new body of research suggests that early education — including child care — is crucial to brain development.

The bill focuses on common sense updates, not ambitious early-education investments that have been floated by Democrats. It would make modest-but-overdue changes: Adding mandatory background checks for child care center staff, better health and safety requirements and more information for parents about their child care options, for example.

September 14, 2014

Kindergarten is the foundation for learning the new standards that will follow students for the rest of their education. The push is part of an effort to strengthen the U.S. education system in the face of growing global competition and to make sure students are prepared for careers when they graduate. But critics argue the tougher academics are rigid, pushing children too far, and when they are not developmentally appropriate. . . 

"I don't think it's a necessarily a bad turn we've taken," Shannon Ayers, an assistant research professor at National Institute for Early Education Research. "What we're finding, folks are kind of clinging to this false dichotomy," Ayers said "... You can be academic rigorously but also be developmentally appropriate." Both Ayers and McLaughlin emphasize the importance of play -- organic learning.

IndyStar [Op-Ed]
September 12, 2014

If the great majority of our children are well equipped to thrive in the 21st century economy, then it’s likely our state and nation will thrive as well. The reverse also is true: If they struggle, we’ll all struggle. Invest in our children for the sake of economic gain? That may sound crass to some, but it’s an important answer as to why this city (and eventually the state) needs to ensure that every child has access to high-quality preschool programs. Based on decades of research, the return on that investment almost certainly will be rich, and long lasting.

Education Week
September 10, 2014

States applying for the newest federal early-learning grant competition will be more likely to clinch the federal funds if the proposals include a strong parent-engagement component, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Tuesday. "Parents' voices have to be heard on this," he said. "Having parents talk about the need, talk about the demand, it's imperative."

September 10, 2014

When U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited Chattanooga Tuesday as part of his back-to-school bus tour through the South, he talked about something he encounters often: Waiting lists to get kids into prekindergarten classes. He said federal grant money is available to boost the number of prekindergarten classes around the country. Duncan said that every dollar spent on prekindergarten education shows a $7 return on investment, because early education reduces such problems as crime and teen pregnancy.

Indy Star
September 10, 2014

Through it all, it’s important to remember that many people really do like the idea of having more kids in preschool and more cops on the street. These aren’t pie-in-the-sky ideas.

I have to believe that, by now, most Hoosiers understand that education is a route out of poverty and the earlier a kid starts school, the better. Having a preschool program will benefit not only those 1,300 or so families a year who qualify for it, but the entire city as we build the foundation for a more educated, economically mobile population.

Seattle Times
September 10, 2014

The campaigns behind competing Seattle ballot measures for prekindergarten education raked in more than $100,000 in contributions last month, with one plan receiving the lion’s share of the money.

Labor unions backing Initiative 107 — which will appear on the ballot as Proposition 1A — easily outspent private citizens in favor of Proposition 1B, which was created by Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council.

September 10, 2014

Many studies have shown the value of a preschool education.  The debate in Hawaii is over who should provide it. Supporters of the Ballot 4 amendment believe that there are advantages in using public funds to help students pay for private preschool.  They say it's a better education and in the long run, it's cheaper.  Also, they say the amendment would provide choice for parents.

Catalyst Chicago
September 9, 2014

As New York City rolls out an ambitious plan to offer free full-day prekindergarten for tens of thousands of 4-year-olds this fall, community activists and union members in Chicago say it’s time for universal early childhood education and child care in the Windy City. Calling their campaign “Bright Future Chicago,” the groups say the city needs to find creative ways to finance the expansion of existing preschool and daycare programs – and extending the hours – so that parents can work full-time while their children under 5 years old are in a safe learning environment.

September 9, 2014

 A full-day prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds living in the City of San Antonio returned positive results after its inaugural year, according to a statement issued by the city Tuesday. According to the city, the results of a recent study show students in Pre-K 4 SA met or exceeded the ability of children their same age around the country. The first-year performance study was conducted by Edvance Research Inc. and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), in affiliation with Rutgers University in New Jersey.

September 8, 2014

You already know that she's the cutest person in the room, but did you also know that she's the fastest learner? Your toddler's motor, language, and cognitive abilities are all in hyperdrive. "Kids advance more at this age than at any other time," says Parentsadvisor Jenn Berman, Psy.D., author of Superbaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years. "Each action your child masters is a significant breakthrough." Prepare to be amazed by these milestones, and learn how to take them to the next level.

The Washington Times
September 8, 2014

An overwhelming 70 percent of voters favor using federal funds  to provide universal preschool education, according to a new Gallup poll released Monday. The poll found that just 28 percent opposed the idea. The survey boosts the call by President Obamas and liberal Democrats for universal access to preschool education  for 4-year-olds prior to entering kindergarten. The expansion of free Pre-K education has become a campaign issue in some races this year, including the race for Maryland governor between Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Republican Larry Hogan.