Early Education in the News
Teaching new mothers the best way to read to their infants is just one of Leal’s many responsibilities as a home visiting nurse. Nurses like Leal offer pregnancy advice, monitor child development and explain parenting techniques to women who are young, low-income, or struggling with domestic abuse. They begin working with new mothers in the first or second trimester and continue until the child turns 2.
Now, with an influx of money from the Affordable Care Act, Leal is one of a growing number of home visiting nurses in California and across the country. While the money lasts – it’s set to run out on March 30, 2015 – nearly 1,800 California women will be visited by a nurse every few weeks as a part of the California Home Visiting Program that launched in 2012.
A D.C. councilmember is sponsoring legislation to prohibit the city’s public schools from suspending or expelling pre-kindergarten students except in rare circumstances.
The legislation from Councilmember David Grosso follows a recent city report that found 181 3- and 4-year-olds received out-of-school suspensions in the 2012-13 school year.
The Washington Post reports (http://wapo.st/1nna5is ) that the proposal applies to both the city’s traditional and charter schools.
The scaffolding of support for the Common Core curriculum standards continues, right and left, to lose a beam here, a platform there. After adopting the standards, with vocal support from the governor, both the Oklahoma Legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin have now abandoned them. The American Federation of Teachers was once a big supporter. At its meeting over the weekend, though it didn't switch to outright opposition, it voted to set up grants for teachers to critique or reformulate the standards. . .
The five major gubernatorial candidates agree Rhode Island needs a strong school system for its economy to thrive, but their plans to transform it differ. Parents who played with their children at Lippitt Memorial Park in Providence this week said they want the state to provide prekindergarten education because preschool is expensive and they are concerned with the quality of education in the public schools. Emma Sperling, of Pawtucket, said she worries she will have to move to a different school district before her 2-year-old son goes to kindergarten. Democratic candidates Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell want to spend more on public schools. The first policy Taveras proposed as a candidate was state-funded universal prekindergarten education for all 4-year-olds.
Area superintendents are applauding Gov. Jay Nixon’s signing this week of a bill that would include state funding for early childhood education programs in schools. House Bill 1689 was co-sponsored by State Rep. John Wright, D-Rocheport. It would include funding for the programs for 3- and 4-year-olds in the state’s foundation formula for districts that have them or start them. The programs are voluntary on the part of school districts and it’s the decision of parents if they want to enroll their children in the programs. The bill would only allow districts to count preschoolers eligible for free and reduced-price meals in the formula, and caps the number of students for which the district can receive funding to 4 percent of the total number of students eligible for free- and reduced-price meals.
Across the state, school districts are running into low preschool attendance rates with the three biggest obstacles being funding, transportation and parent awareness. Pedersen is passionate about reaching out to families and making sure these families know that Cardinal is not simply a school district but also a support system. Low-income families are a top priority for Pedersen who hopes that all children enrolled in the Cardinal district have the same educational opportunities. With 70 percent of the school's students under the poverty line, it is important to provide these students with as many future opportunities as possible. According to The National Institute for Early Education Research enrollment is up 10 percent in the last decade.
Myanmar has launched its first ever multi-sectoral policy on early childhood care and development ( ECCD), calling for increased government investment in the services for young children to enable them to have a better start in life and for the hopeful future of the country. Wednesday's state media quoted President U Thein Sein as stating that the future of children depends on the implementation of ECCD activities which are not just about the quantity but also the quality of services.
Missouri’s school funding formula could be expanded to include preschool students under legislation signed by Gov. Jay Nixon. Unaccredited school districts could start counting preschool students in their attendance figures used for calculating state funding beginning with the 2015-2016 school year. Preschool funding would kick in the next year for provisionally accredited districts.
A report from the state’s Department of Early Learning suggests that the Washington Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) is making a big difference in these 3- and 4-year-olds’ lives – emotionally, physically, and academically. The report looks at the results from a new tool that the preschool teachers are using to rate everything from how well their students follow directions to how well they know the alphabet.
In the fall of 2012 (the latest data available), about half the children had the skills expected for their age in social-emotional development, language, literacy and cognitive development. A little over a quarter reached that level in math. By the end of the year, teachers reported that more than 90 percent reached what is expected in all those areas except math, which ended in the mid-80s.
The city is aiming to provide up to 53,000 full-day prekindergarten seats in the fall, more than double the number of full-day seats in the past year. About 40 percent of the seats will be in public schools and the rest in “community-based organizations” like Cypress Hills and Brooklyn Kindergarten Society, as well as charter and religious schools. Many of the schools, public and independent, have been hiring teachers for the wave of new children, and in a trickle-up effect, teachers at the independent schools are using their experience to try for better-paying city jobs. . .
The cost of failing children who arrive at kindergarten ill-prepared is huge — to the individual and society. Tragically, adult high-school dropouts are 19 times more likely to be incarcerated than college graduates, the U.S. Department of Justice has found. Once age 25, adults who dropped out are three times more likely to be unemployed as college graduates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Reading Corps, a tutoring program that started in Minnesota a decade ago, now operates in eight states and D.C. The program has two components that are organized differently: one for students in kindergarten through third grade, and another for preschoolers.
Mayor Ed Lee and all 11 supervisors are backing the Children and Families First initiative. The measure would renew the children’s fund, which is expiring, and would raise its level of funding from three to four cents of every $100 the city receives in property taxes. Taxes wouldn’t go up, just the slice of them dedicated to kids. It would continue for 25 years, at which points voter would have to renew the funding again. The measure would also renew the Public Education Enrichment Fund, which gives city dollars to the school district in three pots: one for sports, libraries, arts and music; one for counselors and other support; and one for universal preschool for 4-year-olds. The latter pot would shift under the measure to encompass kids aged 3 to 5. It would also shift control of that pot from the state’s First Five Commission to the city’s new Office of Early Care and Education.
Community organizations like YMCAs and day care centers, which have long played a role in delivering state-funded pre-kindergarten programs under a new $340 million grant program approved in the state budget, will have a new degree of independence. In recent years, the state has spent about $400 million annually on pre-K, serving about half of the state’s four-year-olds in half-day programs. The state significantly upped that investment in this year’s budget, when a push from New York City mayor Bill de Blasio prompted leaders to earmark an additional $300 million for full-day pre-K in the five boroughs and $40 million for the rest of the state.
UP4WS has become a California model and gained national attention for its ambitious charge: making quality education available, accessible and affordable for every child 5-years-old and younger. Advocates and local officials point to the benefits of preschool programs down the road, from improved reading, language and math skills in elementary school to higher high school graduation rates, fewer contacts with law enforcement and increased adult earnings. The city estimates that 70 percent to 80 percent of its 4-year-olds are enrolled in preschool, compared to 63 percent statewide.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Saturday enacted into law a bill that opens farm dwellings to child care programs.
House Bill 2560 (Act 210) permits family child care homes in agriculturally designated districts if located in a farm dwelling, according to the Governor’s Office.
“This legislation makes it easier for farm families to access child care,” Abercrombie said in a prepared statement. “Keiki in rural areas like Upcountry Maui can now have a child care setting that provides open space and opportunities to learn about caring for animals and living off the land.”
A new study found that chronic stress in early childhood is not only able to inflict long-lasting emotional damage on a child, it can physically shrink their brains. The reasoning behind this is unclear but researchers stress that not everyone will experience these negative outcomes and hopefully, for those who do, the effects are reversible.
Reports are continually coming out about STEM, at-risk schools, low graduation rates, poor standardized test scores, gangs and crime rates. What one thing could our state and nation do to lessen all of these problems and improve the lives of many of our young people? It would also benefit business and eventually help our state and national economies. Put young children first by providing every child quality early learning at ages 3 and 4.
Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning announced the launch of additional financial support for Georgia’s early childhood educators to enhance their credentials through three new programs.
The bottom line for business is that early learning opportunities for our children have tremendous long-term benefits for our workforce. Beyond business, high-quality pre-k helps virtually every aspect of our communities and our quality of life. Let’s track some of those benefits through the life of a child:
■ By better preparing children for kindergarten, high-quality pre-k has been shown to save money in our K-12 schools by reducing the need for special education and remedial instruction.
■ By better preparing young learners for K-12 (particularly kids at high-risk of academic failure) pre-k has been shown to decrease dropouts and increase the rates of graduation and college enrollment.
■ In addition to generating $1.79 in local economic activity for every $1 invested, high-quality pre-k returns up to $17 in long-term public savings through a combination of reduced costs to our schools and society, stronger earnings potential in our workforce and increased tax revenues from a more robust economy.