Early Education in the News
The Center for Early Learning at Silicon Valley Community Foundation announced today that it will receive a $1.5 million grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, a national project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation.
The grant will support an ambitious three-year effort to make early learning for California’s youngest children a state budget and policy priority. Specifically, the Center will partner with legislators, scholars and community leaders to promote research, public opinion data and key messages that make the case for increased investments in high-quality early learning programs.
California currently ranks 28 out of 42 states in access to preschool programs for 4-year-olds, according to a 2015 report from the National Institute for Early Education Research. The report also found that California’s early .education quality standards are among the nation’s worst. These facts are unsurprising given that nearly $1 billion in funding has been cut from the state’s budget for preschool programs since 2008. Recently, through the advocacy of SVCF and other statewide leaders, the state has committed to reinvest $500 million into early learning programs over the next four years
The real problem is not that child care costs too much, but that we as a society have failed to acknowledge that caring for children is demanding, labor-intensive and therefore costly.
State child care subsidies, designed to help low-income working families afford care, typically pay providers far less than the typical costs of care, let alone the costs of quality programs. The typical state-funded preschool program spends just $4,489 per child, less than half the per-pupil spending in K-12 public schools, even though many state pre-K programs offer a full-school day (or longer) program and employ teachers with bachelor's degrees. Head Start, the federal program for children in poverty, provides more funding than the typical state pre-K program, but less than K-12 schools, while also requiring extensive additional health, family engagement and comprehensive supports that K-12 schools don't offer.
The hard reality is that giving all our children quality care that supports their development and prepares them to succeed in school requires someone – whether parents, government, or someone else – to spend much more on young children than we currently do.
Early childhood education is essential for success later in life, and every state needs solid resources to reinforce the benefits of schooling.
Oklahoma has seen the results of making early childhood education a priority. Children are excelling at rapid rates in their earliest stages, and are more prepared for the rigors of each level of schooling. It's a statistic we're proud of, and is the result of collective work across all levels of government, as well as the diligent efforts of private organizations.
People are quick to see the negative in Congress every day, and hardly realize there is bipartisanship in our work. Rest assured, Congress takes education very seriously. One of the most bipartisan issues quite frankly is education — especially education at the earliest stages. We passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, in a bipartisan manner, to improve and maintain education standards, including early education. There's never a disagreement or misunderstanding that our nation's underserved children need all the resources they can get, and that they should have access to a quality and effective education. That's an issue I think everyone can agree on.
One of the most pressing issues with mass incarceration is the school-to-prison pipeline and the current education system. One of the most effective ways at reducing incarceration is ensuring that as many people as possible have access to quality education throughout their lives, beginning as early as possible.
Universal Pre-Kindergarten programs have a range of demonstrable benefits, from ensuring school readiness, to lessening the likelihood of special education needs, to longer term effects such as higher earning potential, and reduced risk of incarceration.
Pre-K programs ensure school readiness, higher levels of literacy and other skills, and works towards reducing the achievement gap. Universal Pre-K is equally as critical. While the earliest Pre-K programs targeted only low income and at-risk children and families - who receive the most benefit from these programs - Universal Pre-K has benefits for middle and upper class children as well. Integration in these programs also ensures that a broad range of demographics are brought together, reducing segregation based on wealth or race, and reducing prejudice.
Gov. Jay Nixon awarded nearly $1 million to an early childhood education project in New Madrid on Wednesday, another event in a growing statewide conversation over early learning. He made another $1 million grant in Salisbury later in the day.
In addition to Nixon’s grants through Missouri Start Smart, this summer he signed a bill to allow Missouri to rate preschools and in the past he called for pre-kindergarten learning to be funded through the foundation formula.
These actions joined Tuesday’s certification of an initiative petition designed to raise money for early childhood education as advocates seek to raise what they see as Missouri’s lagging efforts.
Wednesday’s action joined $23.1 million in Missouri Start Smart grants that have been awarded for 24 projects across the state. That’s just a drop in the bucket compared to an estimated $300 million the Early Childhood Health and Education Amendment could provide.
NIEER is seeking submissions to a special issue of the Journal of Applied Research on Children (JARC) focused on Research and Progress in Early Education and Early Brain Development, to be edited by NIEER Director W. Steven Barnett and AllisonFriedman-Krauss, assistant research director professor. JARC is published by CHILDREN AT RISK and the Texas Medical Center Library and edited by the CHILDREN AT RISK Institute.
Topics could include new trends, developmentally appropriate practices, social and emotional wellbeing, engaging children and families, identifying Childhood Adversities (ACEs), language development, immigrant education, technology integration, and how our institutions and communities contribute to improved child outcomes. The CHILDREN AT RISK Institute is seeking articles that include data-oriented evidence on the most pressing early brain and education related issues and what programs and policies are needed to combat these issues.
We encourage interested authors to submit an abstract or letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 22, 2016. To view past issues of the journal or to submit a manuscript, click here. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Friedman-Krauss.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services plans to ban a funding mechanism that allows preschools to receive money from multiple public sources. It's a policy change that could save the state about $12 million annually.
But it has Cuyahoga County preschool providers – particularly those serving children in poverty — scrambling to figure out how to deal with an estimated $2 million reduction in funding, weeks before the school year is scheduled to begin.
The state views the funding mechanism as a double-dipping of sorts, and claims some preschool providers have been receiving "dual payments" from both state child care coffers and the federal government's Head Start program, according to an Aug. 1 memo from Job and Family Services Director Cynthia Dungey. The memo, which was sent to advisors for Gov. John Kasich, explains that the department will rectify the problem by enforcing a rule in the Ohio Administrative Code, "which ensures that if a state or federal program is providing payment for a specific child the publicly funded child care program will not pay for the same time period."
The U.S Department of Health and Human Services announced that Florida is one of nine states and territories that will get aid through the new Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System.
HHS calls the overall effort the Impact Project and Rodney MacKinnon, executive director of the Florida Office of Early Learning says it comes with access to expertise about how quality rating systems elsewhere in the country have worked.
“It doesn’t come with funds attached,” MacKinnon says. “It comes with federal assistance. We’ve got a lot of statewide quality initiatives and there are local ones, and we going to use this to evaluate these initiatives, determine our capacity to expand them, to determine ways to align them.
“Ultimately that will raise the quality of childcare.”
While 74 school districts and charter schools will participate in an initial round of state-funded preschool, more than 100 districts were turned down, Minnesota education officials announced Monday.
That gulf between demand and available funding prompted Gov. Mark Dayton to renew his call for more money for what has been one of his top priorities.
"The fact that more than half could not be funded to me is the impetus for why the program needs to be expanded in the next biennium," Dayton said at a news conference announcing which districts would share in the $25 million preschool appropriation.
Preschool run through public schools should especially benefit English language learners and special education students, said Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. "The school system is the only educational system we have that can provide the supports that preschool programs need to be high-quality," he said.
Fifty-one years ago this summer, former President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the launch of Head Start in the White House Rose Garden.
“Five and six year old children are inheritors of poverty’s curse and not its creators,” Johnson told his audience as he explained that the federal government would be, for the first time, funding education and health services for children living in poverty in the form of a public preschool program. That first summer, according to a press release from the time, the program was to serve 530,000 children in 11,000 centers at a cost of $112 million, or $857 million in today’s dollars.
“This program this year means that 30 million man-years — the combined life span of these youngsters — will be spent productively and rewardingly, rather than wasted in tax-supported institutions or in welfare-supported lethargy,” Johnson promised.
But has that come to pass?
Over the last 25 years, hundreds of studies have produced evidence of the impacts of early education on learning and development. These developmental results translate into very long-term improvements: increased employment and earnings, decreased dependence on public welfare, decreases in risky behaviors like teen pregnancy, smoking and drug use, and improved mental health.
These improvements in development and adult success have implications for public expenditures resulting in cost savings in education, social services, the criminal justice system, and health care. Of course, it is not just the government cost savings that are important, but the improvements in the quality of life.
When Ivanka Trump introduced her father at last month's Republican convention, she described a tough-talking deal-maker who also worries about family leave, equal pay for women and the cost of child care.
It's was one of the first times during Donald Trump's campaign for president those subjects had come up, which made it all the more notable Monday when the GOP nominee dropped a brief mention of child care into his speech about the nation's economic future.
"My plan will also reduce the cost of child care by allowing parents to fully deduct the average cost of child care spending from their taxes," Trump said.
Universal pre-kindergarten. That’s the notion that preschool, especially the year just before kindergarten, should be free for everyone. It’s an idea with broad bipartisan support, and champions at the highest levels of government. Many cities and states already have begun to move towards universal pre-k. Advocates say good programs can help low-income kids catch up with their peers, and that making pre-k universal benefits everyone. But the question of whether pre-k makes a difference in the long run is sharply debated. What does the evidence suggest pre-K can do for children? Is making it universal the best way to help disadvantaged kids? The pros and cons of universal pre-k.
By the city of Philadelphia’s count, more than 17,000 low- and middle-income kids don’t have access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-K. Money from the new soda tax is supposed to help close that gap. But just because there’s more demand than supply doesn’t mean parents will necessarily rush to fill the new seats.
That paradox is rooted in how parents choose pre-K for the kids.
When we think about school choice we often think about the K-12 sector. And in the K-12 space, quality heavily influences the choices parents make. Open up an awesome public school — or at least a school perceived as awesome — and parents will gladly flock to it. If their kids have to travel a little further to attend a better school, so be it. Indeed families often orient their entire lives — where they live, how they commute to work, etc. — around finding the best school for their children.
It’s a safe bet that if the city of Philadelphia opened scads of new high-quality schools, it would have very little trouble filling them.
More than 500 additional 3-year-olds in New Mexico will have access to early prekindergarten programs after a $3.5 million increase in early education funding—doubling the number of children who can now enroll.
The extra funds announced last month by Gov. Susana Martinez brings the state’s investment in the Early Pre-K pilot program to $10.5 million over the past two years.
The pilot program, which began in 2015, will expand to 51 child-care centers in 16 counties, covering almost 1,000 children.
This July, Republican and Democratic convention leaders selected Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as their nominees for president. Although each party platform and nominee talked up the promises of pre-K–20 education, no clear agenda was put forth. With less than 100 days to the election, I offer the nominees five pillars to preserving America's liberty to "L.E.A.R.N."
If we want to continue our legacy of liberty, then Americans should demand that candidates put forward ways to truly make education work for all of our nation's citizens.
Boston’s preschool program, called K1 locally, serves about 68 percent of the 4-year-olds likely to enroll in public kindergarten. And while it has been criticized by some for its slow growth, the program has won repeated recognition from experts in the field for its quality and has been validated by outside researchers for being student-centered, learning-focused, and developmentally appropriate. “If it’s not a quality program and it’s just a place for 4-year-olds to be all day, it’s not effective,” said Marie Enochty, a program director in the school district’s early-childhood education department, neatly summarizing the message heard at every turn here in Boston, from the classroom to the mayor’s office.
Providing high-quality public preschool is no small feat. Only a handful of city and state programs meet the quality standards established by the National Institute for Early Education Research, a think tank which publishes annual reports evaluating state preschool programs across the country. Boston’s program exceeds those standards. In fact, the school district here is so enamored of its preschool program that city school officials hope to soon bring the principles of high-quality early education to later grades. The key elements of quality are simple, says Jason Sachs, the director of the district’s early-childhood education department: A great curriculum and ongoing, effective staff support. “Who the teacher is and what the teacher is teaching? Huge,” Sachs said.
Our children’s future is our future, and therefore a crucial element to consider when solving the challenges facing our nation. Studies show the human brain develops most rapidly between birth and age 5, yet almost all public investments in children happen after the age of 5. We cannot let our nation’s leaders forget this as they forge our future at the conventions. Our organizations - Save the Children, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) and Johnson & Johnson - joined forces to act as a catalyst to try to drive a policy consensus among influential Republicans and Democrats in Cleveland and Philadelphia, respectively. . .
When we talk about ensuring equal opportunity for all kids and investing in our shared future, liberals, moderates and conservatives agree we cannot wait any longer to accomplish meaningful change. We believe there are two bipartisan initiatives that should be injected into the debate at the conventions and serve to unite our nation behind our leaders from both sides of the aisle. First, we must increase access to high-quality early childhood education in the United States. High-quality early learning programs are the best investment our country can make. A study from Nobel Prize winning economist James Heckman shows that for every dollar invested in early education, there is a return of at least $7. Parents have the ultimate responsibility to raise their children, but high quality early learning programs can assist families so all children have an equal opportunity to succeed in school and in life.
Second, bipartisan support for children’s issues also extends beyond America’s borders. Republicans and Democrats understand that when we engage and lift up some of the most vulnerable populations abroad, we are not only acting morally but we are solidifying America’s reputation as a beacon of hope and creating allies in an increasingly dangerous world.
Colorado got a high-profile pat on the back Monday with a visit from U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, who lauded the state’s efforts to raise child care quality and improve early childhood systems. He whirled through Denver before heading to Delaware, where he’ll conclude a two-day tour meant to spotlight states that have launched successful early childhood initiatives using federal Race to the Top dollars. The signature Obama administration program awarded more than $1 billion to 20 states. In Colorado, the money helped create a new mandatory child care rating system called Colorado Shines. Launched in February 2015, the program gives parents a simple way to gauge child care quality and comparison shop. It also sets a high bar for providers seeking the top rating, a feat only 12 of the state’s 4,600 providers have accomplished so far.
King started the day with a stop at Mile High Early Learning, a Montessori-inspired preschool in Denver’s City Park West neighborhood, where he joined children in singing songs about sea creatures and eating pretend sushi. Next up was a roundtable discussion with more than two dozen of the state’s early childhood heavy hitters.
Leaders from state agencies, advocacy groups, child care centers and early childhood councils highlighted efforts to create the new rating system, improve data infrastructure and expand training opportunities for child care providers.
Leaders in the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) have said that $3.5 million in pre-K funds that were unused would be routed into the Early Pre-K program, and the influx would bring the total investment in the year-old effort to over $10.5 million.
The pilot program started last summer and affords early childhood education possibilities to three-year-olds who are not eligible for the state’s Pre-K program.
Writing for the Las Cruces Sun-News, Damien Willis says the increased funding will allow nearly 1,000 youngsters in child-care centers in approximately one-half of New Mexico’s counties to access the early pre-K opportunity.
The National Institute for Early Education Research announced in May that New Mexico had risen ten spots in ranking for funding early childhood education. The improvement made the state 18th in the country in this area.