Early Education in the News
Rep. Hy Kloc wants the state to launch a three-year pre-K pilot program, with 55 percent of the funding coming from private sources....Idaho is one of only 10 states that do not fund pre-K programs, as the Legislature has rejected numerous pre-K proposals. Pre-K supporters perhaps came closest in 2007.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have submitted applications for a federal program that gives grants to improve preschool education. The states are competing for a piece of the $280 million up for grabs under the Obama administration’s early learning Race to the Top program. The initiative is designed to improve state preschool and early learning programs for children under 5 years of age. It is especially targeted to improving education for disadvantaged children and those from families with low incomes.
At last count, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research, 41 percent of 4-year-olds and 14 percent of 3-year-olds in the United States are enrolled in publicly funded state and federal pre-K programs. Millions of children, especially from lower-income homes, find themselves shut out due to a shortage of spaces. Lack of access, however, is only part of the story. As the research brief notes, “only a minority of preschool programs are observed to provide excellent quality, and levels of instructional support are especially low.”
Hawaii education and early learning officials are emphasizing an upcoming change in the age children can enter kindergarten as an opportunity for late-born students to receive an extra year to prepare for school....Hawaii is one of 10 states with no state-funded pre-kindergarten program, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. It's a situation that has many affected families worried about how to afford another year of preschool.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Del. Heather Mizeur rolled out a plan Thursday that would expand pre-kindergarten to 3-year-olds and overhaul the state's income eligibility requirements for child care subsidies.
"I'm proud of our schools for being rated first in the nation," the Montgomery County delegate said to a group gathered at Downtown Baltimore Child Care Inc. "But the title loses some of its distinction when we take a look at diversity and income achievement gaps. Closing the gaps will be a major priority of my administration, and the only way to truly level the playing field is to start with early childhood education."
Despite the fact that many programs vary in quality, public preschool programs have been shown to benefit students from all economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds, according to a research brief funded by the Foundation for Child Development.
The brief, conducted by 10 researchers from universities around the country, analyzed previous studies on the effectiveness of preschool on children's achievement later in life...Overall, the brief concluded that public preschool programs provide an average gain of a third of a year of academic growth, and some programs in cities such as Boston as well as Tulsa, Okla., have seen even larger gains of up to a full year of additional learning.
The research brief "Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education," authored by an interdisciplinary group of early childhood experts, reviews rigorous evidence on why early skills matter, which children benefit from preschool, the short- and long-term effects of preschool programs on children's school readiness and life outcomes, the importance of program quality, and the costs versus benefits of preschool education.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and other D.A.s in the area are scheduled to gather outside the state prison in Chester to urge state and federal officials to expand preschool education. Their demand: Spend money now on high-quality preschool or spend even more money later for prisons.
The district attorneys, members of the Pennsylvania chapter of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids (FCIK), will issue a report called "I'm the Guy You Pay Later."
"There's a new paradigm of what it means to be an American prosecutor," Williams said yesterday. It used to be, a prosecutor was all about building more jails and putting more people in those jails, he said. "But what we've learned is that for every $100 invested in early childhood education, we can save $700 on prison costs," said Williams, an FCIK board member.
Take a look at the criminal records of the almost 2 million people incarcerated in the U.S. and you’ll probably assume their troubles began when they committed their crimes. As sheriffs who manage facilities housing tens of thousands of inmates each year, we know for many the journey to jail begins much earlier. Nationwide, 7 out of 10 people locked up in state prisons don’t have a high-school diploma. In getting to the root of the problem, it all boils down to a strong foundation for success provided by high-quality preschool and early education programs.
Advocates for poor school districts across North Carolina said Tuesday that state officials cannot ignore a promise they made nine years ago to provide pre-kindergarten classes to at-risk students statewide.
The plea came during oral arguments before the North Carolina Supreme Court in a case that could require the state to open up its NC Pre-K program to every needy 4-year-old who applies, which some have estimated could cost the state $300 million a year – more than double what it now spends.
North Carolina’s highest court heard arguments Tuesday about the state’s promise of prekindergarten for tens of thousands of children living in poverty. At issue is whether legislative cuts to the publicly funded pre-K program ran afoul of the state’s previous commitment to provide preschool for children at risk of failure in school. The pre-K program, previously known as More at Four, was created in 2004 as a state response to court rulings in the long-running Leandro school quality lawsuit brought by poor counties. In the 19-year-old case, courts found that there is a constitutional right for all children to have a “sound, basic education.”
Increasingly, educators are looking to research about how kids learn to influence teaching practices and tools. What seemed like on-the-fringe experiments, like game-based learning, have turned into real trends, and have gradually made their way into many (though certainly not most) classrooms. Many educators are using researchers’ insights into how children best learn to inform their teaching practices. Stanford professor Carol Dweck’s research on encouraging children to develop a growth-mindset continues to grow in popularity, as educators try to praise effort, not outcomes. Dweck writes that if children believe their abilities are fixed — that either that they’re smart or they’re not — they approach the world in different ways and aren’t as able to face adversity. When they believe skills and abilities can grow throughout one’s lifetime, they’re better able to rise to challenges.
The first five years of life are a critical time for children as 90 percent of their critical brain development occurs by age five, said First Things First regional director Rudy Ortiz. Studies from the National Institute for Early Education Research show that children who have gone through quality preschool programs have shown to have better reading skills, richer and higher vocabularies, and stronger math skills.
A lack of education for children during the first five years of their lives is having a negative impact on the nation's work force. That is what a group of about 40 educators and community members were told Wednesday by representatives with Nebraska’s Early Childhood Business Roundtable, a group that is stressing the importance of early education to business leaders across the state.
Twenty local organizations have won a collective $1.1 million in grants to add 240 additional preschool seats for kids in high-poverty areas. In all, $10 million was awarded statewide to fund 2,450 seats. The money was made available by a $10 million bump in preschool spending contained in Ohio’s most recent budget bill. The Ohio Department of Education announced the winners Wednesday. Grants were targeted to high-quality preschools located in high-needs parts of the state.
San Francisco is one of a growing number of cities to offer city-run pre-K programs, along with Boston, Miami, San Antonio, and Seattle, among others, according to W. Steven Barnett, the director of the New Brunswick, N.J.-based National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.
In 2004, San Francisco voters agreed to channel $20 million annually to Preschool for All with the intent of offering half-day pre-K to any child who was 4 years old and lived in the city.
The prosperity of Idaho’s businesses depends largely upon the preparation we provide to our children. All of our children need access to learning opportunities that will help them become good citizens with strong minds. And we must start in the early years. . . . Because quality early childhood education is critical to the development of our children, it is also a critical investment in the future of our state and our country. To remain globally competitive, we must have a highly educated, skilled labor force. As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated, “No economy can succeed without a high-quality workforce, particularly in an age of globalization and technical change ... formal K-12 and post-secondary education, as important as they are, do not alone build better workforces.
The federal government shutdown has placed future child-care development funds distributed through the Alamance County Department of Social Services in jeopardy. County DSS Director Susan Osborne notified the Alamance County Board of Commissioners on Monday during a board meeting that letters would be sent out this week to 48 child day-care providers in the county and to 15 child day-care providers outside the county to notify them that federal funds used to subsidize low-income families’ child care will not be available during the government shutdown, affecting 479 school-aged children who receive before- and after-school care.
New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher visited Millhill Child and Family Development in Trenton today to announce the awarding of Team Nutrition Training mini-grants to eight childcare centers and 11 elementary and middle schools in the state with the goal of helping children make healthier food choices and improve their overall health. Millhill is one of the recipients of the grant program, which was expanded for the 2012-2013 cycle to include for the first time early childhood centers. “By expanding this valuable program to child care centers, we are reaching children younger and helping them to form healthy life habits by teaching them about eating well and exercising,” Secretary Fisher said. “We have seen over and over again the positive impact of school gardens on the students, teachers and staff, as well as the community at large.”
One of the many casualties of the government shutdown has been Head Start, the U.S. Department of Health and Human services program that provides early childhood education services to low-income families. As of Friday, five Head Start chapters across the country had closed, affecting more than 5,000 children. Today, the John and Laura Arnold Foundation--founded John Arnold, a former hedge-fund manager who first made his fortune working for Enron--announced it would donate $10 million to ensure Head Start programs stay open during the shutdown.