Early Education in the News
Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) has commissioned the University of Georgia and Georgia State University to study the impact of the child care industry on the economy of Georgia. The most recent such study, conducted in 2007, showed that child care programs in Georgia created over $4.1 billion in revenues annually, while creating over 61,000 jobs.
“It has been seven years since our last economic impact study, and we know conditions have changed since then,” said Interim Commissioner Amy Jacobs. “The previous study revealed the significant impact the child care industry has on Georgia’s economy. Now it is time to gather current data and to gauge the impact of the Great Recession on the industry. As Governor Deal continues to emphasize job creation in our state, it is important to understand the economic impact of the child care industry in Georgia and to recognize that it is a viable economic engine across the state.”
The Indianapolis City-County Council was scheduled to introduce a five-year pre-K pilot program Monday night. After months of discussion, council Republicans and Democrats have struck a deal to fund a preschool program for low-income families.
Rachel Harrison has already started thinking about her 15-month-old daughter Sophia’s education, but she didn’t know preschool would be an option until now. "It'll open up the doors for a lot of kids and definitely my kid because I believe that they should be in school," Harrison said
A bipartisan group of councillors was introducing a plan to help the area’s neediest families. A family of four with an annual income of about $30,000 or less would be eligible to send their 3-year-old or 4-year-old child to preschool.
Positive early experiences forge the foundations for lifelong learning and behavior. And, to optimize the development of each child, a rich nurturing environment is required (Diamond & Hopson, 1998; Fischer & Rose, 1998). Study after study validates the “need for” and the “benefits of” Early Childhood Education.
Evaluations of quality pre-kindergarten (pre-k) programs have found that children exposed to high-quality early education were less likely to drop out of school, repeat grades, or need special education, compared with similar children who did not have such exposure. (www.nieer.org)
Even though Hawaii voters rejected allowing public money to be spent on private preschool programs, supporters of the ballot measure say they're glad the campaign raised public awareness of early childhood education. "More people are talking about early education than ever before," said Deborah Zysman, executive director of the Good Beginnings Alliance, which pushed for a yes vote on the question posed in Tuesday's general election.
Supporters contend a public-private partnership is a cost-effective way to help children in a state where nearly half enter kindergarten without any preschool. The Hawaii State Teachers Association objected, saying it would lead to vouchers to attend expensive private preschools. Now both sides say they want to see how the other devotes resources toward finding a way to achieve public preschool without relying on a network of private providers.
While Louisiana is launching an ambitious overhaul of its pre-K system, how to pay for it is a recurring problem. The issue flared last week during a lengthy meeting of a 30-member advisory panel that is making recommendations to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Alan Young, former president of the Child Care Association of Louisiana and a panel member, charged that some of the new rules for pre-K centers are so costly and rigorous that they could be forced to close. Another worry is that charges generally assessed to parents could rise so sharply that they would pull their children out of the centers. State aid is badly needed, Young said, but no easy options are available.
Recently, The PNC Financial Services Group hosted the Guinness World Records attempt for largest vocabulary lesson as part of Grow Up Great, our early childhood education program. More than 4,000 pre- kindergarten children in 37 cities across 15 states and the District of Columbia participated. Locally, students from the Millcreek Children’s Center in Youngstown took part in the lesson created by our education partners. The event raised awareness of the critical role of vocabulary in a child’s development.
One of the earliest indicators of a child’s future success is the number of words he or she hears prior to kindergarten. Language development begins with the interplay of words between the parent and child and helps nurture vocabulary, which is considered the building block of education. The frequency and richness of natural conversation in a child’s first years plays a key role in development.
The Obama administration is directing states to show how they will ensure that all students have equal access to high-quality teachers, with a sharp focus on schools with a high proportion of the poor and racial minorities.
In a letter to state superintendents released Monday, Deborah S. Delisle, an assistant secretary at the Department of Education, said states must develop plans by next June that make sure that public schools comply with existing federal law requiring that “poor and minority children are not taught at higher rates than other children by inexperienced, unqualified or out-of-field teachers.”
States last submitted plans to address such inequities in 2006, but data shows that large disparities persist.
The state's Board of Public Education will hold a hearing this week on adopting preschool standards.
Governor Steve Bullock's Early Edge proposal http://earlyedge.mt.gov/would make available, voluntary and high-quality early childhood education to every Montana four-year-old.
The state's Board of Public Education will hold a hearing this week on adopting preschool standards. Governor Steve Bullock's Early Edge proposal would make available, voluntary, high-quality early childhood education to every Montana four-year-old. On the Governor's website, he states that he will request a $37-million dollar biennial appropriation from the legislature. That money would go to the school districts in non-competitive grants.
Imagine 100 children performing better than their peers and above the national average in every area of school readiness. Now imagine that most of those children are living in low-income, at-risk households. This success is really happening at United Way of Acadiana’s Early Head Start.
How can we provide more at-risk children access to this same opportunity? The answer is clear — to invest the scarce resources we do have in the area of education that yields the largest return on investment: early childhood education that provides universal pre-K for at-risk 4-year-olds.
When San Francisco voters overwhelmingly reauthorized the city's universal preschool program on Tuesday, ensuring an annual $27 million for the next 24 years, other California cities may well have sat up. The Obama administration's call for universal preschool has cities nationwide thinking about how to implement such programs. New York's mayor swept in a pilot project this year that offers preschool to four-year-olds and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia wants to do the same. But a model for funding and implementing a global program for preschool may be just up the I-5.
A $600,000 grant awarded to the University of Texas Health Science Center will help expand health services to potentially thousands of children from birth to age 3 and increase the kinds of screenings available to those participating in an Early Head Start program, officials have announced.
Gov. Steve Bullock seeks federal funds to better educate Montana 4-year-olds, and here’s why. Positive early experiences forge the foundations for lifelong learning and behavior. And, to optimize the development of each child, a rich, nurturing environment is required (Diamond & Hopson, 1998; Fischer & Rose, 1998). Study after study validates the “need for” and the “benefits of” early childhood education.
Evaluations of quality pre-kindergarten programs have found that children exposed to high-quality early education were less likely to drop out of school, repeat grades or need special education, compared with similar children who did not have such exposure. (www.nieer.org)
Over the last 20 years or so neuroscientific research has demonstrated the importance of the early years of life to human development. More recently, University of Chicago economist James Heckman has persuasively argued that intervention in the lives of our youngest children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, is one of the wisest investments we can make to ensure America's future prosperity. The Obama White House has proposed that high-quality pre-school be extended to every child in America and has been convening meetings around the country with a broad group of stakeholders dedicated to his early learning agenda.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says government funded universal preschool is a “social movement” and compared it to civil rights and gay marriage during a speech in Los Angeles last month. “At the end of the day for me this is really a social movement,” Duncan said when discussing federally subsidized preschool at the LA Universal Preschool (LAUP) forum on Oct. 21.
The access and quality gap in Vermont's Child Care System
Most people agree that "choice" is a good thing. But when it comes to choosing a child care provider, many Vermont parents may not feel like they have much choice available to them. And that's something we need to change.
A plan to provide early education to kids in Marion County is getting new life. City County leaders say changes were made from the original proposal Mayor Greg Ballard talked about four months ago. They say the new bi-partisan plan focuses on families who need help the most and expands access to 3-year-olds.
“There are kids who don’t get to go to pre-school, and they come to kindergarten 2 or 3 years behind, and it’s very hard to catch up,” Republican City County Council Member Jeff Miller said. Miller says that’s why he’s passionate about helping all families afford high-quality pre-school programs.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to use $17 million from private investors to provide half-day early childhood education for 2,618 students sailed through the City Council Wednesday, despite concern about the “very high rate of return” for investors. The Chicago Teachers Union and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Illinois and its City Council allies have likened the arrangement to the much-vilified parking meter deal. That’s because the so-called “social impact bonds” will actually come in the form of a $17 million loan from the Goldman Sachs Social Impact Fund and Northern Trust as senior lenders. Subordinate lenders are the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation. The annual interest rate of 6.3 percent will allow lenders to more than double their $17 million investment over an 18-year period. But, they will be repaid only if students realize "positive academic results."
In the weeks since Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s perplexing decision not to pursue federal funding for preschool for low-income children, a few things have been clarified. Chiefly, it’s clearer how bad this decision was for the state’s low-income children. Projections from state agencies indicate that the $80 million in federal money over four years would have tripled the number of children in the state’s pre-kindergarten pilot program. Locally, those involved in early education count the costs of Pence’s decision in the hundreds of 4-year-olds preapproved for Head Start who won’t be able to enroll this year because the slots are taken, the classrooms full.
As the Obama administration effectively enters its twilight years in the wake of the midterm elections this week, some prominent U.S. Department of Education officials who were originally in charge of its splashy initiatives—including the stimulus-born Race to the Top program, the No Child Left Behind Act waivers, and the multibillion-dollar School Improvement Grant expansion—have left the building. Such churn is typical when a presidential administration is nearly three-quarters over. But losing big names that helped birth major programs—and bringing in new people to replace them—can have an impact on both policy direction and implementation as the department works to ensure its ideas remain rooted at the state and local levels.
"It feels like there is a greater weight and more demands on this team than your typical end of the administration," said Andy Smarick, who served as a deputy assistant secretary in the Education Department toward the end of President George W. Bush's tenure. "They need to make sure they land this plane."