Early Education in the News
Republicans and Democrats don't find common ground on much these days, but they appear to agree on one thing: the importance of early childhood education. Although there would be an upfront investment that could increase the deficit in the short-term, voters were still supportive and agreed it would pay for itself down the road by improving education, health and economic situations for children.
"That’s an important takeaway, particularly for those who feel it’s not the right time to increase investments or spending," Perry says. "The earlier you start, particularly with children in poverty, the better their preparedness is for kindergarten and beyond, and those gains can last a lifetime. Those folks who do better not only aren't using expensive programs like special ed, but they’re becoming productive members of society and paying taxes."
More than three-quarters of all 4-year-olds in the US are enrolled in some kind of educational program, according to the Organization for Economic and Community Development.
That puts the US at 25th of 38 rich countries and developing economies — behind Mexico, France, and Portugal, among other nations.
The education ministry may shift portions of the first-grade primary school curriculum into the educational and childcare programs at kindergartens and preschools as part of forthcoming curriculum revisions, it has been learned. The proposal would incorporate elements of first-grade education into kindergarten instruction and preschool childcare guidelines. Society and science classes taught in the first and second grades of primary school would be discontinued, while "life-environment" -- a subject first introduced in the 1992 academic year that stresses hands-on activities -- would be introduced to preschoolers and kindergarteners.
Preschool programs should be integral parts of elementary schools with comparable funding levels and school hours; child-care professionals should be trained as teachers, not babysitters; and state data systems should include information about early education, according to a blueprint for speeding up improvements in early education.
The report published Wednesday by the non-partisan New America Foundation includes wide-ranging policy recommendations for the future of early learning, spanning academic standards, teacher training, assessments, funding and evaluations that emphasize how well teachers interact with children.
A proposed extension and increase in the Denver preschool sales tax is a step closer to making the November ballot. The City Council's Government & Finance Committee on Wednesday approved the ballot measure 3-1. The proposal would reauthorize the 0.12 percent sales tax, narrowly approved by voters in 2006, and increase it to 0.15 percent. The tax would expire in 2026.
The program has provided more than $55 million in preschool tuition credits for 32,000 children, including 4,813 in the last school year. Credits are available under the program to all families in the city with 4-year-olds based on economic need and the quality of the preschool program being sought.
Criteria for designating preschool as high-quality include having comprehensive early learning standards, a maximum class size of 20 children and teachers with at least a bachelor’s degree, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. They should also provide at least one meal, vision, hearing and health screenings and referrals as well as support services such as parent education and home visits.
Only four states -- Alabama, Alaska, North Carolina, Rhode Island -- and one of Louisiana’s three programs met all 10 of the organization’s benchmarks for state preschool quality standards in 2013, according to the organization.
The introduction of a public preschool program for disadvantaged children would, in the long run, increase college enrollment by 3.6 percentage points, according to a 2013 paper by economists James Heckman of the University of Chicago and Lakshmi Raut of the Social Security Administration.
The distribution of such human capital is a growing area of focus as some economists see gaps widening early on based on what money can buy. Children from poorer families may miss advantages that include time spent with their parents and early childhood education, which is linked to better brain development, higher test scores and, in turn, greater earnings, said Sean Reardon, professor of education and sociology at Stanford University. . .
Criteria for designating preschool as high-quality include having comprehensive early learning standards, a maximum class size of 20 children and teachers with at least a bachelor's degree, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. They should also provide at least one meal, vision, hearing and health screenings and referrals as well as support services such as parent education and home visits. The introduction of a public preschool program for disadvantaged children would, in the long run, increase college enrollment by 3.6 percentage points, according to a 2013 paper by economists James Heckman of the University of Chicago and Lakshmi Raut of the Social Security Administration.
That early learning is critical is one of the few points of agreement in today’s education reform debate. Unfortunately, actually improving early childhood education on a large scale is trickier than it looks at first. The high return on investment for strong early childhood education has become a well-worn talking point. Estimates as high as $16 of benefit for every $1 invested raise eyebrows and catch attention. Those benefits come from many sources: higher income (and thus higher tax revenue), lower K-12 expenditures for special education or remediation, and—one of the most beneficial—lower crime rates, producing lower justice system expenditures and “savings” for victims. Of course, some students benefit more than others, and the return on investment numbers capture trends, not absolute guarantees for each student.
A new Indiana University study has tracked the links between early language skills and subsequent behavior problems in young children. Poor language skills, the study suggests, limit the ability to control one’s behavior, which in turn can lead to behavior problems such as ADHD and other disorders of inattention and hyperactivity.
Governor Nathan Deal has announced that individuals who further their education in early childhood care from eligible colleges between January 1, 2014 and July 1, 2017 could receive a financial award. This new program from the Governor and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning includes approved Early Childhood Care and Education programs at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.
Teaching new mothers the best way to read to their infants is just one of Leal’s many responsibilities as a home visiting nurse. Nurses like Leal offer pregnancy advice, monitor child development and explain parenting techniques to women who are young, low-income, or struggling with domestic abuse. They begin working with new mothers in the first or second trimester and continue until the child turns 2.
Now, with an influx of money from the Affordable Care Act, Leal is one of a growing number of home visiting nurses in California and across the country. While the money lasts – it’s set to run out on March 30, 2015 – nearly 1,800 California women will be visited by a nurse every few weeks as a part of the California Home Visiting Program that launched in 2012.
A D.C. councilmember is sponsoring legislation to prohibit the city’s public schools from suspending or expelling pre-kindergarten students except in rare circumstances.
The legislation from Councilmember David Grosso follows a recent city report that found 181 3- and 4-year-olds received out-of-school suspensions in the 2012-13 school year.
The Washington Post reports (http://wapo.st/1nna5is ) that the proposal applies to both the city’s traditional and charter schools.
The scaffolding of support for the Common Core curriculum standards continues, right and left, to lose a beam here, a platform there. After adopting the standards, with vocal support from the governor, both the Oklahoma Legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin have now abandoned them. The American Federation of Teachers was once a big supporter. At its meeting over the weekend, though it didn't switch to outright opposition, it voted to set up grants for teachers to critique or reformulate the standards. . .
D.C. Council member David Grosso’s push to prohibit public schools from suspending and expelling pre-kindergartners comes in response to a city report that found that 3- and 4-year-olds were punished with out-of-school suspension 181 times during the 2012-2013 school year.
That report, produced by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, represents city officials’ first attempt to produce a comprehensive picture of suspension and expulsion across both traditional and charter schools. Using data reported by schools, the agency found that about 10,000 of the city’s 80,000 public school students — or about 12 percent — were suspended at least once in 2012-2013.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a direct correlation between income levels and educational achievement. Michael A. Rebell is the executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Columbia University. He said this is the explanation for the United States lagging behind in comparison with other countries in international tests.
Area superintendents are applauding Gov. Jay Nixon’s signing this week of a bill that would include state funding for early childhood education programs in schools. House Bill 1689 was co-sponsored by State Rep. John Wright, D-Rocheport. It would include funding for the programs for 3- and 4-year-olds in the state’s foundation formula for districts that have them or start them. The programs are voluntary on the part of school districts and it’s the decision of parents if they want to enroll their children in the programs. The bill would only allow districts to count preschoolers eligible for free and reduced-price meals in the formula, and caps the number of students for which the district can receive funding to 4 percent of the total number of students eligible for free- and reduced-price meals.
The five major gubernatorial candidates agree Rhode Island needs a strong school system for its economy to thrive, but their plans to transform it differ. Parents who played with their children at Lippitt Memorial Park in Providence this week said they want the state to provide prekindergarten education because preschool is expensive and they are concerned with the quality of education in the public schools. Emma Sperling, of Pawtucket, said she worries she will have to move to a different school district before her 2-year-old son goes to kindergarten. Democratic candidates Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell want to spend more on public schools. The first policy Taveras proposed as a candidate was state-funded universal prekindergarten education for all 4-year-olds.
Across the state, school districts are running into low preschool attendance rates with the three biggest obstacles being funding, transportation and parent awareness. Pedersen is passionate about reaching out to families and making sure these families know that Cardinal is not simply a school district but also a support system. Low-income families are a top priority for Pedersen who hopes that all children enrolled in the Cardinal district have the same educational opportunities. With 70 percent of the school's students under the poverty line, it is important to provide these students with as many future opportunities as possible. According to The National Institute for Early Education Research enrollment is up 10 percent in the last decade.
Myanmar has launched its first ever multi-sectoral policy on early childhood care and development ( ECCD), calling for increased government investment in the services for young children to enable them to have a better start in life and for the hopeful future of the country. Wednesday's state media quoted President U Thein Sein as stating that the future of children depends on the implementation of ECCD activities which are not just about the quantity but also the quality of services.
Missouri’s school funding formula could be expanded to include preschool students under legislation signed by Gov. Jay Nixon. Unaccredited school districts could start counting preschool students in their attendance figures used for calculating state funding beginning with the 2015-2016 school year. Preschool funding would kick in the next year for provisionally accredited districts.