Early Education in the News

IndyStar [Op-Ed]
September 12, 2014

If the great majority of our children are well equipped to thrive in the 21st century economy, then it’s likely our state and nation will thrive as well. The reverse also is true: If they struggle, we’ll all struggle. Invest in our children for the sake of economic gain? That may sound crass to some, but it’s an important answer as to why this city (and eventually the state) needs to ensure that every child has access to high-quality preschool programs. Based on decades of research, the return on that investment almost certainly will be rich, and long lasting.

Education Week
September 10, 2014

States applying for the newest federal early-learning grant competition will be more likely to clinch the federal funds if the proposals include a strong parent-engagement component, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Tuesday. "Parents' voices have to be heard on this," he said. "Having parents talk about the need, talk about the demand, it's imperative."

September 10, 2014

When U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited Chattanooga Tuesday as part of his back-to-school bus tour through the South, he talked about something he encounters often: Waiting lists to get kids into prekindergarten classes. He said federal grant money is available to boost the number of prekindergarten classes around the country. Duncan said that every dollar spent on prekindergarten education shows a $7 return on investment, because early education reduces such problems as crime and teen pregnancy.

Indy Star
September 10, 2014

Through it all, it’s important to remember that many people really do like the idea of having more kids in preschool and more cops on the street. These aren’t pie-in-the-sky ideas.

I have to believe that, by now, most Hoosiers understand that education is a route out of poverty and the earlier a kid starts school, the better. Having a preschool program will benefit not only those 1,300 or so families a year who qualify for it, but the entire city as we build the foundation for a more educated, economically mobile population.

Seattle Times
September 10, 2014

The campaigns behind competing Seattle ballot measures for prekindergarten education raked in more than $100,000 in contributions last month, with one plan receiving the lion’s share of the money.

Labor unions backing Initiative 107 — which will appear on the ballot as Proposition 1A — easily outspent private citizens in favor of Proposition 1B, which was created by Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council.

September 10, 2014

Many studies have shown the value of a preschool education.  The debate in Hawaii is over who should provide it. Supporters of the Ballot 4 amendment believe that there are advantages in using public funds to help students pay for private preschool.  They say it's a better education and in the long run, it's cheaper.  Also, they say the amendment would provide choice for parents.

Catalyst Chicago
September 9, 2014

As New York City rolls out an ambitious plan to offer free full-day prekindergarten for tens of thousands of 4-year-olds this fall, community activists and union members in Chicago say it’s time for universal early childhood education and child care in the Windy City. Calling their campaign “Bright Future Chicago,” the groups say the city needs to find creative ways to finance the expansion of existing preschool and daycare programs – and extending the hours – so that parents can work full-time while their children under 5 years old are in a safe learning environment.

September 9, 2014

 A full-day prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds living in the City of San Antonio returned positive results after its inaugural year, according to a statement issued by the city Tuesday. According to the city, the results of a recent study show students in Pre-K 4 SA met or exceeded the ability of children their same age around the country. The first-year performance study was conducted by Edvance Research Inc. and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), in affiliation with Rutgers University in New Jersey.

September 8, 2014

Seven in 10 Americans say they favor using federal money to make sure high-quality preschool education programs are available for every child in America. Twenty-eight percent oppose the idea. Such schooling has great potential benefits for children, instilling academic and social skills at a young age that can aid them throughout their school years. That may be one reason for Americans' widespread support for the proposal.

Many education experts view pre-K education as especially important for economically disadvantaged children, whose parents may not be able to afford quality preschool programs. Poorer and minority children often lag behind other students in academic achievement, and early education is seen as a way to close these gaps -- perhaps preventing them from emerging in the first place. The potential of closing the achievement gap is one of the motivating factors behind the Obama administration's push to expand federal funding for universal access to preschool. Reflecting that push, the question wording specifically referred to "using federal money" to pay for an increase in pre-K programs.

September 8, 2014

You already know that she's the cutest person in the room, but did you also know that she's the fastest learner? Your toddler's motor, language, and cognitive abilities are all in hyperdrive. "Kids advance more at this age than at any other time," says Parentsadvisor Jenn Berman, Psy.D., author of Superbaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years. "Each action your child masters is a significant breakthrough." Prepare to be amazed by these milestones, and learn how to take them to the next level.

The Washington Times
September 8, 2014

An overwhelming 70 percent of voters favor using federal funds  to provide universal preschool education, according to a new Gallup poll released Monday. The poll found that just 28 percent opposed the idea. The survey boosts the call by President Obamas and liberal Democrats for universal access to preschool education  for 4-year-olds prior to entering kindergarten. The expansion of free Pre-K education has become a campaign issue in some races this year, including the race for Maryland governor between Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Republican Larry Hogan.

Rolla Daily News (Missouri)
September 8, 2014

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced that the state plans to apply for a federal grant for needed funds for pre-K education.

The U.S. Department of Education Preschool Development Grant would provide the state with up to $17.5 million per year to expand high-quality preschool for 4-year olds in targeted high-needs communities.

The grant is renewable for up to four years and would allow Missouri to expand its early childhood education program.

Charleston Gazette
September 8, 2014

West Virginia is looking to upgrade its system for evaluating childcare programs.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources hopes to increase public awareness about childcare centers and revise evaluation standards – changes that will require funding and new legislation.

At the top of the wish list: A state-sponsored website where parents could see childcare program ratings. It would work much like a five-star rating system for hotels, restaurants and movies.

“With the consumer awareness piece, families could make more informed decisions about where they place their children,” said Jessica Dianellos, a DHHR early childhood education specialist, during a legislative interim meeting Monday. “It informs them about the care they’re choosing.”

West Virginia is one of only seven states that hasn’t fully implemented a quality rating and improvement system for day care centers and other early childhood education programs.

The Pitt News
September 7, 2014

During a four-minute interview on the popular news program, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto brought his city’s ambitions to national attention. The main topic of discussion: education. In the interview, Peduto spoke of a national interest in “universal education for 4-year-olds,” purporting that the country would benefit from the creation of a public system for preschool education. If given the chance, Peduto said Pittsburgh could “run with the ball” towards being one of the cities to lead the way with this new policy. The overall goal — universal preschool education — is admirable, as it has the potential to bring benefits. After all, science has supported the old saying that the brain being similar to a sponge in our youth. Effective education during this sensitive time of life is essential as it sets the tone for one’s entire educational career. But that’s the unanswered question: how do we effectively educate young kids?

September 7, 2014

When Alabama's governor takes the oath of office in January, old problems will dictate much of the agenda for his new term. The National Institute for Early Education Research gives First Class its top ratings on learning standards, teacher education requirements, class sizes and other benchmarks. Bentley said he will ask the Legislature for another $10 million increase next year. He said the state should gradually expand it be available to all 4-year-olds statewide. "Every child would have a foundation upon which they could build," Bentley said. The governor said statistics show the value of First Class. All of its children, for example, have gone on to become grade-level readers in third grade. Moreover, pre-k narrows the achievement gap: Low-income children who experience pre-k are less likely to struggle later. "It is the most important thing we can do in education," the governor said.

The Roanoke Times
September 4, 2014

As children head back to school, a new campaign aims to shine a light on quality child care and preschool programs.

“Back to School with Q – School Readiness Starts with Quality” will highlight area programs participating in the Virginia Star Quality Initiative and Smart Beginnings initiatives that are affecting school readiness.

September 4, 2014

Glenn Peters knew he would be in the minority when he started training to teach preschool as part of New York City's rollout of universal pre-K, the largest such initiative in the country. But he didn't realize just how rare men are in the profession until he attended a resume-building workshop for aspiring pre-K teachers.

The Hechinger Report
September 4, 2014

A new report by the research and advocacy group Voices for Illinois Children provides insight into the extent of the disparities in that state, along racial and economic lines. The findings are particularly stark for Latino children, only 40 percent of whom attended preschool in Illinois at most recent measure, compared with 58 percent of white children and 55 percent of black children. In Chicago, preschool enrollment was lowest on the northwest and southwest sides, both predominantly Latino, and highest on the affluent north side. Also in the important-but-not-surprising camp: Forty-four percent of young children in low-income Illinois homes attended preschool in 2012, compared with 60 percent in wealthier households. When the authors looked at different geographic regions, the gap extended across the entire state. And that’s just access. Quality is another matter entirely, one much harder to measure, and not quantified specifically in the new report. But a national rating scale estimates that only about a third of preschool programs anywhere, public as well as private, qualify as “good.”Once again, look at class and race, and children from wealthier homes are more likely to attend good programs. African-American children are least likely to attend quality programs.

The New York Times
September 4, 2014

Under the stewardship of Carmen Fariña, the schools chancellor, who has spoken frequently about her commitment to joyful learning, more and more poor children will theoretically be taught as the city’s affluent children are, which is to say according to the principles of immersive, play-based, often self-directed and project-driven learning. Different corners of the classroom will be devoted to various kinds of play — blocks, for instance, or dramatic play. Certain subjects will be taught intensely for one to three weeks at a time. If a teacher is doing a segment on botany, a child may choose to open a flower shop in the area devoted to dramatic play, as Sophia Pappas, the city’s director of early education, explained to me. If a group of children spontaneously decide one day to open a restaurant, she said, a teacher might suggest to them that the way to remember what their friends have ordered is to write the orders down. The hope is that the child will then begin to try and sound out the spelling of a word like “pizza. . .”

A long-term study by the HighScope Foundation, an educational research group, compared the outcomes for at-risk, economically disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds randomly assigned to different preschool groups deploying different types of curriculum. By age 15, those who had more progressive preschool instruction reported half as much delinquency as those who had received more conventionally rigorous academic training. By 23, those who had been taught according to a more child-centric paradigm demonstrated fewer felony arrests, less emotional impairment and more aspiration to higher learning.

The New York Times
September 4, 2014

It was the first day of prekindergarten for 36 children there and more than 51,000 of their tiny peers across New York City, the start of a vast and ambitious expansion of prekindergarten in the nation’s largest school system. Mayor Bill de Blasio, elected on promises of fighting income inequality, trumpeted the expansion of prekindergarten as a crucial step in leveling the playing field among children and declared it his first priority. His push to expand the system so rapidly, more than doubling it in eight months, is seen as a crucial test for his young administration.

For the city’s 1.1 million public school students, Thursday was the start of a school year with a variety of shifts and challenges, like the continued adoption of the Common Core standards and significant modifications to the teachers’ union contract. But all eyes were on the prekindergarten programs, spread across the city at 600 public schools and 1,100 community-based organizations and religious schools that pledge secular instruction during city-funded prekindergarten time.