Early Education in the News

Business Wire
June 26, 2015

Camille Maben, Executive Director of First 5 California, praised Governor Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins for their budget agreement today that commits $265 million to improve the lives of children and provides a foundation to rebuild our early learning system.

“With the addition of 7,000 additional preschool slots and 6,800 child care slots, the Governor and Legislature recognize California’s children and families need more access to high-quality child care,” said Ms. Maben.
June 25, 2015

Queen Anne’s Early Childhood Advisory Council was established in 2012 through an initiative to create a statewide infrastructure of county-specific early childhood councils. The statewide movement resulted from nearly $50 million in early childhood education funding through the national Race to the Top fund, grant program jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.

Today Queen Anne’s Early Childhood Advisory Council includes nearly 30 local government agencies and non-profit organizations. To learn about the Council or its partner agencies, visitFacebook.com/QACearlylearning or email qaearlychildhood@gmail.com

NBC News
June 25, 2015

Recently a group of leaders, researchers and activists arrived at Chicago's Erikson Institute to attend an Early Learning Symposium, with the aim of boosting Latino educational outcomes. Organized by The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (WHIEEH), "Fulfilling America's Future: Research, Practice & Policy Advancing Early Childhood Education for Hispanics" continued the ongoing national conversation about Latinos and education, including the importance of family engagement and increasing STEM.

This two-day summit took place just a few months before the Initiative celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Hispanics are playing a pivotal role in the transformation of American education. Latinos represent almost 1 out of 4 Pre-K through 12 public school students. Though there has been significant progress in early education since the Initiative was founded in 1990 there is still a lot to accomplish. Currently only 45.4% of 3 and 4-year old Latinos are enrolled in early learning programs.

Huffington Post
June 24, 2015

This is the second of my two-part post on kindergarten readiness. Read Kindergarten Readiness, Part 1, which focused on physical, behavioral, and social abilities.

In this post, I will share many of the early academic indicators of kindergarten readiness. The list is by no means comprehensive, but it will provide families with an understanding of what will be expected of their child and offer tips to help them prepare their child for a successful transition to kindergarten.

Kindergarten-Readiness IndicatorListens to and understands stories

What Families Can Do:
• Begin to read board books to your child as an infant.
• Read the complete story first, for enjoyment, without interruptions.
• During additional readings, ask questions about the story, and encourage your child to ask questions.
• Let your child turn pages, showing that he knows it is a story.
• Gradually introduce longer books that require more patience and focus.

89.3 KPCC
June 24, 2015
The Los Angeles Unified school board blessed Superintendent Ramon Cortines' $8 billion spending plan Tuesday, funneling a $820 million increase in state funding next school year into teacher raises, maintenance and other programs cut during the recession.
As California's education budget grows to $53 billion, L.A Unified is one of many school districts using its share to shore up operations after years of recession-era cuts, among them layoffs of thousands of teachers, librarians and nurses from district schools...
But advocates chide the district for failing to seize the opportunity to seed new and improved services for the district's more than 500,000 high-needs students, those who are English learners, foster youth and children from low-income families...
The superintendent also oversaw negotiations with the teachers union and signed off on a 10 percent raise and large pension and healthcare packages. The cost of employing the district's more than 250,000 teachers is ratcheting up $124 million to more than $2 billion next year.
The Columbus Dispatch
June 23, 2015

More 4-year-olds from low-income and working families will have the opportunity to for a pre-kindergarten education, the Columbus City Council decided on Monday.

The council approved $4.2 million for a program Mayor Michael B. Coleman created to prepare children for kindergarten. That’s about $800,000 more than the previous school year.

The city allocated $3.4 million last year to fund 350 slots for 4-year-olds.

“The goal is universal access to high-quality pre-K for all children living in the city of Columbus,” said Rhonda Johnson, the city’s education director.

June 23, 2015
Registration kicks off bright and early at 8:30 AM on Tuesday for 300 newly created pre-school spots in the Little Rock School District.
The spots reserved for four year-olds in LRSD will expand the state's already largest pre-kindergarten education provider. 
LRSD pre-k expansion was funded by a federal grant facilitated by Arkansas Department of Health & Human Services. The four-year grant supports greater access to early childhood education for children in priority communities like Little Rock. 
Dr. Karen James, director of Early Childhood Education programming for LRSD, said there is a sustainability portion to the application submitted to receive grant money from DHS – the plan to continue to grow the pre-k options the Little Rock School District offers. 
NJ Spotlight
June 22, 2015
New Jersey holds a unique position in the national discussion about public preschool.
For the better part of a decade, the state has been seen as having one of the nation’s more generous models of publicly funded preschool, one largely spawned by the Abbott v. Burke school-equity rulings and serving more than 40,000 children in more than 30 of the state’s neediest districts...
In itself, the event held in Hamilton made some news. Speaking in one of the panels, state Senate President Steve Sweeney called expanded preschool one of his “top five” priorities, no small announcement from a man who not only runs the upper chamber but also is widely expected to run for governor in 2017.
The discussion was equally noteworthy for the feelings it evoked among the state’s preschool movement, which applauded New Jersey’s progress so far but also identified wide gaps in services...
Among those who crafted the Obama administration’s federal standards under the Race to the Top competition, Jones said now virtually every state has standards in place for early childhood education, and New Jersey remains a leader.
“New Jersey’s standards are really quite good, and one of the things is to keep remembering that is what you want to keep going back to,” she said.


NY Times
June 22, 2015
Children as young as age 3 will intervene on behalf of a victim, reacting as if victimized themselves, scientists have found.
With toys, cookies and puppets, Keith Jensen, a psychologist at the University of Manchester in England, and his colleagues tried to judge how much concern 3- and 5-year-olds had for others, and whether they had a sense of so-called restorative justice.
Jefferson Public Radio
June 22, 2015
Oregon has the lowest high school graduation rate of any state, less than 69 percent in 2013. The state's long-term plan to improve graduation rates starts really early - with preschoolers...
Research shows preschool builds a foundation for literacy. Oregon students who are strong readers by third grade graduate 77 percent of the time. If they’re not? The Oregon graduation rate is 53 percent.
“Kids who are in high-quality preschool — particularly low-income kids — are far more likely to graduate from high school,” said Swati Adarkar of the Portland-based Children’s Institute. “They’re far more likely to go on to college, they’re far more likely not to need special education as they go on in the elementary grades. These are all huge game-changers.”
Economic Policy Institute
June 19, 2015

This study seeks to broaden the debate by examining the education gaps that exist even before children enter formal schooling in kindergarten, and showing that the gaps extend to noncognitive skills, which are also critical for adulthood outcomes (Heckman 2008; Heckman & Kautz 2012). Regarding the analysis of early education gaps, this paper is modeled on Lee and Burkam’s 2002 monograph Inequality at the Starting Gate: Social Background Differences in Achievement as Children Begin School, which found that cognitive gaps between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds and races and ethnicities were both sizeable and statistically significant at school entry in kindergarten.1 This is important for policymakers because, if unaddressed, there is the potential that gaps persist over time and compound. Such early-in-life inequalities point to the need for substantial interventions to reduce them, including early educational interventions, to ensure that children arrive in kindergarten ready to learn and for compensatory policies to support these children throughout the school years (from kindergarten through 12th grade). Moreover, the social and economic disadvantages that generate these gaps should be addressed directly and eliminated through social and economic policies, not just education policies (Morsy and Rothstein 2015; Putman 2015; Rothstein 2004).


Tampa Bay Times
June 19, 2015

Coane is a member of Mission: Readiness, a group of more than 500 retired generals and admirals concerned about the nation's education system. He was the perfect keynote speaker for the United Way's Early Literacy Initiative luncheon and the core of his message was simple: Add national security to the list of reasons we need to improve education and convince state leaders to create a quality preK program.

How do national security and education relate?...

"Nearly three-quarters of our nation's young adults could walk into a recruiting station in downtown Tampa today and be turned away because they cannot meet the minimum qualifications to serve," said Coane, citing a Department of Defense study. "The primary reasons: They are either too poorly educated, they are unhealthy, they have a criminal record or some combination of all three."

And if we don't have a large pool ready to serve in the military, then we also don't have a large pool ready to meet the needs of businesses...

But you say the state has a voluntary prekindergarten program? Yes, but Coane stressed that if it's not a quality program, you're throwing money down the drain.

Trenam Kemker attorney Robert Buesing, vice chairman of the Hillsborough Early Learning Coalition, noted that although states like Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina meet all 10 quality standards set by the National Institute for Early Education Research, Florida meets only three of them.

GSA Business
June 19, 2015

A $50,000 grant will be used to extend a Clemson University program that teaches preschool caregivers methods to assist children with analytical skills and problem solving. The PNC Foundation grant aims to address the “changing needs of an economy that is increasingly based on knowledge and skills,” a foundation representative said...

The grant for the program, Building Environments for Early Mathematics Success, will help pay for professional development, classroom site and home visits and a period of feedback and reflection, said Sandra Linder, project director and associate professor of early childhood mathematics education.
Ed Source
June 19, 2015

The state’s largest school district plans to offer full-day classes and save thousands of school spaces for more low-income 4-year-olds in new transitional kindergarten classes, which will eventually replace a popular preschool program slated for elimination.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is set Tuesday to approve a budget that includes $14.3 million to expand its transitional kindergarten with new classes designed for children who turn 5 after Dec. 2. The current transitional kindergarten program is geared for children who turn 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2.

Under Los Angeles Unified’s plan, about 2,800 additional transitional kindergarten spaces would be available for 4-year-olds in 117 schools in the fall. In 2016-17, the remaining 173 preschool sites would convert to transitional kindergartens.

MPR News
June 18, 2015

A studyalso published in Science and spearheaded by the National Institute for Early Education Research summarized 123 papers written on the issue since 1960 and found that, ““Overall, looking across the entire research literature over four decades… preschool has substantial impacts on cognitive development, on social and emotional development, and on schooling outcomes.”

Cornish isn’t completely out of line; he is basing his claim on a high-profile, long-term study that had plenty of smart, qualified people behind it.

But Cornish’s claim obscures some pretty important facts.

There’s plenty of peer-reviewed and published research that shows there are lasting-benefits for kids who attend quality – and quality is the key word, here – pre-K. Those benefits include higher earnings, fewer interactions with the criminal justice system and better social skills, as well as better academic outcomes.

June 18, 2015

When Democrats talk up universal pre-K, they often look to an unlikely place: red states. Georgia and Oklahoma both have big, publicly funded, and popular pre-K programs. This means Clinton can argue that pre-K is a bipartisan priority.

"Governors and state legislatures across the country are discovering the value of preschool. And this is bipartisan," Clinton said in New Hampshire. "You know, one of the states with a universal pre-K program in America is Oklahoma, about as red a state as you can get. But they have figured it out, the government and business leaders and families like, that this is a smart investment for them."

The programs in Oklahoma and Georgia were originally created by Democrats: Oklahoma's by a Democratic legislator and Georgia's by then-Democratic Gov. Zell Miller, who later switched parties. They've thrived since in red states with bipartisan support.

The Atlantic
June 18, 2015

But it turns out that what ain’t so easy, even today, is ensuring that every child has access to preschool. Only 40 percent of 4-year-olds nationwide are enrolled in publicly funded preschool programs, a good chunk of which are considered to be low-quality. According to a growing body of research, this contributes to great inequality in academic achievement. And although comprehensive data on the long-term benefits of preschool is hard to come by, experts tend to agree that having a quality early-education experience can have a significant impact on the first chapter of a kid’s life. The payoff appears to be especially strong for disadvantaged children, who might not otherwise have exposure to the stuff emphasized in quality preschools, such as vocabulary and good nutrition.

A combination of factors has made expanding access particularly difficult. The money part is B-I-G: Teaching young children can be pricey, entailing far more than naptime and playing with blocks, and securing the public funding for it is politically fraught. Head Start only serves the most economically disadvantaged of children: Virtually all of them live below the poverty line.

June 18, 2015

“A growing body of research recognises that early childhood education and care (ECEC) brings a wide range of benefits,” according to the third edition of the OECD’s Starting Strong: A Quality Toolbox for Early Education and Care. That includes establishing a foundation for lifelong learning, a more level playing field for each child, overall reductions in poverty and inequality, and “better social and economic development for the society at large.”

Still, those benefits, the report continues, hinge on one word: quality. 

“Expanding access to services without attention to quality will not deliver good outcomes for children or the long term productivity benefits for society,” according to the report. “Furthermore, research has shown that if quality is low, it can have long-lasting detrimental effects on child development, instead of bringing positive effects.”

That’s usually where the debate breaks down, says Milagros Nores, the assistant director for research at the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. 

The best, most effective early-education programs must meet certain standards, including a curriculum, class sizes, and a low teacher-child ratio. At the same time, she said, all children—from poor minorities to better-off white kids—should have equal access to bridge a relatively narrow but widening achievement gap between middle-class and upper-class children. 

The Daily Journal
June 18, 2015

Brown and lawmakers struck a $115.4 billion budget deal Tuesday, which will offer billions more dollars to public schools throughout the state and increase spending on early education.

The new budget deal, which is expected to be officially approved prior to July 1, includes $409 million more in spending on early education programs, which will grant greater access to preschool classes for nearly 15,000 students.

Jean-Marie Houston, director of early learning support services at the San Mateo County Office of Education, wrote in an email the effort of lawmakers aligns with local efforts to help as many young students as possible attend preschool.

“We are pleased that the legislature and governor have strongly supported investments in early learning by expanding access for families of low-income to quality preschool services,” she said.

Roughly 5,000 more students would be able to attend full-day preschool classes, and more than 10,000 preschoolers would have access to part-time programs, should the budget be finalized, according to a report from Early Edge California, an agency which encourages expanding preschool services.

June 18, 2015

After some tweaks, Louisiana's Board of Elementary and Secondary Educationlargely approved child care advocates'preschool policy changes Wednesday (June 17). It was a victory for some preschool proprietors, who said the old policy gave local school systems too much power.

That policy tasks lead agencies -- mostly school systems -- with coordinating preschool enrollment for parishes. Daycare directors wanted to be involved in that process.

It gives school systems and other preschool staffers the authority to grade preschool programs. Because systems and other preschools also educate 4-year-olds from low-income families, the policy potentially lets a daycare's competitor be its judge, critics said.