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Recent early education news and updates

In the News

Op/Ed: Early Education

July 5, 2018
Lisa Howard
The Daily Press

There is more to the recently passed state budget than Medicaid expansion. Gov. Ralph Northam, the House of Delegates and Senate made early education a priority with $6 million in targeted investments. The debate about early education has shifted from expanding access to ensuring that high quality in the classroom is at the core of the state’s investment. Sadly, many of our early childhood programs currently do not have the important elements of quality that lead to better outcomes for young children. These investments will show that Virginia’s children are better off when they have high-quality early education experiences.

In 2017, data from The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP), implemented in nearly half of our school divisions, showed that 40 percent of children in participating divisions entered kindergarten unprepared in at least one of the school readiness domains — math, literacy, social skills and self-regulation. Children who enter kindergarten behind their peers will struggle to catch up, and the readiness gap widens over time. Closing the gap begins with high-quality early education. Research tells us that the ingredients of high quality are: a well-designed curriculum, aligned professional development and coaching to improve teaching and learning in the classroom.
…These investments make this an exciting time for children, families and early educators in Virginia! There is still much work to do.Gov. Northam launched a new Children’s Cabinet that will be chaired by our First Lady, Pamela Northam, who will lead the initiative with a focus on quality and access to early education, nutrition and food security and safety for children and youth. We are well on our way to becoming a national leader in innovation and impact in early education.