Early Education in the News
Twenty-six states across the country increased their support for early-child education in the past year, according to a report by the Education Commission of the States due out this month. Twenty-two were in red states, said Bruce Atchison, director of the commission’s Early Learning Institute. You can’t count Idaho among them because the state is one of nine that has refused to put taxpayer money into running preschool programs. The other eight are Arizona, Montana, Indiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. The commission provides nonpartisan information to states to help them formulate education policy.
When David Andrews was asked to testify in Annapolis earlier this year, the dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Education told assembled legislators that providing quality early learning opportunities to low-income children is critically important and playing catch up is a losing game. For poor children, catching up is indeed a losing proposition. Stubbornly high poverty rates and increasing income inequality have turned upside-down the long-held belief of education being a pathway to the middle class. The truth is, as evidenced in at least two national studies published this year, if you're born poor, chances are you will stay poor.
Six elementary schools will share a $500,000 grant from the GM Foundation that will make preschool education possible for 256 children from Detroit’s hardest-hit neighborhoods. During a news conference Monday at Nolan Elementary-Middle School, John Covington, chancellor of the Education Achievement Authority, said many young children enter school deficient in numerous academic areas. "We all know that a great education and a great chance of success in life begins with early childhood education,” Covington said.
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has announced that if elected governor next year, he would expand the state’s pre-kindergarten program, with a goal of enrolling 76 percent of the state’s eligible children in pre-kindergarten by the end of his first term in office and accommodating all eligible students by 2023....In 2012, Rhode Island ranked 40th in the United States in access to pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds, according to a report by the National Institute for Early Education Research.
The projected growth of the labor force is expected to slow down over the next couple of decades. Rob Grunewald, an economist for Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, said . . . “As this happens, there will be an increase in demands of workers with more skills,” he said. “Higher levels of education will be required, which will make it harder for those without education past a high school diploma to find work.” Grunewald’s presentation discussing “Minnesota’s economic outlook and the role of early childhood education” took a look at both the Minnesota economy and long-term employment.
A new study by Case Western Reserve University’s social work school found that children’s readiness in language, math and logic improved significantly by the programs offered at 24 pilot universal prekindergarten pilot program (UPK) sites in Greater Cleveland.
In what he is calling the “first major policy announcement” of his campaign for governor, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras will unveil a plan Tuesday to make pre-kindergarten and all-day kindergarten programs available to all Rhode Island children. Taveras, a product of the Head Start program in Providence, says his plan is a “roadmap for making Rhode Island a national leader in early childhood education” and also opens a path to economic development, according to a copy provided to the Journal.
Three recent studies add to mounting evidence that poverty can exact a lasting toll on a child's mental and physical well-being, with stress representing a key pathway. Those studies focus on poverty's impact on a child's brain volume, the adverse impact of childhood poverty on adult health, and the mental and behavior problems associated with substandard housing. . . . The study underscores the importance of good care-giving in early childhood. Better education and support for parents and preschool programs would "provide high-quality supplementary care-giving and a safe haven to vulnerable young children," she said.
As President Obama pushes for a major national investment in the littlest learners, a glimpse into the power of preschool sits less than a five-minute drive from his Hyde Park home....From a full-day schedule to more stringent educational requirements for teachers to a low staff-student ratio, all of the research-based best practices being pushed in Congress and then some are on display at Educare. The school enrolls 149 children, 98 percent of whom are African-American and all living at or below the poverty line. It is funded through public and private dollars.
Childhood education, especially programs aimed at improving literacy in the central San Joaquin Valley, received a $575,000 boost from the Fresno Regional Foundation on Thursday. Leaders of the nonprofit foundation -- which covers six counties from Merced to Kings -- say funding for education is their top priority in divvying up dollars this year from a new multimillion fund. Committee members looked at many Valley issues to address and found that all were rooted in the need to "invest early" in children and their families.
Leaders of all four legislative caucuses say a renewed effort at providing greater access to early childhood education will be one of the top priorities in the upcoming session. Last session, House Republicans pushed a significant preschool pilot program, providing money to send one thousand children to preschool. Senate Republicans dramatically scaled it back, citing concerns about cost. But for the upcoming session, legislative leaders in both parties are renewing the focus on early childhood ed.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with officials from the People's Republic of China, made the case for investing in early childhood development Wednesday, saying fostering a child's health, nutrition and brain development could also have a significant effect on a country's economy.
Clinton has long been an advocate of early childhood education, and recently teamed up with the nonprofit group Next Generation to start the Too Small to Fail campaign....Clinton told an audience at the Brookings Institution that parents, educators and policymakers need to focus on "issues that may not be in the headlines, but are in the trend lines."
Studies demonstrate that kids who attend high-quality preschool achieve higher test scores, are less likely to go to jail and are more likely to secure good jobs with higher wages. Low-income kids of color, who are the least likely to have access to great preschools, benefit the most.
The Department of Defense estimates that 75 percent of Americans ages 17 to 24 cannot qualify for military service, many because they are academically unprepared. In Alaska, 28 percent of high school students do not graduate on time and 20 percent of those who do graduate and try to join the Army cannot score well enough on the military's exam to enlist. It is time to turn this ship around and, fortunately, we know what is proven to work. High-quality early childhood education can prepare children to start school ready to learn, can improve student performance over the long-term, and can boost high school graduation rates. Alaska is one of only four states to meet all 10 quality benchmarks for its pre-kindergarten program, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. However, the program only serves 2 percent of 4-year-olds in the state.
About a hundred school districts in New Jersey now offer only a half-day of kindergarten. But the state is weighing the possibility of changing those programs to a full day. A bill creating a task force to study the feasibility of implementing full-day programs statewide will come up for a vote in the state Senate Monday. . . . Kids learn more in full-day kindergarten, and some children don't go to half-day sessions because that doesn't accommodate their parents' work schedules, said Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers. Barnett said some of the additional costs of full-day programs would be offset by not having to provide separate transportation for half-day students.
Legislation introduced in Congress last week that would expand public preschool could serve as a wake-up call in California to beef up early education programs, advocates here say. A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday introduced the Strong Start for America’s Children Act. The bill follows President Barack Obama’s call earlier this year for a new federal grant program for states wishing to create or expand their public preschool programs. The new legislation, which closely mirrors the president’s proposal, lays out a dozen qualifications state preschool programs must meet or be working toward to be eligible for funding. California’s state-funded preschool program falls short on most of them.
Stalled efforts in New York and other states to provide universal prekindergarten for 4-year-olds would get a jump-start under a new congressional proposal. The legislation would authorize federal grants to school districts, charter schools, Head Start programs and licensed child care providers to help provide universal access to preschool for 4-year-olds. . . After a decade of significant gains, the percentage of New York 4-year-olds attending pre-K fell from 47 percent in 2010 to 44 percent last year, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.
Staking a major investment in early-childhood education — and in defiance of federal austerity — Sen. Patty Murray and 10 other lawmakers are proposing to offer free preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families. . . . The Strong Start for America’s Children Act calls for spending $34 billion in the first five years alone. Among other things, the money would pay for voluntary preschool for kids from households with up to twice the poverty level ($47,100 for a family of four), raise education requirements for preschool teachers and help boost their pay to parity with K-12 teachers.
Expanding preschool wouldn’t just benefit all children, their families, and the economy — it would have particularly strong benefits for the country’s children of color, according to recent report from the Center for American Progress.
Garner, of "Alias" fame, came to Washington to drum up press for the legislation, which was introduced in both chambers Wednesday but has been long in the making. The sponsors of "The Strong Start for America's Children Act" -- Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) -- were on hand, along with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, for the presentation of the bills. The 10-year plan would create a new federal-state program to help states funnel preschool grant money to districts, charter schools, Head Start programs and similar entities that have been designated as quality-learning providers for low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds.