Early Education in the News

Huffington Post (Education)
September 29, 2014

We must continue to raise quality in order to provide children with the kind of early experiences that are proven to boost high school graduation, increase college enrollment and completion, reduce crime and prepare a skilled workforce for the 21st century. Unfortunately, California falls short compared to so many other states -- we meet 4 of 10 quality benchmarks as defined by the National Institute for Early Education Research. The state's $50 million investment in supporting quality at the local levels is one important way we can begin to change this.

Sioux City Journal
September 27, 2014

Preschool teachers in districts participating in the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program must obtain a bachelor’s degree in education and must also have an early childhood endorsement. The program, established in 2007, provides funding to participating districts to ensure area students have access to early childhood education programs. According to the Iowa Department of Education, 320 of the state's 346 districts were expected to participate in the program this year. . . 

“I think that early childhood isn’t something that every college has because they may have not had the numbers,” she said. “But now some colleges are adjusting.”

The Commercial Appeal
September 27, 2014

 Four urban Indiana counties selected for a state-funded preschool pilot program will launch it in early 2015, officials said Wednesday during a day of meetings among state and local officials and educators.

Marion (Indianapolis), Allen (Fort Wayne), Lake (Gary) and Vanderburgh (Evansville) County preschools will begin enrolling low-income children receiving state vouchers in January, with rural Jackson County in southern Indiana following later in 2015, WIBC-FM reported.

Wyoming Public Media
September 26, 2014

Wyoming spends a lot of money educating its children. The state comes in sixth place in per-student spending for K-12. But when you look at outcomes—like graduation rates—we’re stuck in the middle of the pack. Some educators say the key to boosting student performance is to put more focus on children before they start kindergarten. Wyoming is one of 10 states without state-funded preschool. And statewide survey data from 2009 showed that only slightly more than half of all kindergartners were considered “kindergarten-ready.” Recent efforts to expand and improve early education in Wyoming have been rejected by lawmakers. Research like Berry’s makes clear that what we experience in our first years of life--interactions, stresses, trauma—that all impacts our ability to think and learn throughout school and beyond. “We see that investing in early interventions and programs is more effective and more efficient than investing later in remediation and treatment,” Berry says.

Houston Chronicle
September 25, 2014

Access to preschool programs - and their quality - varies widely across Texas. A broad coalition of Houston-area executives, educators and nonprofit groups assembled by Houston's premier business organization is working to change that, though a major hurdle remains: securing funding in a state that ranks toward the bottom in pre-K spending per pupil. . . 

W. Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, said he's seen big cities increasingly take the lead in pushing states to improve pre-K. He said the benefits of a longer day depend on the effectiveness of the instruction. Texas' pre-K program meets only two of the institute's 10 benchmarks of quality, but it ranked in the top fifth in terms of access.

Inside Indiana Business
September 25, 2014

An early education initiative supported by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and local business leaders has received a pledge of $500,000 from the PNC Foundation. Indiana is one of only 10 states without state-funded preschool program for underserved children. Central to this initiative is a commitment to address some of the "root causes" of poverty and crime through investments in quality early childhood education programs for at-risk children.

The Tampa Tribune
September 24, 2014

As Early Head Start celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and the Head Start program is about to mark its half-century, a timely reassessment of the program’s effectiveness and the problems it sought to address is overdue. . . 

Studies differ as to the extent of the benefits of this federal investment; some report that children benefit well into their twenties, while others suggest the benefits disappear by third grade. When teamed with high-quality, evidence-based and performance-oriented pre-K programs, however, public funding has been successful.
Bloomberg Businessweek
September 24, 2014

The second time around, there's no more denying early childhood education a place on the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce's "Big 5" goals. The future social and economic health of the region depends on strong education, and schools are increasingly strained in playing their part, superintendents said. "Early intervention is absolutely critical," Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson said. That means boosting not only pre-kindergarten classroom programming, but reaching out to parents and the communities raising children from birth to 3.

Evansville Courier & Press
September 24, 2014

Four urban Indiana counties selected for a state-funded preschool pilot program will launch it in early 2015, officials said Wednesday during a day of meetings among state and local officials and educators.

Santa Fe New Mexican
September 24, 2014

Advocates of using part of New Mexico's $14 billion land-grant endowment to fund early childhood education will announce their newest campaign Wednesday in Albuquerque.

The want to expand early childhood programs by using at least $110 million a year from the endowment's earnings.

Similar proposals have failed in each of the last four legislative sessions.

The Kansas City Star
September 23, 2014

As national discourse, fueled by President Barack Obama’s new campaign for universal pre-kindergarten, begins anew with billion-dollar questions to be answered, know this: Parents such as the Griners want preschool — badly. More than 1,000 children across the Kansas City area sit on public preschool waiting lists, a survey by The Star shows. . . 

Kansas City Public Schools, in announcing an ambitious vision to create a district-community network to reach 6,000 preschoolers in its neighborhoods by 2015, put its price at $40 million. Missouri Sen. Joseph Keaveny hasn’t yet figured the fiscal note that would be tied to his legislation that proposes letting school districts count their preschool enrollment in the daily attendance counts that determine state funding allotment.


September 22, 2014

Sixty-five percent of Alabama kids under age 6 have both parents in the work force.

So while their parents work, many of those children spend their days at child care centers, preschool or kindergarten.

The child care and early education industries are critical not just to those 192,000 children, but also the state's economy, contended a new report released by a group arguing for more investment, and higher standards, in early care programs.

September 22, 2014

Megan Carolan, Policy Research Coordinator at NIEER explained how her organization developed its quality standards (p. 24-25). NIEER is an independent research-based organization out of Rutgers University.

"We actually review the research base on each of the ten benchmarks," Carolan said. "We've selected these 10 standards which are highly supported by the research."

NIEER's standards are only meant to be a baseline for state pre-k programs.

"Our hope was never to have the 10 benchmarks serve as a ceiling; rather, we want states to use them as benchmarks to track their own progress in achieving quality, first by meeting them and then by going even beyond them," Carolan said.

Chalkbeat Indiana
September 22, 2014

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s ambitious preschool program is in danger of being scrapped altogether after being stripped of its proposed funding method with no alternatives on the table.

City-County Council Democrats have said they are working to find another way to pay for Ballard’s $50 million preschool program — besides an elimination of the local homestead tax credit.

But nothing was unveiled at tonight’s council meeting except a statement from the council’s top Democrats that they would work to find an approach to fund preschool for 2016 — nearly two years from now. Until then, Council President Maggie Lewis and Vice President John Barth said children could be served next year by the state’s much smaller pilot program, which will reach nearly 800 economically disadvantaged four-year-olds in Marion County.

September 22, 2014

Calls for more preschool funding dominated the conversation Monday as Education Superintendent John White trekked to New Orleans to share his vision for the restructuring the state's child care system. Preschool providers and educators questioned how such changes would be financed for over the long-term, and wondered what additional cash was immediately available.

September 22, 2014

As the curtain begins to close on the 113th Congress, lawmakers showcased a brief burst of bipartisanship to push forward on two education measures that had been languishing in the legislative pipeline, one that underwrites child care for low-income families and another that directs federal education research.

Though neither bill is a blockbuster—and one got snared in wrangling over a single provision—the fact that they made the short list of actionable items last week just before the pre-election recess was impressive given the number of high-profile competing interests.

The Times-Picayune
September 19, 2014

In an attempt to improve preschool programs, the state is making significant changes this fall as it implements Act 3, which the Legislature approved in 2012 to revamp early childhood education. Louisiana began focusing on early childhood education under former Gov. Mike Foster, and now ranks 15th nationally for access by 4-year-olds to preschool, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. In 2002, only 12 percent of 4-year-olds in Louisiana were enrolled in preschool, according to the NIEER. Between 2008 and 2013, that figure hit a high of 33 percent. But it dipped to 30 percent in 2012-13. But the passage of Act 3 was seen as a good sign. "We are encouraged that Louisiana's commitment to quality standards for pre-K has weathered multiple challenges over recent years and remains focused on improving early learning outcomes," NIEER Director Steven Barnett said in May. Additional resources will be needed, though, "if the state is to achieve its goal that all children enter kindergarten ready to learn," he said.

CharlotteObserver.com [Op-Ed]
September 18, 2014

“On the whole, children in NC Pre-K exceed normal expectations for the rate of developmental growth, both while in the program and afterward in kindergarten,” said Ellen Peisner-Feinberg, director of FPG’s National Pre-K and Early Learning Evaluation Center and lead author of the report. “But one of our key conclusions was that those children who enter the pre-k program with lower levels of English proficiency make gains at an even greater rate than the other students.”

As important is the institute’s finding that NC Pre-K, designed at its 2001 inception to be a high-quality program, is paying off for all groups. “Children are progressing at an even greater rate during their participation in NC Pre-K than expected for normal developmental growth,” Peisner-Feinberg said. “Our research found growth in language and literacy skills, math skills, general knowledge, and social skills.” Further, the research shows that children enrolled in the state’s pre-k program continued to make gains even after leaving it. At the end of third grade, children from low-income families who had attended pre-k had higher reading and math scores on the N.C. end-of-grade (EOG) tests than similar children who had not attended the state’s program, she said.


Deseret News National
September 18, 2014

In a rare bipartisan compromise, the House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant program Monday. The Senate passed its version in March, and the compromise means President Barack Obama will see the final bill before the end of the session. The new legislation offers vouchers to low-income families that will allow them to obtain child care from their choice of providers, including faith-based organizations, according to a statement released by the Education & the Workforce Committee.


September 17, 2014

"What we know is that if kids have access to high-quality pre-K, then they're already off to a beautiful start," Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. told the children and more than 200 advocates and providers who packed the square. "Quite frankly, it's the difference between reading at a third-grade level and not. That's a big indicator for us for future success of a child."

The rally was sponsored by Pre-K for PA, a group that seeks to increase state funding for more early-childhood education. The state makes early-childhood education available to less than 20 percent of the state's 3- and 4-year-olds, rally organizers said.