Early Education in the News

August 22, 2014

The citywide drive to place more children in quality preschools has made a few tangible gains since spring – adding a director, picking two lead agencies to guide some efforts and offering preschool to 235 more children. RE4CLE's  broader goal is to make quality pre-school available to at least 70 percent of the city's 5,400 four-year-olds, as well as a similar amount of three-year-olds. As of last spring, research by the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University, a partner in the task force, showed that only about 1,200 attended a quality pre-school program.

Raising Arizona Kids
August 20, 2014

The First Things First Early Childhood Summit at the Phoenix Convention Center on Monday and Tuesday attracted about 1,200 professionals and community members involved in early childhood education and health. . . 

According to Kagan’s research, the wealthiest and poorest families have more access to early childhood education than middle and lower income families. The poorest families benefit from government programs like Head Start, but those with middle incomes are not eligible for that or similar programs. Kagan also noted that Nevada, South Dakota and Arizona have the lowest rates of preschool participation in the country.
WV Gazette
August 20, 2014

The article of July 22 “West Virginia ranked low for preschool access,” relies on rankings by the Kids Count Data Center that fail to recognize all the facts about early childhood education in West Virginia. It is incredibly unfair to all those hard-working people who built our pre-K program to cite rankings in a way that implies their work has been anything less than a huge success. We owe it to them to convey the whole story and the true state of preschool in West Virginia. Thanks to the efforts of Gov. Tomblin and the Legislature in 2013, next year West Virginia will be one of a handful of states that meets all 10 quality standards established by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). By state law, West Virginia’s universal pre-K program can enroll very few 3-year-olds, only those with federal individual education plans. This is true for most states, and, according to NIEER, West Virginia outpaces the majority, ranking eighth in the nation for participation of 3-year-olds. 

The Hill
August 20, 2014

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) called on Congress to increase the childcare tax credit.

“Making child care affordable isn’t just about helping New Hampshire families make ends meet, but it’s about strengthening our economy too,” Shaheen said Wednesday. “My plan to update the child care tax credit is something working families and our economy really need and I hope we can act on it soon.”

August 20, 2014

In a series of studies published in the journals Development and Psychopathology, and the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, researchers led by Isaac Petersen, a doctoral candidate in child clinical neuropsychology at the Cognitive Development Lab at the University of Indiana, Bloomington, tracked children's language development from preschool through the early teen-age years, comparing language skills with behavior issues rated by parents and teachers, as well as the students' performance on impulse-control tests.

After controlling for students' sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, prior levels of behavior problems, and academic performance in mathematics, reading, and short-term memory, Petersen found students' language skills predicted their later behavior problems more strongly than behavior problems predicted later language skills.

August 19, 2014

State superintendent Glenda Ritz says Indiana will apply for a federal grant that would help establish infrastructure to create high quality preschool for all children throughout the state. Ritz spoke about the grant opportunity Tuesday during her opening remarks at the Indiana Department of Education sponsored Early Learning Summit, which gathered early educators and IDOE staff to look at the major issues facing those who teach children from birth to third grade.

August 19, 2014

Monique Hurtado found a preschool course for her child on the Internet. For years, websites have offered free preschool handouts or activity guides. Now, parents can get an entire preschool curriculum from a computer. . .

It's a sign of where early education may be headed in these times of high preschool costs and long wait lists. Some experts, however, think limited and targeted screen time can be positive for young brain development. Dr. Gary Small is the author of "iBrain" and a professor of psychiatry at UCLA. His work looks at the effect of digital devices on the brain. He found computer and device use “allows us to exercise our brains” - even for little children.

Huffington Post (Education)
August 18, 2014

Between 1970 and 2010, the number of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in both public and private preschool increased nearly four-fold, underscoring a growing awareness about the academic, social and emotional benefits of early childhood education. Studies have shown that low-income children who attend high-quality preschool are more successful academically, more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in postsecondary education, and experience lower rates of negative outcomes such as incarceration and teen pregnancy. While some states have cut funding for public pre-K in recent years, early childhood education continues to be a priority for most states and enjoys bipartisan support. But we must do more to ensure all children have access to high-quality early childhood education regardless of where they are born.

Recordonline.com (NY)
August 18, 2014

Several school districts in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties will be among dozens in New York state to receive state funding as part of an ongoing initiative to build a full-day Universal pre-Kindergarten program.

About $340 million will go out to 81 school districts and community-based organizations, opening 37,000 pre-K slots in the state, according to a statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. The money was included in the 2014-2015 budget and is the first installment of $1.5 billion committed by the state to the project over five years.

August 18, 2014

Michigan’s big investment in a state-funded preschool program will give thousands of additional children a shot at a better start to their education this coming school year. That opportunity is coming via the second year of a two-year, $130-million increase in funding for the state’s Great Start Readiness Program — one of Gov. Rick Snyder’s big priorities. The program takes kids who are poor or at risk and puts them through classes and activities that help prepare them for kindergarten. 

August 18, 2014

State education officials are looking to expand preschool services to Kentucky families. Kentucky is among 35 states that qualify for the expansion grants, said Terry Floyd, the education department’s chief of staff. But only a few of the 35 states will be selected to participate in the $160 million expansion grant program.

New York Times
August 18, 2014

Several studies, including one released last year by the federal Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights, have found that black and Latino students are far more likely to face harsh disciplinary procedures. A department study released this year found that black students faced more severe discipline as early as preschool: Nearly half of all preschool children suspended were African-American.

SC Times
August 16, 2014

As the lifelong impacts of high-quality early childhood education have become better known, the early years of a child’s life have become a matter of education policy. It’s also important to remember the importance of publicly supported child care and early childhood education as a way of supporting working families.

People who are most skeptical of the program point to the infamous “fade out” effect. Head Start does provide an academic boost to participating children as they go into kindergarten, but their advantage fades away by third grade. This is sometimes held up as an example of the program’s failure, although others argue that strong early childhood education — whether provided by Head Start or another program — is more like a vaccine. The more children who enter kindergarten well prepared, the less time and energy teachers have to devote to helping kids who are behind catch up to the kids with, well, the head start.

WAKA Montgomery
August 15, 2014

Alabama's Pre-K program is ranked one of the highest in the nation, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. This year, more Pre-K classes are open than ever before, and more than 1,800 additional children are enrolled, thanks to the expansion of the state's "First Class" grant program.

90.5 WESA
August 15, 2014

The skills of reading, writing and basic math are attained by some children who attend preschool.  This can provide preschoolers with a significant head start over children with no pre-kindergarten education. Studies have shown the gap between the two groups  grows as their schooling progresses. The benefits of preschool are especially important for children deemed “at risk.” These advantages of have led many parents and politicians, including civic leaders in Pittsburgh and across the state of Pennsylvania, to call for state-funded preschool. 

Catalyst Chicago
August 15, 2014

After years of budget cuts, enrollment in state-funded preschool programs in Illinois has fallen to levels not seen in nearly a decade – before the state rolled out its ambitious Preschool for All initiative, according to a new report by Voices for Illinois Children. . .

While state funds are limited, Hawley’s office has successfully pursued other federal grant opportunities, including millions of dollars in Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grants, to expand early childhood education opportunities in the state. She said Illinois will also be preparing an application for a new $250 million preschool development grant competition that was announced earlier this week.

The Huffington Post
August 15, 2014

But despite the advances, there has been a recent uptick in the single most important factor for predicting a child’s school readiness and life outcomes generally: whether or not he or she lives in poverty. After recessions end, the child poverty rate tends to continue climbing, and current circumstances appear no different. Even with different ways to measure it and different conclusions, KIDS COUNT shows a reversal of some of the gains made earlier in the past quarter-century, with approximately 16.4 million kids officially living in poverty in 2012. The number of children in single-parent homes was up, too: 35 percent, versus 25 percent in 1990. . .

What that means in practical terms is a great need for high quality early childhood education to help prevent the achievement gap that so often is already entrenched for poor children before kindergarten. But many states have been cutting back just as the need intensifies.

August 15, 2014

The mayor’s office is working with the City-County Council, United Way of Central Indiana and a collaboration of business, government, schools, philanthropic, corporate and other organizations to take full advantage of the funding available from the state for qualifying low-income families. Is it affordable? All the available studies, data and just plain common sense suggest we need to reframe the question: How can we afford not to invest in helping our children define a path to self-sufficient adulthood, while also safeguarding the long-term well-being of Indianapolis?

Lancaster Online
August 14, 2014

Kindergartners may not have to do literary analysis, but academic expectations for the new students are definitely rising in public schools. Experts call this shift toward higher academic expectations a push-down effect. Policymakers across the nation are increasingly concerned about how American students rank on international comparisons, and education reformers often point to third-grade test scores as an indicator for later academic success. With that focus, the pressure on earlier grades has heated up.

Chicago Mag
August 14, 2014

And somewhat amazingly, a baby’s level of level of anticipatory smiling—her interest in sharing positive experiences—seems to predict future social behavior. . .

This interest led me to the work of James Heckman, the Nobel-winning economist who’s one of the most prominent advocates for investment in early-childhood education.  it’s about an intensive, small-scale early-childhood programs that took place in the past. But this one took place in a developing country—in Kingston, Jamaica. And it dealt with extremely young and extremely poor children, from nine to 24 months who were “growth-retarded": stunted from malnutrition. Heckman and his colleagues found that these extremely disadvantaged children, developmentally behind their peers just a handful of months into their life, saw immense benefits decades after the program.