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Education Column: For Head Start Children, Their Turn at Testing


December 4, 2002 AssessmentGovernance and AccountabilityState & Local
Jacques Steinberg

The Bush administration intends to require each of the 500,000 4-year-olds in the federal Head Start program to sit for a standardized examination measuring such information as how many letters and numbers they can recognize, and whether they know how to hold a book right side up. They will then take the same exam the…

Seeking grade-A preschool: Bill would pour $1 billion into early childhood education


December 1, 2002
Ed Hayward

Armed with polling data that show Bay State residents want more preschool options for children, a broad-based coalition plans to file legislation this week proposing a $1 billion, 10-year early-childhood education reform program. Major targets include establishing a system to improve the training of the preschool work force; promoting full-day kindergarten in all cities and…

Plan advocates preschool for all 3- to 4-year-olds


December 1, 2002 AccessUniversal and Targeted
Susan Herendeen

Universal preschool, which would guarantee access to quality child care for 3-and 4-year-olds, sounds like a long shot in an age of budget deficits and program cuts. But that’s what California’s new Master Plan for Education calls for, and the idea is taking root in several other states as well.

Madison School District plans to offer a voluntary, half-day kindergarten program for 4-year-olds


November 30, 2002 AccessUniversal and Targeted
Doug Erickson and Patricia Simms

The Madison School District will unveil plans next week for a voluntary, half-day program for 4-year-olds, extending a national trend toward schooling ever-younger children. Spurred by increasing pressure to improve test scores and convinced that getting to students earlier is an answer, Madison officials tout the initiative as the next step in attacking an achievement…

Technology playing greater role in early childhood education


November 29, 2002
Peggy Walker and Dawn White

Every day, new technology and studies define new and different ways for parents and child care providers to teach young children. Although educational computer programs seem to be the hot item right now, it’s important to remember that children still need interaction with other pupils and they still need plenty of hands-on activities.

Editorial: Prepping for Preschool


November 29, 2002 AccessUniversal and Targeted

[I]t is only a matter of time before the movement for universal preschool education reaches the U.S. Capitol. In fact, some 42 states and the District of Columbia now offer some form of pre-kindergarten education, even if it is only to supplement Head Start, the federal program designed to bring early education to lower-income students….

Opinion: Strong Families, Strong Young Minds


November 27, 2002 Economics and Finance
David S. Broder

The Abecedarian Project was expensive, as preschool programs go — $13,000 per child, about twice the cost of the average Head Start program. But it paid off in multiples, the researchers said.

The Preschool Push


November 26, 2002 AccessUniversal and Targeted
Cheryl Wetzstein

[P]owerful voices are now urging the United States to create government-funded preschool programs that are free to all children. With preschool fees prohibitive for many families, advocates say publicly funded preschools — like France’s “ecole maternelle” — would be an excellent way to engage all children.

Stille introduces pre-school bill


November 25, 2002 AccessState & LocalUniversal and Targeted

State Sen. Leon Stille, R-Grand Haven, has proposed legislation that would create a new learning program for Michigan’s pre-schoolers. It would be provided to all Michigan 4-year-olds without reducing funding for existing education, health and child development programs by the 2006 school year.

Comment: Tales Out of Preschool


November 25, 2002 AccessEconomics and FinanceUniversal and Targeted
Rebecca Mead

The provision of decent universal preschool education may seem like a pipe dream, but a study released last week by the National Institute for Early Education Research points out the economic benefits of providing high-quality, year-round, full-time programs. “Such programs pay for themselves, and then some,” Leonard Masse, a co-author of the report, says.