Early Education in the News
Paid leave and access to child care are surging to the top of the nation’s political debate as Democrats and Republicans seek to win votes and advance policies to address the economic struggles of families trying to raise children and hold jobs. A high-profile White House “working families” summit Monday will focus on issues such as child care, paid family leave and equal pay between men and women. Politicians in both parties are also rolling out new parental leave and child-care legislation amid predictions that such issues will be prominent in the 2014 midterm and 2016 presidential campaigns.
[A] year from now, all children in Vermont will be offered a place in preschool or daycare. Many schools will outsource instruction to private childcare providers who must be qualified to participate, based on a rating system.
Over 80 percent of Vermont’s towns currently offer some subsidized preschool, but only about 38 percent of Vermont’s children are enrolled. The new law is designed to bring more early education to more kids. It’s expected to cost an additional $10 million over the next seven years, and local districts and philanthropists will also carry some of the cost.
The nation’s mayors had a crash course in neuroscience this morning as brain expert Patricia Kuhl showed them how much early childhood education makes a difference. The interaction and experiences children have from birth to five determine what kind of connections in the brain stay over a lifetime, said Kuhl, the co-director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington. . .
Former President Bill Clinton has joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to push for better access to early childhood education.
In a news release, Emanuel says the city has committed $36 million over three years to early childhood education. The mayor’s office says that will help provide programming for an additional 5,000 Chicago children.
The National Director of World Vision Ghana, Mr Hubert Charles, has urged the government to increase budgetary allocation for early childhood education to promote access and quality. He said this would strengthen the infrastructure and human resource base at that level of education and ensure that interventions such as the School Feeding Programme became well structured.
High-quality preschools in a Utah district began receiving funds from a first-of-its-kind, $4.6 million social impact bond from investment banking firm Goldman Sachs last fall. The goal is to improve instruction in order to prevent students from needing special education or remedial services.
Poverty has little association with the cognitive abilities of nine-month-old children (Fryer and Levitt 2013). By the start of kindergarten, however, not only do poor children perform significantly worse on tests of cognitive ability than children from higher-income families, but teachers also report that these children have much more difficulty paying attention and exhibit more behavioral problems (Duncan and Magnuson 2011). The poverty gap in school readiness appears to be growing as income inequality widens (Reardon 2011).
Compromise is the name of the game with the California budget’s inclusion of additional preschool programming, which is going to include less transitional kindergarten than initially anticipated. The plan, part of the 2014-15 budget passed by the Legislature Sunday, includes an early childhood education package that proposes $268 million to increase access and improve quality in existing programs. It establishes an ongoing $50 million annual grant to support quality improvements in the state’s preschool programming and provides $35 million for professional development and facilities, while creating 11,500 full-day spaces in state preschool for low-income 4-year-olds.
This past spring, Dallas ISD rolled out a generally successful push for eligible families to sign their 4-year-olds up for pre-k. Early registration more than doubled, from 3,288 to 6,905, and while the increase in the number of kids who ultimately enrolled was slightly less impressive -- from about 9,000 to about 9,500 -- a 5.5 percent jump isn't bad. DISD's pre-K expansion, though, is just getting started. . .
More than 120 school districts from upstate and Long Island will compete for $40 million in available grant money for full-day pre-kindergarten. . .
Detroit is among just five places in the U.S. selected for millions of dollars in federal funds for an Office of Head Start program aimed at improving early childhood education in the city.
With $60 million in federal money, a group of Detroit community-based agencies are participating in the so-called Birth to Five pilot program, including Starfish Family Services, Development Centers, Inc.; Focus: HOPE , Southwest Solutions and HighScope Educational Research Foundation.
The collaborative is set to get $12 million annually for five years, with the grant money going toward community-based childcare, K-3 education and investments in family and parent engagement, the group said. Detroit joined Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Sunflower County, Miss. and Jersey City, N.J. in the five places targeted with the money.
Gov. Steve Beshear announced Monday that Kentucky will finance workshops for parents on early childhood education in 25 school districts in the fall. The initiative is paid for by Kentucky's Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge federal grant. . . . It's the first step of a four-year, $1.4 million expansion of 150 academies across the state. The academies consist of six sessions designed to demonstrate how to turn everyday moments with children into learning opportunities.
At the mayor’s request, the Seattle City Council on Monday delayed a scheduled vote on the city’s universal preschool initiative so council members can put a price tag on a different plan that also would be on the November ballot. That plan is backed by unions representing child-care workers.
The one-week delay means that next Monday will be the council’s last chance to place a $58 million property-tax levy on the November ballot to make high-quality preschool free, or at least more affordable, for all of Seattle’s families. Mayor Ed Murray said the results of that financial analysis will inform how — and perhaps even if — the city takes its own levy proposal to voters this fall.
Over the past four decades, the United States has sent high numbers of its citizens to prison, especially poor minority men. The price has been paid by young children. Nearly one of every 10 U.S. residents under 18 has been affected by parental imprisonment. This has important consequences for children’s educational development.
One measure of early educational development, “school readiness,” suggests how prepared children are to learn in formal classrooms. Readiness involves skills such as problem solving, word knowledge, and number recognition as well as a child’s ability to pay attention, follow directions and control their anger and frustration. Readiness has been shown to affect success in kindergarten and early grades and predict success in college and the workplace. Readiness also affects decisions by teachers and school counselors – such as whether to assign children to special education classes — that affect children’s future paths and opportunities.
The new study was conducted by University of Chicago economist James Heckman, Prof. Paul Gertler of the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley, and researchers at four institutions across the globe. The authors examined a high-quality early childhood program in Jamaica and concluded that the intervention improved children's cognitive development and substantially increased their future earning power.
Now, some schools are taking advantage of the natural intersection of preschool and scientific curiosity by creating science curricula designed to ignite young minds. . .
While most of us agree that preschool is a critical step in a child's education continuum and produces long-term educational benefits, the inconsistency of programs is glaringly apparent and may impact kids' academic achievement.
Local business and school leaders are theoretically in favor of Tippecanoe County applying to be one of five counties to take part in a state-funded preschool pilot program. But details of the program, which is expected to begin next year, are murky, and that’s causing concern.
With all of the good things that are happening in the state, there is one important piece of the puzzle missing. While 42 other states make consistent investments into pre-kindergarten and early childhood programs, Montana remains in the shrinking minority of states that have never invested in the human capital of our earliest learners. . .
By increasing access to early learning opportunities for all children, we will improve our state's economic future and most certainly better the life chances of each child who is given this important head start. . .
We were once at the top of national rankings. Now Pennsylvania places 30th out of 41 states that provide high-quality pre-k for 4-year-olds, according the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), a nonpartisan organization. Even states like Georgia and Oklahoma are rolling out universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all 4-year-olds.
Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a plan into law that guarantees a higher percentage of state grant money be set aside for early education.