Early Education in the News
A vast majority of Minnesota school districts would receive more state aid than proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty under a $11.96 billion omnibus K-12 finance bill presented by House Republicans on Monday.
New Jersey parents are shelling out thousands of dollars for child care and preschool - straining household budgets more than a college education - yet child care salaries are so low that workers couldn't afford to send their own children.
State officials attributed the delay to rigorous building inspection procedures required of early-education facilities that took longer than expected and required additional construction in some cases.
A key part of Rendell's proposal calls for full-day kindergarten for all children; preschool for children in high-poverty districts; and smaller class sizes in grades K-3, starting with the state's poorest districts.
Child care in New Jersey can be more expensive than housing, and infant care can cost more than a minimum-wage job pays, according to a new survey of child-care costs in the state. The study, "Child Care Wage & Benefit Survey and Child Care Market Rates," released yesterday, also found that child-care workers in New Jersey earned $16,900, below the federal poverty level for a family of four.
In the 1980s, Illinois joined a handful of other states in launching a state-financed pre-kindergarten program for youngsters who were considered at-risk of educational failure due to poverty or other socioeconomic factors. The long-term goal is to make it possible for Chicago parents, if they choose, to enroll their 3- and 4-year-olds in an affordable, high-quality program taught by qualified teachers.
Even as it makes cuts in day care -- a move that could end up swelling Louisiana's welfare rolls -- the Foster administration is setting aside $10 million to expand prekindergarten in the state. Expanding one promising benefit while slashing one on which families already rely isn't a reasonable trade.
The grant will support improvements in classroom reading instruction including teaching based on what research shows works, early identification and help for reading difficulties, monitoring student progress, and continuous, high-quality professional development for teachers.
Children who participate in high-quality early childhood education programs arrive at school with better language skills and can get along better with their peers. They are 40 percent less likely to need special education or be held back a grade.
Many local educators were concerned that early childhood funding would be set at level funding, which would eliminate teaching positions.
On Wednesday, Gov. Gary Locke and top legislative Democrats unveiled an ambitious new Education Trust Fund financed by a permanent, dedicated tax to improve the public education system from preschool through college. The idea is to enhance the school and higher education budgets, not to find a way to pay for what lawmakers already finance, the governor and state schools chief Terry Bergeson told a news conference.
North Carolina's state auditor recommended Wednesday that the state's Smart Start program be combined with Gov. Mike Easley's initiative for at-risk 4-year-olds to save money, avoid duplication and minimize confusion -- a suggestion Easley immediately rejected as uninformed. Smart Start's $193 million budget is distributed to 82 local nonprofit partnerships that decide how to spend the money judging by the needs of children up to age 5 in their communities.
A recently released report entitled, "The Well-Being of Young Children in Middletown" says the program has been an unmitigated success in preparing young children socially and academically for elementary school, and giving poor and minority families greater access to preschool. The report cites developmental tests given to all children entering kindergarten in 2001-02 academic year, showing the longer a child spends in preschool, the better their motor, conceptual and language skills.
Lawmakers in New Hampshire and Hawaii are considering measures that would let their states walk away from footing the bill for the program Bush pushed through Congress, which is commonly known as No Child Left Behind. Iowa, New Jersey, North Dakota, Tennessee and Washington are among states that have resolutions calling for more federal funding to help implement the new testing and learning standards required by the federal education law.
The idea behind the award-winning "Rolling with Pre-K" program evolved into a collaborative effort between school-district officials and community partners. The buses, BUST'R (Building Upon Strength Through Reading) and BETSIE (Bringing Everyone Technological Success in Education) were remodeled by a local high school woodshop class and then outfitted with generators, toilets, and donated laptop computers.
Educators and early education advocates will descend on Albany this week to voice their concerns about the governor's proposed cuts to UPK, a program that serves about 60,000 students from primarily low-income families.
Gov. Mike Foster's proposed budget cuts $15 million out of a $135 million program that helps low-income families cover child-care costs.
Pre-kindergarten programs in Florida's public schools are so strapped for money that some may close this year -- just as the state gears up to pay for pre-K classes for all 4-year-olds. The job of helping prepare Florida's youngest children to learn could fall increasingly to private operators, including day-care centers.
On Friday, the metro area's most competitive private schools, such as Pace Academy, the Westminster Schools and Lovett School, mailed letters to let parents know whether their children would be welcome in the fall --- a letter many parents view as a predictor of whether thick or thin envelopes will arrive when it's time to apply to college. About 41,000 metro Atlanta students attend private schools, which is about 6 percent of the school-age population, according to the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
Pennsylvania taxpayers have had a dozen days now to absorb the details of Rendell's proposal, and some are finding that it affects them a little too personally. The budget proposal was designed to equalize the way schools are funded in Pennsylvania and shift the burden from property owners to wage earners.