Early Education in the News
More than 25 percent of the students enrolled in Head Start programs in D.C. Public Schools were chronically absent last school year, missing at least 10 percent or the equivalent of a month or more, according to two reports the Urban Institute plans to release Tuesday.
Seven percent of the students missed 20 percent or more of enrolled days.
Overall, less than half — 44 percent — of the school system’s Head Start students had what one report called “satisfactory attendance,” which is missing 5 percent or less of the school year.
The House Education Committee on Monday passed two bills intended to increase funding for both preschool and full-day kindergarten, but the discussion highlighted differences over which program should have the highest priority.
House Bill 15-1020, a measure that would increase state financial support of full-day kindergarten, passed 10-1, with only one Republican voting no. But House Bill 15-1024, which would provide more funding for the Colorado Preschool Program, only passed on a 6-5 party-line vote, with majority Democrats on the winning side.
The two issues consumed much of a hearing that lasted more than six hours.
A former state lawmaker was honored Monday, Jan. 26, as an advocate for early childhood development programs in Michigan. . . . The former state senator, state representative and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee was chosen because he was "a tireless advocate" for early childhood education, according to local Great Start Collaborative Director Julie Kozan.
A statewide readiness test has found that half of kindergarten students began class in the fall without having basic skills to help them succeed.
Sen. Hanna M. Gallo has submitted legislation that would pay school districts to offer full-day kindergarten by accelerating a portion of the school funding formula.
Seven districts — Cranston, Johnston, Warwick, Coventry, East Greenwich, North Kingstown and Tiverton — do not offer full-day kindergarten to all children. Approximately 1,100 students would be offered all-day kindergarten if the districts made it universal. Under the current funding formula, districts that offer only half-day kindergarten are reimbursed for only half the aid for a full-time student. Because the funding formula is being phased in over seven years, districts that move to adopt all-day kindergarten this fall will not get their full reimbursement for another three years.
President Obama on Thursday unveiled plans to greatly increase federal assistance to working Americans struggling to afford child care, choosing a Democratic pocket in a solidly Republican state to sharpen the contrast between the parties’ economic visions.
In an appearance at the University of Kansas, Obama called for an $80 billion expansion of a federal program that provides child care subsidies to low- and middle-income families with children ages 3 and younger, nearly doubling the aid and offering it to more than 1 million additional children over the next decade. He promoted his plan to nearly triple, to $3,000 per child, the maximum child care tax credit. And the president said he would push to put more federal money into early childhood programs, expanding the availability of free preschool and extending Head Start — focused on low-income families — to last an entire day and for the full school year.
Dual language learners have increased massively within the last few years, due greatly to immigration and the organic growth of Spanish-dominate U.S. born Latinos. That said, there's evidence that identifying and supporting bilingual or multilingual students earlier in their cognitive development/educational process does not seem to be a state or national priority, although it can make all the difference in their future.
Very few states demand early language assessments in early education programs, according to a new webinar by the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), titled "Young Immigrants and Dual Language Learners: Participation in Pre-K & Gaps at Kindergarten Entry."
The results of the 2014-15 Oregon Kindergarten Assessment, which were released by the state Department of Education last week, only reinforces the need for early learning and earlier intervention before kindergarten, according to Woodburn Superintendent Chuck Ransom. The state’s assessment results should not surprise anyone familiar with the district and its composition. The data show that Woodburn students, when they begin their public school careers, are generally in line with their peers in approaches to learning and early mathematics, while they lag significantly behind in early English literacy. . .
According to the 2014-15 assessment, local students matched or even exceeded the statewide averages for self-regulation and interpersonal skills (two measures dealing with approaches to learning) and came in just behind the statewide results for numbers and math operations.
Not long after getting free all-day kindergarten, boosters of early childhood education are hoping to get state money for free all-day preschool across Minnesota. It's a top priority for Senate Democrats this session. They say giving 4-year-olds a quality education better prepares them for success in life.
Half of Kentucky's kindergartners did not enter the 2014-15 school year prepared to learn the reading and math skills they are expected to master, according to data released Wednesday by the state.
Fifty percent of students who entered kindergarten in the fall of 2014 were considered "not ready,” according to a statewide readiness screening administered by teachers to 49,089 kindergartners in all 173 school districts.
It's a very slight improvement from the 2013-14 school year, when 51 percent were considered not ready.
"While we are moving in the right direction, this data reinforces the importance of quality early learning opportunities for all children," Gov. Steve Beshear said in a prepared statement.
Stressing that 43 percent of Massachusetts third graders are not reading at grade level, state lawmakers are pushing to provide every child with an early start to education. State Senator Sonia Chang Diaz (D-Boston) filed a bill that would provide state-funded preschool education for three- and four- year olds across Massachusetts. If it is signed into law, school districts would qualify for funding by submitting a plan to the state on how they would provide high-quality education.
For the first time in California, thousands of early-learning centers in most of the state, from preschools to licensed child-care centers and homes, are in the process of implementing a common system to rate the quality of their programs.
The system is a result of the only statewide grants California received from President Barack Obama’s signature $4.3 billion Race to the Top program. The state was unsuccessful in getting significant Race to the Top funding for its K-12 schools, but won $75 million in two “Early Learning Challenge” awards to institute a range of reforms to improve the quality of its vast system of publicly and privately funded preschool and child-care programs.
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Monday that early childhood educators working at licensed centres are getting a $1-an-hour increase this month and another dollar hike next year.
“Let’s not pretend that your work has always been valued as it should be. We know that it has not so today I am very proud to announce we have taken action to increase wages for early childhood educators and front line child care professionals in licensed child care setting,” Wynne said speaking in Kingston, Ont. . . . Only workers making less than $26.27 an hour will be eligible for the bump up. The budget set aside $269 million in funding over three years.
Yet as these debates rage, researchers have been quietly finding small, effective ways to improve education. They have identified behavioral “nudges” that prod students and their families to take small steps that can make big differences in learning. These measures are cheap, so schools or nonprofits could use them immediately. . . . Can nudges help younger children? Susanna Loeb and Benjamin N. York, both also at Stanford, developed a literacy program for preschool children in San Francisco. They sent parents texts describing simple activities that develop literacy skills, such as pointing out words that rhyme or start with the same sound. The parents receiving the texts spent more time with their children on these activities and their children were more likely to know the alphabet and the sounds of letters. It cost just a few dollars per family.
Burkhalter is a test subject in one of many initiatives being piloted by the Thirty Million Words Project, which aims to prevent the achievement gap from starting with the power of parent-child talk — beginning at day one.
In this intervention with newborns, mothers still in the hospital learn research-based parenting practices less commonly known in poor households. There will soon be follow-up lessons at pediatric checkups. This winter, Thirty Million Words is embarking on a major long-term study of a home-visiting program that teaches communication skills to parents of slightly older babies. Children will be trailed from about 15 months old through at least kindergarten.
Mayor Ed Lee took steps Tuesday to make San Francisco a little more family friendly and easier to get around, announcing the city would provide funding to help pay for basic preschool for all 4-year-olds in the city. . .
About 3,800 4-year-olds are enrolled in San Francisco’s Preschool for All program, which was started a decade ago when voters approved a mandate to create a universal prekindergarten program. The program has been regularly expanded since then, with Lee’s current proposal to add 860 spots over the next two school years — significantly more than the roughly 500 children on the wait list. City officials estimated the expansion would add $5 million to $10 million to the cost of the program, which is budgeted to receive $27.5 million in city funds in the current fiscal year.
Julian’s case illustrates a larger, more complex issue simmering inside many of the nation’s early childhood centers that serve children impacted by violence and poverty. According to a recent nationally representative survey, 13 percent of infants a year-old and younger and 44 percent of all 2- to 5-year-olds were assault victims in the prior year. Eight percent of infants and 14 percent of 2-to 5-year-olds had also witnessed violence. Other studies have had similar findings.
Most assaults on young children did not involve a weapon or result in injury, and siblings and playmates were the most common perpetrators. Still, early education experts say, any experience of violence can be traumatic. Yet few preschools have mental health professionals on staff, leaving many children in danger of falling through the cracks. Early investment would save money as well as heartache later on, experts say.
“If we put that money at the front end, we will spend less on special education classes for behavior disorder, we will spend less on adolescent substance abuse, we will spend less on gang violence, we will spend less on the juvenile criminal justice system,” said Margret Nickels, a clinical psychologist at Chicago’s Erikson Institute who is known as an authority on early childhood mental health.
The research couldn’t be clearer: The earlier children receive high-quality learning opportunities, the more likely they are to stay in school and achieve success. Early learning helps prevent poverty, crime, and a host of other social ills that cost taxpayers money. But even more important, early learning helps little kids grow up to lead meaningful, productive and satisfying lives.
The state Legislature understood these benefits in 1985 when it created the Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP) to provide early learning for preschool-aged children from families with incomes of 110 percent or less than the federal poverty level. Children also qualify if they have special needs or if they are at risk of certain adverse childhood experiences, such as family violence or homelessness
"It's the essential promise of America -- that where you start should not and will not determine how far you can go." That powerful message was shared by President Barack Obama last month at the White House Summit on Early Education. It resonates deeply in the communities where the Children's Defense Fund-California is working to help young people beat the odds cast by the color of their skin and the size of their parents' paychecks.
So we're calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to join President Obama with a bold vision and an economic plan to secure our kids' future. We are joining Raising California Together to call for investment in expanding and strengthening child care as part of California's educational and economic agenda.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced Tuesday that he will expand the city’s Preschool for All program after voters in November approved a ballot measure to help fund public education and children’s services for a quarter-century. Nearly two-thirds of the city’s 4-year-olds are in high-quality preschool programs in San Francisco, said Laurel Kloomek, executive director of San Francisco First5, which oversees 150 preschools in the city. Most of the city’s low-income preschoolers are already enrolled in city preschools, she added.