Early Education in the News

May 21, 2015

For years, Indiana lagged behind other states when it came to educating three- and four-year-olds. Up until a year ago, it was one of a handful of states not providing state run preschool, but last legislative session Governor Pence signed legislation creating On My Way Pre-K, a pilot program funding preschool for low-income four-year-olds in five counties.

Around the same time, Mayor Greg Ballard charged his administration with beginning a similar program for low-income three- and four-year-olds in Indianapolis. Jason Kloth, deputy mayor for Education at the City of Indianapolis, led this effort and says preschool became a priority after reading research that backed it as a solid investment.

“We were facing a lot of challenges in the city around public safety and the mayor really felt we needed to have a more sophisticated point of view as to how we would tackle this problem,” Kloth says. “Meaning not just more police on the streets but a focus on making sure that children have the educational opportunities available to them that over time would lead them to lead productive and healthy lives.”

Both the Indianapolis Preschool Scholarship Program and On My Way Pre-K grant scholarships for families in poverty to attend a preschool rated Level 3 or 4, the top two levels of the state’s Paths to Quality Ranking system.

Cincinnati Business Courier
May 21, 2015

A tax to fund universal preschool for three- and four-year-olds is expected to be before Cincinnati-area voters in 2016, but a high-profile group of nonprofit, religious, government and business leaders have yet to decide upon which ballot to try to put it. . .

Leaders are still working out whether the Preschool Promise should be a program within the city of Cincinnati only or all of Hamilton County.

Pioneer Press
May 21, 2015

Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the state's education budget Thursday, setting up a special session of the Legislature in the coming weeks.

Dayton had promised to veto the budget earlier this week but couldn't use his veto power until the bill was officially presented to him. That happened Wednesday night. At 3:36 p.m. the next day, Dayton put his veto stamp on the $17 billion education spending plan for 2016-17...

Dayton wrote in his veto letter. "Also unacceptable is the absence of any version of voluntary, universal pre-kindergarten which will help 47,000 4-year-olds, which has been my number one priority in this session."...

Though Dayton dropped his demand for universal preschool in final negotiations, he's not giving up on the idea.

Tri-City Herald
May 20, 2015

Pasco School District’s request for $7.5 million for its new pre-kindergarten center did not make it into the state’s capital budget. That’s disappointing, exasperating and sad considering the desperate need for preschool programs around the state.

A recent study by the National Institute for Early Education Research ranked Washington 33rd in the country for state preschool access for low-income 4-year-olds. The dismal standing means the number of children enrolled in state early childhood education programs is way too low, and not enough children are ready for school when they start kindergarten.

If the state had approved construction money for Pasco’s new pre-kindergarten center, it would have been an asset to the community and would have helped the state boost its preschool opportunities. As it is, Pasco school officials will have to figure out other ways to proceed.

Lancaster Online
May 20, 2015

The disturbing fact is that 72 percent of today’s young Pennsylvanians are not eligible for military service because they are too poorly educated, medically or physically unfit, or have disqualifying criminal records. These shortfalls will continue to undermine the military’s efforts to recruit high-quality individuals.

In the end, this capability gap among our youth threatens both national security and economic prosperity. For this reason, more than 500 of my fellow retired generals, admirals and other senior military leaders have become members of Mission: Readiness — Military Leaders for Kids, in order to support targeted investments to help young Americans grow up to be educated, healthy, and fit to ensure our defense and to succeed in life.

Wilsonville Spokesman
May 20, 2015

Early childhood programs, though their scope is yet to be defined, are the likely winners in the scramble for $60 million that Oregon’s legislative budget writers have set aside for targeted education priorities.

It’s a scramble because the budget proposed by former Gov. John Kitzhaber for the Oregon Department of Education requested $220 million for targeted priorities.

Also pending are other proposals to spend millions more, ranging from a preschool program for children ages 3 and 4 to additional grants for career and technical education programs in middle and high schools.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
May 20, 2015

Since the inception of Head Start 50 years ago, our understanding of the importance of the early years for young children’s success has steadily grown. Now, a broad coalitionof local, state and federal policy-makers, school leaders, economists, business leaders, neurologists, and even military and police officers tout the benefits of investing in high quality preschool education. We now know that high quality preschool, often called pre-K, can be provided at large scale and still be effective at improving children’s school success.

Because pre-K is so important to creating lifelong benefits, we are passionate about expanding opportunities for young children to access high-quality, effective and affordable preschool education.

Washington Post
May 20, 2015

Beyond the diapers and sleepless nights, perhaps the biggest worry for parents with young kids is that almost no state in America provides affordable child care for those under 5.

That's a conclusion reached in a new report Wednesday from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Annual payments in several states are higher than college tuition rates, eating up to a third of a working mother's income. The average annual cost of full-time daycare for a baby in New York is now about $14,500. Parents can expect to pay roughly $16,500 in Massachusetts, $11,628 in California and $12,500 in Illinois. In metropolitan regions, including some of the most competitive work centers in the country, the price soars even higher. Yearly costs in nation's capital are on average at about $22,000.

“No state," the IWPR researchers wrote wrote, "provides adequate child-care supports to a majority of children under five." The West appears to dominate the bottom third of the rankings.

Think Progress
May 20, 2015

As a country, the United States is the only developed nation that doesn’t guarantee paid family leave or paid sick days, and it ranks toward the bottom for how much it spends on early childhood education. But things are even spottier at the state level.

In a new report, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research has for the first time graded each state on how well it supports working parents and, in particular, working women when it comes to paid leave, elder and child care, and the share of parents of young children who are in the labor force. Not a single state got a top grade; the highest ranked were California, New York, and Washington, D.C., which all got B grades. Three states, Indiana, Utah, and Montana, got failing grades. “It’s the outcome of very minimal federal standards on these issues,” said Ariane Hegewisch, study director at IWPR and the lead author on the report.

Washington Post
May 19, 2015

Most taxpayer-funded preschool programs in the District scored above targets for promoting social and emotional development and maximizing student learning time, and below targets for providing instructional supports to students, according to a new report released by the Office of the State Superintendent for Education.

The report, which evaluated programs during the 2013-2014 school year, is the first to use a common tool to measure the quality of pre-kindergarten classes across the city.

MPR News
May 19, 2015

An irritated Gov. Mark Dayton lashed out at Republican lawmakers on Tuesday, saying he would veto a bill that funds education without providing money for his top priority of universal pre-kindergarten.

For the past week, Dayton had intensely lobbied House Republicans and Senate Democrats to add spending for his pre-K plan for four-year-olds. . .

Dayton said he was told there is no support for universal pre-K among Republican legislators.

May 19, 2015

America is waking up to child care as a major political issue. Back in January, President Obama discussed it at length for the first time in his State of the Union address. “In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever,” the president said, as parents around the country cheered (or shouted “Finally!” in exasperation).

Our child-care problem is really a cluster of them. First, there is the cost. On average, according to a 2014 report by Child Care Aware, parents of an infant in Massachusetts spend a shocking $16,549 per year for child care—that's 53 percent more than public-college tuition. And Massachusetts is not an outlier: In his speech, Obama talked about a Minnesota family who spend more on child care than on their mortgage, which is not that uncommon.

Center for American Progress
May 19, 2015

Access to early childhood education must play a critical role in any national agenda that seeks to reduce income inequality, fix our broken criminal justice system, and close education achievement gaps, and the Strong Start bill represents a significant step in that direction. As our country begins to engage in a discussion about its direction in 2016 and beyond, Congress should send a clear signal that investing in our youngest Americans matters by passing the Strong Start bill.

Houston Public Media
May 18, 2015

A good start can go a long way in a child’s education.

But a recent report found that Texas needs to do more to ensure that early start in preschool really is a good one for its students.

Texas meets only two out of ten quality benchmark standards. That’s the lowest rating out of any state in the country, according to Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

“The teacher doesn’t have to have a college degree. In none of the classrooms is there a limit on class-size. There could be 35, 40, in theory 100 four-year-olds, in a classroom with one teacher and no assistant,” he said.

On the brighter side, Barnett said that Texas is doing a pretty good job on enrollment.

Newark Advocate
May 18, 2015

The National Institute for Early Education Research’s State of Preschool report also puts Ohio among the bottom in quality based on its 10 standards, but state officials say they are well on their way to improving.

“We are progressing. We are not yet where we want to be, but we’re getting there,” said Wendy Grove, Ohio’s director of early learning and school readiness.

The institute has ranked the nation’s state-funded preschool programs for the past 12 years for both accessibility and quality. Washington D.C. and 40 states have programs that, for the second year, have increased funding and seen modest enrollment growth.

“The Recession hit states hard and Ohio was among the hardest hit,” said Steven Barnett, institute director. “Still, they demonstrated that the education of young children is an important priority and are making strides with smart investments.”

Huffington Post (Impact)
May 18, 2015

Head Start was founded on the principles that education is the door to opportunity, and that everyone, no matter their background, deserves a shot at a productive life.

Since it was founded in the summer of 1965, Head Start, along with Early Head Start, has served more than 32 million children. This year alone, those programs will help more than one million children prepare for school and build a foundation for a healthier, happier life.

But this work doesn't just help children; it strengthens families and our entire community.

Parents are powerful partners, and as the original multi-generation program, Head Start helps them create and implement family strategies and supports their ability to work.

Newark Advocate
May 18, 2015

A new report shows Ohio tops the nation in its struggles to regain preschool enrollment that took a hit during the Great Recession, but funding boosts are helping.

The National Institute for Early Education Research’s State of Preschool report also puts Ohio among the bottom in quality based on its 10 standards, but state officials say they are well on their way to improving.

“We are progressing. We are not yet where we want to be, but we’re getting there,” said Wendy Grove, Ohio’s director of early learning and school readiness.

May 18, 2015

The Minnesota House passed the education finance bill early Monday morning – a bill Gov. Mark Dayton has said he’ll veto because it doesn’t give enough money to universal pre-kindergarten programs.

The bill passed the house 71-59 around 4:30 a.m. Monday. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass. It doesn’t include the funding for the pre-k program that Dayton has pushed for this session, but it does include $400 million in new spending, including an early education scholarship program and School Readiness early learning programs, the Session Daily reports.

Capitol View
May 17, 2015

With less than two days left in the legislative session and Gov. Mark Dayton threatening to veto a school funding bill, President Barack Obama’s chief education official is trying to put pressure on legislators to cut a deal that Dayton will sign.

“I am writing because of the extraordinary potential that high-quality preschool has to set children on a path to success in school and in life,” wrote U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a letter to House Education Finance Chair Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie and Senate Education Chair Charles Wiger, DFL-Maplewood.

“Extending that opportunity offers the potential to transform the lives of countless young children, in Minnesota and throughout the nation, for decades to come.”

Tuscaloosa News
May 16, 2015

Alabama's First Class Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program continues to lead the nation in quality for the ninth year in a row, according to a new study released May 12. Alabama is one of only four states in the country to meet all 10 quality benchmarks established by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

“A strong economic future is grounded in high quality education, and Alabama's First Class Pre-K Program provides a great foundation for students to prepare for success in life,” Gov. Robert Bentley said in a news release.