Early Education in the News
Maryland has launched a new government Web site that allows people to sift through the results of inspections of several thousand licensed child care providers in the state, including day-care centers and registered home-based care providers. The Web site allows users to search by company name, jurisdiction and type of provider.
Proponents of a rating system for child care centers in Missouri rallied on Tuesday in support of legislation aimed at helping parents better judge the strengths and weaknesses of early childhood programs. For the past two years, supporters of the concept have tried but failed to persuade the Legislature to approve a new five-star rating system for childhood programs in both centers and homes.
The economic stimulus plan that Congress has scheduled for a vote on Wednesday would shower the nation's school districts, child care centers and university campuses with $150 billion in new federal spending, a vast two-year investment that would more than double the Department of Education's current budget. The proposed emergency expenditures on nearly every realm of education, including school renovation, special education, Head Start and grants to needy college students, would amount to the largest increase in federal aid since Washington began to spend significantly on education after World War II.
The report, titled Right and Smart, argues the state devote more resources to helping children between the ages of birth and five. Early investment in these programs, focusing specifically on the birth-to-three age group, will eventually produce a healthier and more productive workforce, the report says.
With a second reduction in money for voluntary pre-kindergarten recently finalized and another rough economic year for the state ahead, early childhood education advocates are worried about whether more cuts are to come.
Seventy percent of 4-year-olds and 40 percent of 3-year-olds are in preschool, but the numbers are expected to grow rapidly. How will parents figure out which schools are best for their kids?
Wisconsin has 319 school districts that offered public preschool programs in 2008-09, with 33,976 children enrolled, a 22.4 percent increase over the previous school year, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
Rep. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, and state Sen. Dewayne Bunch, R-Cleveland, said pre-kindergarten is among numerous state-funded programs that could go on the chopping block when legislators begin wrestling with a $900 million deficit. Rep. Bell said ... the pre-kindergarten program is strongly supported by Gov. Phil Bredesen and cuts would face opposition from his administration.
Advocates argue all children need access to preschool; opponents cite studies pointing only to benefits for disadvantaged kids. The debate leaves parents wondering how much -- if any -- preschool their children really need.
Autism tops Barack Obama's medical to-do list, according to the new president's website. Obama called for ... universal screening for all infants for autism disorders, as well as re-screening for all 2-year-olds.
[New Jersey Education Commissioner Lucille] Davy also said that while Gov. Jon S. Corzine remains committed to expanding public preschool, funding it will be difficult without federal support. President-elect Barack Obama included federal funds for public preschool in his campaign platform, and state officials are hoping some money might be included in a federal stimulus package.
Now consider the long-term return on investment when we have nurtured and raised a generation of more educated, creative, resourceful and innovative workers. A wealth of studies have examined the benefit-cost ratios of early childhood development programs and found their net benefits both positive and large; on average, a $1 investment in quality early care and education provides between $4 and $8 in reduced costs associated with such social outcomes as lower rates of grade retention, special education placement, adolescent pregnancy, drug use, and criminal activity — at the high end this is a 17-percent return on investment.
More early childhood education and better support for working families will be key to moving Louisiana families out of poverty, state and national experts said Thursday. The majority of [Child Poverty Council] members said expansion of early childhood education and child-care assistance were the most effective strategies in achieving the council's goal, according to a survey conducted by the council's consultants.
Arne Duncan, President-elect Barack Obama's pick for Education secretary, promised a new emphasis on early childhood education at his confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Duncan said he would work to do something "dramatically better" in early childhood education, and he said Obama was committed to the creation of a commission on early childhood education.
Economists have backed up Churchill's instinct with hard data: public investment in the institutions, programs, and systems that support the healthy development of all young children in a community yields a high rate of return. Indeed, there are few public investments that are likely to bring better societal benefits or larger long-term monetary savings.
In this report, some of the findings reinforce the value of common practices, such as teaching young children the alphabet. But "some of the patterns are different from what people predicted, and that's going to change practice," says Timothy Shanahan, chairman of the National Early Literacy Panel, which released the report Thursday.
Advocates of early childhood education initiatives such as Head Start are lobbying for early childhood funding to be included in the stimulus, but lawmakers and education experts say they may be disappointed. Those calling for Head Start funds in the stimulus, however, argue that increased funding is an infrastructure investment.
Aside from going after non-classroom spending like bus services for kids in magnet schools, instructional materials and online classrooms, the Legislature is looking at adding more children to pre-K classrooms. As it is, about 59 percent of Florida kids take advantage of the program.
This legislative session, South Dakota lawmakers will consider a state-funded pre-k program for your kids. The state is one of only 12 without such a program, and one senator says the legislature needs to revisit the issue.
The issue of pre-K schooling has been often overshadowed or dismissed in North Dakota – one of only about eight states not spending any money on pre-K programs. But there is a growing movement among lawmakers and school officials to change that this year.