Early Education in the News
In a scene that is likely to be repeated in school districts throughout California in coming weeks, teachers and staff at the Helen Turner Children’s Center in Hayward spent last week packing boxes, hugging their colleagues and students goodbye—and collecting their last paychecks. In May, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would slash spending on extended-care programs by 40 percent, forcing districts to make deep cuts and working parents—most of whom have very limited options—to scramble for new childcare arrangements.
More and more West Virginia children will have access to quality pre-kindergarten programs starting next year. Office of School Readiness Assistant Director Clayton Burch says, as of right now, 15 county school systems have pre-K programs the state Department of Education has already approved.
Led by one of Montana's most successful industrialists, a group of nonprofits has launched a drive to bring large private donations to Montana's cash-strapped early childhood educational system — where the average teacher makes less than $17,000 a year.
Supporters of early childhood education worry about the impact of cuts Gov. Pat Quinn has announced to education. Though preschool and early learning programs are supposed to receive the same $342 million they did last year, many of them haven't yet been paid for last year and had to dip into reserves to keep going.
Believed to be the first study of its kind in Los Angeles County, the LAUP study followed more than 400 of its preschoolers, assessing their skills in the fall of 2008 in 24 categories of skills and behaviors like self-care, motor skills, self-regulation, social expression and general knowledge.
Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant says he's appointing a panel of business and education experts to study a privately funded early childhood development program with hopes of establishing a statewide model. Mississippi is the only state in the South and among only a handful nationwide without a state-funded prekindergarten program, according the state Department of Education.
Planned cuts to a program that helps special-needs children assimilate into early childhood education have been delayed because a state department failed to draft the necessary administrative rules to legally make the changes. The cuts to the state Department of Health's early intervention program, also known as the Part C program, were scheduled to take effect July 1.
The precursor to reading success is exposure to a lot of language and literacy from birth to 5 years of age: at home, in child care, in preschool or Head Start. It is also the best time to intervene when a child has not been exposed to high-quality language and literacy environments.
The West Virginia Board of Education has approved 40 counties' plans for implementing universal prekindergarten programs.
Another good year for the Georgia Lottery meant more money for the state's pre-kindergarten and HOPE college scholarship programs, but it isn't enough to keep state officials from worrying about HOPE's future.
Commonly called "quality improvement systems," these programs use stars or other benchmarks to help parents identify the best and worst day cares. Holly Robinson, commissioner of the state Department of Early Care and Learning (also called Bright from the Start), said the state plans to pilot a quality improvement program this summer.
Improving tomorrow's economy is possible only through smart policy investments today in our human capital - beginning with our youngest children.
Preschool advocates are worried that the recommendations, if enacted, would undermine an early childhood education system the state has spent more than a decade building in the wake of a court mandate to help at-risk children get ready for school. Governor Christie's "privatization task force" released a report Friday urging him to stop building new pre-kindergarten facilities at public expense, allow more students in smaller classrooms, and require public preschools to charge fees that reflect the full cost of running their programs.
Once again, Alabama's pre-kindergarten program has been chosen as one of the two best programs of its kind in the nation in terms of quality. But despite successful efforts of local school systems and the Riley administration to offer the program to more eligible children, it still reaches far too few of them.
Indiana does not require children to attend school until they turn 7. It does not require children to attend kindergarten at all. And it is one of only eight states that do not fund preschool.
[State lawmakers] can't properly fund the popular and important Pre-K Counts program, which provides a free head start to children at risk of failing in kindergarten and beyond. One option to save the program, or even help expand it, is to charge those who use it -- but even a small fee might be too much for the families of children most in need.
Every weekday, hundreds of thousands of Georgia's young children are dropped off at child care centers while their parents head off to work. Most of the infants and toddlers and many of the preschoolers likely go to classrooms that provide low-quality care.
Lawmakers approved $98.6 million for the Great Start School Readiness Program, an effort to help low-income, at-risk children become prepared for school. The budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 now goes to Gov. Jennifer Granholm for her signature.
We cannot solve our educational crisis in Texas without a strong and committed investment in our youngest Texans. Ultimately, Texas taxpayers will pay the largest price tomorrow for a lack of action on early education today.
Through better funding, Minnesota can improve and expand access to early childhood programs, so that more children are prepared for school. According to a yearly survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Education, kindergarten teachers say only 52 percent of incoming students demonstrate proficient knowledge, skills, and behavior.