Early Education in the News
Right now, most of the students who go to kindergarten full time are either poor or at-risk students, meaning they are entering the school system below grade level in terms of reading. But after going to kindergarten full time, educators say those students are either meeting or exceeding the test scores of their peers.
Last fall, the preschool moved from serving only children with severe developmental delays to an integrated setting, where children with mild to severe delays, as well as no delays, mix. Integrated programs (also referred to as inclusion) can benefit children with and without disabilities, particularly with respect to social development, according to the National Professional Development Center on Inclusion.
The California Department of Education has just come out with its first ever list of skills preschools should be teaching. The 205-page document is full of recommendations to push children further than many schools are used to.
The education budget, which the Senate will likely debate today, also would increase spending on prekindergarten by more than $9 million, almost doubling this year's amount.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell today joined Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Member Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) at Jedediah Smith Elementary School's preschool program to highlight a new legislative bill package aimed at expanding quality preschool options for children in California. The bills, sponsored by O'Connell, Preschool California, Children Now, and the California Child Development Administrators Association, will streamline funding for preschool and improve preschool quality.
Louisiana Senate Bill 286 and its twin in the House (HB 722) would make pre-kindergarten programs available to every Louisiana 4-year-old by the year 2013. The potential long-range benefit to the student and the state is considerable, and the hefty price tag that comes along with it should be considered a long-term investment rather than a short-term expense.
With the deadline for applying for a state early childhood education grant approaching, Mount Vernon School District Superintendent Jeff Schwiebert told those attending a preschool forum last week that the district would be applying.
Also during the meeting, the joint committee approved an interim study by Rep. Nancy Blount, D-Marianna, which creates a task force to study the development of a birth-to-kindergarten teacher license in the state. Blount said such a program would allow for day care teachers to receive further training in how to teach children too young for preschool.
According to the Center for Public Education, every dollar spent for pre-K can save up to $16 in public education because fewer students need to be placed in special education classes, and that means fewer students are held back. Also, studies show pre-kindergarten education increases test scores and graduation rates.
Publishers of many major children's Web sites should do a better job disclosing sales and advertising information to parents, especially as more kids at younger ages go online to play and meet friends, says a study released today by Consumer Reports WebWatch and the Mediatech Foundation of Flemington, N.J. The study, "Like Taking Candy from a Baby: How Young Children Interact with Online Environments," used ethnographic methods and focused on young children, ages 2 1/2 to 8.
AB2759, authored by Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, would consolidate all of the existing state preschool, prekindergarten, family literacy, general child care and development programs. It would then create the California State Preschool Program, the largest state-funded effort of its kind in the nation.
The question is how to get all children ready, when economic factors, types of child care and early childhood learning opportunities vary so greatly. More focus on early childhood learning by establishing an Office of Early Learning might just help boost the bottom line, supporters say.
Children who can identify letters and sounds before kindergarten are 20 times more likely to read basic words by the end of kindergarten than children who don't know their letters or sounds, according to Pre-K Now. The Washington, D.C. advocacy group also says students who start behind often also stay behind; 88 percent of first-graders who struggle at reading continue to struggle with reading in fourth grade, the group reports.
The state's plan to nurture early learning in young children has become a large, very active effort, according to Kathy Glazer, director of the governor's newly created Office of Early Childhood Development.
It is well worth exploring how making early childhood education available to most Quebec children, not just those whose parents can afford it, has played into its students' above average literacy and math skills. Several U.S. studies and one that looked at the Quebec program concluded that the benefits to children - cognitive, academic and health - and their families, far outweighed the costs.
So what can be done to improve our state's high school graduation rates? The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study tracked children from impoverished backgrounds and concluded that students who attended high-quality preschool classes are more likely to graduate from high school.
President Bush's $1 billion a year initiative to teach reading to low-income children has not helped improve their reading comprehension, according to a Department of Education report released on Thursday. The program, known as Reading First, drew on some of Mr. Bush's educational experiences as Texas governor, and at his insistence Congress included it in the federal No Child Left Behind legislation that passed by bipartisan majorities in 2001.
Debate continues over whether Atlanta ought to adopt a lottery system for pre-k rather than rely on the first-come, first-served basis that favors parents with the financial wherewithal to take off work for most of the week. The real debate ought to center around why there aren't enough high-quality pre-k classes to go around.
Child care workers typically earn less than locker-room attendants and service-station workers, pulling in $18,820 a year in 2006, according to a report released Thursday. Despite recent attention about the importance of early education, the hourly rate of the industry's arguably most important people, child care workers with some college education, rose only 39 cents over the last 35 years, AFT said.
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius wants more children from low-income families to have a chance at preschool and, based on the statistics, a better life. This year, she asked the Kansas Legislature to spend a lot more money — $27 million extra — on early childhood learning.