Early Education in the News
The path toward universal preschool for the city’s children could be started Tuesday.
A proposal by Vice Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal asks city staff to examine providing free preschool for residents and return within 120 days with a way to provide the service without a major budget impact.
Whitehurst claims that “Not one of the studies that has suggested long-term positive impacts of center-based early childhood programs has been based on a well-implemented and appropriately analyzed randomized trial.” This claim is false based even on the studies he does cite. His own statements in the blog regarding the Perry Preschool study and its re-analyses by Jim Heckman contradict this claim, as do older analyses demonstrating that minor departures from random assignment in the Perry study had no substantive effects on the results.
Nationwide, enrollment in publicly funded preschool has exploded over the past decade. From the 2001-2002 school year to 2011-2012, the percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled in state-funded preschool increased from 14 percent to 28 percent, according to The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University, although enrollment stalled in 2011-2012.
While state spending on preschool has also increased, from $3.47 billion to $5.12 billion over the same decade, the dollars have not kept pace with enrollment, according to NIEER, causing per-child spending to drop by more than 23 percent, adjusting for inflation.
Last year, the president’s budget prioritized preschool and school security, for example — and both issues eventually fared well in the omnibus spending bill passed in January. In fact, preschool did exceptionally well. Advocates were thrilled when the bill added tens of thousands of seats to the Head Start program and set aside cash for a competitive grant program around early childhood.
“When you get down to that level, the president’s budget is important,” Packer said. “At the end of the day, the president has to sign that bill and has some leverage.”
At Jubilee, and in pre-K programs across the city, the focus is on the whole child. We understand that “high-quality” instruction is driven by both appropriate training in child development and literacy and support to enable them, and an emphasis on developing nurturing, trusting relationships.
To give every child an even start has been the goal of the early-childhood education initiatives promoted by Gov. Mark Dayton, with the support of the Minnesota Legislature, Cassellius said. The 2013 session featured increased funding for early-childhood initiatives, as well as money for districts statewide to provide all-day kindergarten.
The earlier a child can be enrolled in an effective program, the better, Cassellius said.
“We continue to see signs that, for some children in this country, the scales are tipping. This report comes on the heels of previous CDC data that found a significant decline in obesity prevalence among low-income children aged 2 to 4 years participating in federal nutrition programs,” CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a press release. “We’ve also seen signs from communities around the country with obesity prevention programs, including Anchorage, Alaska; Philadelphia; New York City; and King County, Washington. This confirms that at least for kids, we can turn the tide and begin to reverse the obesity epidemic.”
Cincinnati's business and corporate community should get behind a universal preschool effort because it will lead to improved schools, more jobs and a better prepared workforce. That's the pitch Strive Partnership Executive Director Greg Landsman, whose group works to improve student achievement, is making as he builds support for the eventual tax increase probably needed to make it happen.
"One, more and more kids are going to show up to school prepared and they're going to be successful. Two, parents are going to be able to get back into the workforce. Three, If you make the subsidies strong enough, more and more families – talent – will stay here and move here," Landsman said. "It is a talent attraction and retention strategy."
But early childhood supporters said Arkansas can't come from behind in salaries if they don't invest in Pre-Kindergarten programs. Funding for early childhood programs increased for sometime but have remained stagnant since 2007. Supporters said this impacts the workforce later on.
"If children don't have the opportunity for positive interacting during the first five years, they could start kindergarten three years behind their friends," said Genia Dickey of Invest Early.
Gov. Mike Pence spent Wednesday morning highlighting the work of an Indianapolis preschool as he made a final pitch for an early education voucher plan that has foundered in the Legislature.
In a classroom of 4-year-olds at the Shepherd Community Center, Pence stressed the need for a pilot program that would use state money to help children attend preschool.
For years, parents have been told that preschool provides kids with a crucial jump-start on kindergarten, but unless a family’s income is low enough to qualify for government help, they must pay for it themselves.
Now, amid growing national momentum for government-paid preschool for all, Burgess is proposing an ambitious plan to make high-quality preschool free for Seattle families earning up to twice the federal poverty level, or about $47,000 for a family of four. Others would pay on a sliding scale, giving parents a break on an annual expense that can cost as much as college tuition.
Spending on childcare assistance last year fell to the lowest level since 2002, according to a report from the policy organization CLASP. The primary source of funding for subsidies that help low-income parents afford childcare is the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), and spending on that grant was at a decade low. States can also contribute to subsidies with matching funds as well as by using federal funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. Federal TANF funds were at the lowest level since 1998. In total, $11.4 billion was spent on childcare subsidies, down from $12.9 billion the year before.
"During the pre-K years, children are developing the foundation for language in particular and their dispositions and habits," said Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. "It's a period in which there's rapid growth and the child is more influenced by the environment."
It's not that the kids can't catch up later, Barnett said, "it's just more expensive to do that later."
Oklahoma often is held up as the national poster child for offering early childhood education to many students. But, according to state officials and educators, the system has a serious weakness: Data about each student’s academic profile is not shared between early childhood education program providers and school districts, or between providers. That prevents kindergarten teachers from being able to immediately target students’ learning needs when they arrive, officials say. It also prevents providers from doing the same when a child transfers from one program to another or is enrolled in more than one program. Oklahoma State Department of Education plans to roll out a pilot program in eight school districts this spring meant to help districts and early childhood education programs share student data with each other.
A Pittsburgh child’s access to high-quality early-childhood education should not be an accident of birth. It should be available and affordable for all Pittsburgh children. . . . There are approximately 5,700 three- and four-year-olds living in our city. If we want to see our children and our city thrive, we can’t wait for Washington or Harrisburg to act. We must work together to give every one of those children access to a free, high-quality preschool education.
Members of the National Governors Association Education and Workforce Committee chaired by Governor Steven Beshear (D-KY) discussed early childhood education. Education Secretary Arne Duncan talked about how the federal government and states can work together to expand early childhood education. Then state education officials used PowerPoint presentations to talk about the success of early education programs in Alabama and Maryland.
This was a session of the National Governors Association 2014 Winter Meeting, held February 21-24 at the J.W. Marriott in Washington, D.C.
Several studies from the National Institute for Early Education Research indicate "strong preschool education programs can meaningfully enhance early learning and development and thereby produce long-term improvements."
As state lawmakers debated the future of Gov. Mike Pence’s preschool bill Wednesday, local leaders gathered to discuss the importance of early childhood learning. More than 140 business, education and community leaders attended the Early Childhood Learning Summit in Fort Wayne. The summit included a live webcast with Robert Dugger, founder of ReadyNation, a business partnership that focuses on the link between early childhood education and economic success.
A report released yesterday by the Early Childhood Data Collaborative suggests most states need more support in using and linking data on early childhood education so that officials can get a clear picture of what services are available for young children, the quality of those services, and if they are helping them prepare for school.
Last week, Steven Dow, executive director of Community Action Project (CAP) of Tulsa, the state’s largest anti-poverty problem that was involved in establishing pre-K as state policy, testified in front of the New York City Council on how Oklahoma’s program works.
Dow joins Here & Now's Robin Young to discuss Oklahoma’s pre-K program.