Early Education in the News

Bloomberg Business Week
July 15, 2014

Criteria for designating preschool as high-quality include having comprehensive early learning standards, a maximum class size of 20 children and teachers with at least a bachelor’s degree, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. They should also provide at least one meal, vision, hearing and health screenings and referrals as well as support services such as parent education and home visits.

Only four states -- Alabama, Alaska, North Carolina, Rhode Island -- and one of Louisiana’s three programs met all 10 of the organization’s benchmarks for state preschool quality standards in 2013, according to the organization.

The introduction of a public preschool program for disadvantaged children would, in the long run, increase college enrollment by 3.6 percentage points, according to a 2013 paper by economists James Heckman of the University of Chicago and Lakshmi Raut of the Social Security Administration.

July 14, 2014

Teaching new mothers the best way to read to their infants is just one of Leal’s many responsibilities as a home visiting nurse. Nurses like Leal offer pregnancy advice, monitor child development and explain parenting techniques to women who are young, low-income, or struggling with domestic abuse. They begin working with new mothers in the first or second trimester and continue until the child turns 2.

Home visiting isn’t a new idea. There has been some version of it in England since the late 19th century and it is a common practice in many European countries. Still, the idea has never really caught on in the United States.

Now, with an influx of money from the Affordable Care Act, Leal is one of a growing number of home visiting nurses in California and across the country. While the money lasts – it’s set to run out on March 30, 2015 – nearly 1,800 California women will be visited by a nurse every few weeks as a part of the California Home Visiting Program that launched in 2012.

Washington Post
July 14, 2014

A D.C. councilmember is sponsoring legislation to prohibit the city’s public schools from suspending or expelling pre-kindergarten students except in rare circumstances.

The legislation from Councilmember David Grosso follows a recent city report that found 181 3- and 4-year-olds received out-of-school suspensions in the 2012-13 school year.

The Washington Post reports (http://wapo.st/1nna5is ) that the proposal applies to both the city’s traditional and charter schools.

LA Times [Op-Ed]
July 14, 2014

The scaffolding of support for the Common Core curriculum standards continues, right and left, to lose a beam here, a platform there. After adopting the standards, with vocal support from the governor, both the Oklahoma Legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin have now abandoned them. The American Federation of Teachers was once a big supporter. At its meeting over the weekend, though it didn't switch to outright opposition, it voted to set up grants for teachers to critique or reformulate the standards. . .

It happened too fast, with too little review. Worse, it happened with an unconscionable emphasis on holding everyone responsible right away for how students fared on a new curriculum and new tests.
The Washington Post
July 14, 2014

D.C. Council member David Grosso’s push to prohibit public schools from suspending and expelling pre-kindergartners comes in response to a city report that found that 3- and 4-year-olds were punished with out-of-school suspension 181 times during the 2012-2013 school year.

That report, produced by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, represents city officials’ first attempt to produce a comprehensive picture of suspension and expulsion across both traditional and charter schools. Using data reported by schools, the agency found that about 10,000 of the city’s 80,000 public school students — or about 12 percent — were suspended at least once in 2012-2013.

July 14, 2014

Unfortunately, there seems to be a direct correlation between income levels and educational achievement. Michael A. Rebell is the executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Columbia University. He said this is the explanation for the United States lagging behind in comparison with other countries in international tests.

July 14, 2014

Governor Nathan Deal has announced that individuals who further their education in early childhood care from eligible colleges between January 1, 2014 and July 1, 2017 could receive a financial award. This new program from the Governor and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning includes approved Early Childhood Care and Education programs at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.

July 13, 2014

The five major gubernatorial candidates agree Rhode Island needs a strong school system for its economy to thrive, but their plans to transform it differ. Parents who played with their children at Lippitt Memorial Park in Providence this week said they want the state to provide prekindergarten education because preschool is expensive and they are concerned with the quality of education in the public schools. Emma Sperling, of Pawtucket, said she worries she will have to move to a different school district before her 2-year-old son goes to kindergarten. Democratic candidates Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell want to spend more on public schools. The first policy Taveras proposed as a candidate was state-funded universal prekindergarten education for all 4-year-olds.

Columbia Daily Tribune
July 13, 2014

Area superintendents are applauding Gov. Jay Nixon’s signing this week of a bill that would include state funding for early childhood education programs in schools. House Bill 1689 was co-sponsored by State Rep. John Wright, D-Rocheport. It would include funding for the programs for 3- and 4-year-olds in the state’s foundation formula for districts that have them or start them. The programs are voluntary on the part of school districts and it’s the decision of parents if they want to enroll their children in the programs. The bill would only allow districts to count preschoolers eligible for free and reduced-price meals in the formula, and caps the number of students for which the district can receive funding to 4 percent of the total number of students eligible for free- and reduced-price meals.

July 11, 2014

Across the state, school districts are running into low preschool attendance rates with the three biggest obstacles being funding, transportation and parent awareness. Pedersen is passionate about reaching out to families and making sure these families know that Cardinal is not simply a school district but also a support system. Low-income families are a top priority for Pedersen who hopes that all children enrolled in the Cardinal district have the same educational opportunities. With 70 percent of the school's students under the poverty line, it is important to provide these students with as many future opportunities as possible. According to The National Institute for Early Education Research enrollment is up 10 percent in the last decade.

July 9, 2014

Myanmar has launched its first ever multi-sectoral policy on early childhood care and development ( ECCD), calling for increased government investment in the services for young children to enable them to have a better start in life and for the hopeful future of the country. Wednesday's state media quoted President U Thein Sein as stating that the future of children depends on the implementation of ECCD activities which are not just about the quantity but also the quality of services.

Fox 2 Now
July 9, 2014

Missouri’s school funding formula could be expanded to include preschool students under legislation signed by Gov. Jay Nixon. Unaccredited school districts could start counting preschool students in their attendance figures used for calculating state funding beginning with the 2015-2016 school year. Preschool funding would kick in the next year for provisionally accredited districts.

The Seattle Times
July 8, 2014

report from the state’s Department of Early Learning suggests that the Washington Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) is making a big difference in these 3- and 4-year-olds’ lives – emotionally, physically, and academically. The report looks at the results from a new tool that the preschool teachers are using to rate everything from how well their students follow directions to how well they know the alphabet.

In the fall of 2012 (the latest data available), about half the children had the skills expected for their age in social-emotional development, language, literacy and cognitive development. A little over a quarter reached that level in math. By the end of the year, teachers reported that more than 90 percent reached what is expected in all those areas except math, which ended in the mid-80s.

The New York Times
July 8, 2014

The city is aiming to provide up to 53,000 full-day prekindergarten seats in the fall, more than double the number of full-day seats in the past year. About 40 percent of the seats will be in public schools and the rest in “community-based organizations” like Cypress Hills and Brooklyn Kindergarten Society, as well as charter and religious schools. Many of the schools, public and independent, have been hiring teachers for the wave of new children, and in a trickle-up effect, teachers at the independent schools are using their experience to try for better-paying city jobs. . .

For years, teachers at community-based centers have fought for salaries that better correspond to public school ones, as their own employment requirements have become more rigorous, and they have been asked to adhere to tougher educational standards.
July 8, 2014

The cost of failing children who arrive at kindergarten ill-prepared is huge — to the individual and society. Tragically, adult high-school dropouts are 19 times more likely to be incarcerated than college graduates, the U.S. Department of Justice has found. Once age 25, adults who dropped out are three times more likely to be unemployed as college graduates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

When sufficient resources are committed to proven approaches, strong results follow. A study of New Jersey’s pre-K program, undertaken between 2005 and 2012 by the National Institute for Early Education, revealed that this initiative closed about half of the achievement gap before kindergarten.
The Washington Post
July 8, 2014

Reading Corps, a tutoring program that started in Minnesota a decade ago, now operates in eight states and D.C. The program has two components that are organized differently: one for students in kindergarten through third grade, and another for preschoolers.

The Sacramento Bee
July 7, 2014

UP4WS has become a California model and gained national attention for its ambitious charge: making quality education available, accessible and affordable for every child 5-years-old and younger. Advocates and local officials point to the benefits of preschool programs down the road, from improved reading, language and math skills in elementary school to higher high school graduation rates, fewer contacts with law enforcement and increased adult earnings. The city estimates that 70 percent to 80 percent of its 4-year-olds are enrolled in preschool, compared to 63 percent statewide.

West Hawaii Today
July 7, 2014

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Saturday enacted into law a bill that opens farm dwellings to child care programs.

House Bill 2560 (Act 210) permits family child care homes in agriculturally designated districts if located in a farm dwelling, according to the Governor’s Office.

“This legislation makes it easier for farm families to access child care,” Abercrombie said in a prepared statement. “Keiki in rural areas like Upcountry Maui can now have a child care setting that provides open space and opportunities to learn about caring for animals and living off the land.”

July 7, 2014

Mayor Ed Lee and all 11 supervisors are backing the Children and Families First initiative. The measure would renew the children’s fund, which is expiring, and would raise its level of funding from three to four cents of every $100 the city receives in property taxes. Taxes wouldn’t go up, just the slice of them dedicated to kids. It would continue for 25 years, at which points voter would have to renew the funding again. The measure would also renew the Public Education Enrichment Fund, which gives city dollars to the school district in three pots: one for sports, libraries, arts and music; one for counselors and other support; and one for universal preschool for 4-year-olds. The latter pot would shift under the measure to encompass kids aged 3 to 5. It would also shift control of that pot from the state’s First Five Commission to the city’s new Office of Early Care and Education.

July 7, 2014

Community organizations like YMCAs and day care centers, which have long played a role in delivering state-funded pre-kindergarten programs under a new $340 million grant program approved in the state budget, will have a new degree of independence. In recent years, the state has spent about $400 million annually on pre-K, serving about half of the state’s four-year-olds in half-day programs. The state significantly upped that investment in this year’s budget, when a push from New York City mayor Bill de Blasio prompted leaders to earmark an additional $300 million for full-day pre-K in the five boroughs and $40 million for the rest of the state.