Early Education in the News

August 11, 2014

More than 8,000 public preschoolers were suspended at least once, and some multiple times, during the 2011-12 school year, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection conducted by the U.S. Department of Education. During that year, black students represented 18 percent of preschool enrollment and 48 percent of students suspended more than once. Boys represented 54 percent of the preschool population and 82 percent of preschool children suspended multiple times. A child's early education, which includes preschool and elementary school, sets the foundation for future success. And for at-risk children with histories of poverty, abuse or neglect, this foundation reduces their likelihood of dropping out of school, having children as teenagers, or becoming entangled in the criminal justice system. Sadly, the CRDC data further support a rising trend in our nation to discipline young, bright children with a "zero tolerance" policy that is setting them up for failure. "If you have a preschool and you expel the children who need it the most, you're sabotaging your rate of return," according to Walter S. Gilliam, a psychology professor at Yale University and director of the school's Child Study Center.

NWA Online
August 9, 2014

Word of mouth was the only advertisement needed when the Springdale School District added seats to a prekindergarten program this fall. There will be 980 classroom spots for children ages 3 and 4 this fall, said Darlene Fleeman, Springdale prekindergarten director and principal. Late Thursday morning, there were 41 seats left. Six parents came in to enroll students just before noon, she said. She's applied for an extension that would add 60 more children, Fleeman said. . . 

The National Institute for Early Education Research gave Arkansas high marks in its State of Preschool 2013 report. The state scored a 9 out of 10 on quality standards, ranked 12th in state spending and 14th in availability. The report estimated 51 percent of 4-year-old children in Arkansas were enrolled in either state-backed programs run by public and private entities, special education or federal Head Start programs, compared with a national average of 41 percent. Ten states had no program. Arkansas was one of 11 states with a full school day program

The Washington Post
August 7, 2014

Kindergarten has changed so much over the past decade; it is so much more work and so much less play. No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have brought learning standards with higher (and not necessarily developmentally appropriate) expectations of these young children, and the partner of these standards, assessment, plays a huge role in today’s kindergarten classrooms. The validity of using this testing, often administered to 5-year-olds before or at the very beginning of kindergarten, to track learning is questionable at best. Children this age aren’t necessarily “test-ready”: they may hesitate to answer a strange adult’s questions, or prefer to stare out the window, and many don’t understand that giving a complete answer actually matters. Sadly, it does. Once upon a time we had a different vision for what the kindergarten year should be: a time for play and experimentation and the sorting out of self that leads to further learning. How can we create those kinds of learning environments again? Here are 10 ways schools can stop failing our kids in their earliest years, and begin building passionate learners from the start.

August 7, 2014

Early childhood teachers are receiving an increase in pay from federal and local grants totaling $600,000. The Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children has been awarded four grants to help implement a national project called the Child Care WAGES. 

Tech Times
August 7, 2014

Depression in kids in preschool is likely to continue throughout adolescence. Researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis found in a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry that tracked 246 children from ages 3-5 and 9-12 that depressed preschoolers were 2.5 times more likely to exhibit depressive symptoms into elementary and middle school.

In the study 51 percent of the children who were originally diagnosed with depression still exhibited symptoms of depression while only 25 percent of the children who were not diagnosed with depression earlier on went on to develop depression in adolescence.

Dallas South News
August 6, 2014

On Tuesday, LAUP (Los Angeles Universal Preschool) hosted the country's first Preschool Nation Summit. Held at the world headquarters of Scholastic Inc. in New York City, the summit featured Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is currently implementing his "Pre-K for All" program, as keynote speaker. . . . The summit examined the short- and long-term benefits of quality early education, successes and challenges of early learning programs around the country, the need to define and improve quality and more.

The Observer (Texas)
August 6, 2014

A total of $7 million in grants received by the Children’s Learning Institute at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) will fund projects to compare the effectiveness of different instructional approaches and learning environments in order to improve the school readiness skills of at-risk preschool children.

New York Times
August 5, 2014

Fourteen states in 2012 enacted policies either mandating or strongly recommending that schools hold back students who could not read properly by third grade. Districts in Arizona and Colorado also offered summer school for struggling third-grade readers for the first time this year, then will consider whether to hold back some of them before the new school year begins.

August 5, 2014

Ms. Rich, the child-services official in Chicago who chairs the National Head Start Association, said her connections with the program date back to its first summer, when she was a 12-year-old volunteer passing out cartons of milk. She now oversees her city's Head Start program, which serves nearly 17,000 children.

Whatever changes come to Head Start, she says, should never separate it from its core mission of serving poor children and families.

"The minute that we take our eye off making sure there's a program for poor children in this country, I worry they will be swept aside," Ms. Rich said. "We still have a huge need in making sure the poorest and most vulnerable are taken care of."

NJ Spotlight
August 5, 2014

Next month marks the 25th anniversary of the oral arguments over New Jersey’s most important public education lawsuit, Abbott v. Burke.

On Sept. 25, 1989, the Education Law Center (ELC) argued on behalf of students attending schools in Camden, East Orange, Jersey City and Irvington that New Jersey’s method of school funding, which left districts almost entirely dependent on local tax levies, violated the state Constitution’s promise of access to a “thorough and efficient education system.”

Washington Post
August 5, 2014

For years now education leaders have been pushing onto school districts school reforms that don’t show any sign of working while giving short shrift to those that have a track record of working. Gary Ravani, a 35-year public school teacher and president of the California Federation of Teachers’ Early Childhood/K-12 Council, explains in this post.

August 5, 2014

In a speech to national advocates for pre-kindergarten, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday eased into his role as the face of a movement for access to early childhood education. At the same time, he gave little sense of his own administration’s preparations to have teachers and classrooms for more than 50,000 four-year-olds starting school next month.

Instead, the mayor spoke broadly about efforts to expand preschool access in cities such as San Francisco, Miami, and San Antonio—efforts he said are reshaping the national conversation.

“If we’re going to address the inequalities that we face, in many ways, more than ever in our society, pre-k is one of the answers,” he said at the Preschool Nation Summit, organized by a Los Angeles group advocating for universal access to pre-k. “We’ve got to say that full-day high quality pre-k is going to be the national standard.”

August 4, 2014

The state of Kansas has received a $1 million grant — the minimum amount presented to each of 50 states and the District of Columbia — from the Department of Health and Human Services as part of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, federal officials announced Monday.

Established by the Affordable Care Act, the program helps fund state home visiting services to women during pregnancy, and to parents with children up to age 5.

New York Times
August 4, 2014

Because of inadequate public school capacity, the de Blasio administration has been urging religious schools and community organizations to consider hosting the added programs. 

But the push is raising fresh questions for civil libertarians concerned about church-state issues, and for the schools themselves, which want to help the city and qualify for its roughly $10,000-per-student tuition payments while preserving some of the faith-based elements that attract their main clientele.
IndyStar [Op-Ed]
August 4, 2014

Fundamental to the American experience is the belief that our children have the opportunity to reach whatever heights to which they aspire. The surest, most effective way to provide them with such an opportunity is to create a pathway to success through early childhood education. Indiana is one of only 10 states without a state-funded preschool program for underserved children. The mayor’s initiative is an important first step, along with the state’s pilot grants, toward addressing Indiana’s early childhood education needs. If we help children succeed in school, they have an opportunity to experience social and economic mobility that may not otherwise be possible.

The Denver Post Editorials
August 3, 2014

Currently, the sales tax stands at 0.12 percent, which is 12 cents on every $100 spent. The proposed ballot question would boost this to 0.15 percent, or 15 cents on every $100. The increased funding would enable the program to offer and sustain summer programming and respond to demand for full-day and extended-day programming. That would be money well-spent to help 4-year-olds show up for kindergarten prepared to tackle the curriculum put before them.

This preschool program, approved by voters in 2006, provides the most support to low-income families who send their 4-year-olds to preschools with the highest-quality ratings. Catching these children early and ensuring they are up to speed may save taxpayers money in the long run, lowering the chances they might need remediation in higher grades.

The Wall Street Journal
August 3, 2014

Across the city, preschool directors are gearing up for an unusually ambitious expansion. The program was a major campaign promise of Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the clock is ticking for opening day in September. Many centers were still hunting for staff at July job fairs, outfitting classrooms and training teachers. The city aims to offer 33,000 full-day seats in community centers this fall, up from 3,360 last year. District public schools will have 20,400 full-day spots, up from 16,100.

LA Times
August 3, 2014

Delgado, like thousands of other child-care providers, receives some funding through subsidized vouchers for low-income families. The budget for child care has stayed flat for years while costs have risen, and early childhood education advocates say circumstances continue to be challenging. This is the first year since the start of the recession that California has had a budgetary surplus. The boost will primarily benefit state child-care centers and providers, as opposed to private ones such as Delgado's. This year, the state has allocated $76.6 billion for K-12 education, including $2.1 billion for the youngest Californians who are eligible for state-funded preschool and child care. Among other initiatives, the budget covers preschool and day-care slots, improving the quality and access to early childhood education and a 5% increase in the reimbursement rate for about 2,000 state-contracted home care providers.

The Washington Post
August 3, 2014

The District’s Briya Public Charter School enrolls parents and young children together in the same school, a novel effort to improve children’s prospects by building the skills of those who are closest to them. It’s an approach that an increasing number of researchers and philanthropists are promoting across the country as experts worry that investments in early childhood education or school improvement can only go so far. Many modern school reforms emerge from the idea that schools can overcome the adversities children experience in their life outside of school. But dual-generation approaches — in which parents are pursuing education in tandem with their children — echo research that shows that amother’s education is one of the strongest predictors of a child’s academic success.

Greenville Online
August 2, 2014

Yet according to at least one measure out this past week, things are not improving. The prospects continue to be bleak for South Carolina’s children who too often grow up in poverty, with few economic opportunities and with public schools that need to be improved. Schools need to be improved. That starts with funding. It starts with an emphasis on improving reading skills. It starts with increased access to early childhood education. The state has made strides in each of these areas over the past year. Gov. Nikki Haley has advocated for more funding for public education, especially in the realm of technology; the state has implemented a program designed to ensure all third-graders are proficient readers; and discussions continue about furthering expanded access to 4-year-old kindergarten.