Early Education in the News
Provost, Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCPED), Noforija, Epe, Professor Olu Akeusola has called on the Federal Government to show more interest and commitments to the smooth operation of early childhood education for all children in the country. According to him, "Looking at ways advanced countries or even growing economies in the world practice early childhood education, it is found out that the Federal Government of Nigeria has shown total neglect in terms of applying their own policy and strategies for the Nigerian child at that level of education,"
He also said most pre-schools annexed to the already existing primary schools are not manned by qualified hands, lack the experience and know-how for capacity building in the classroom, stressing that Nigerian experience in early childhood development is synonymous to total neglect, corruption and ill funded public pre-school. He lamented on the illegal operation of many sub-standard private pre-schools in form of kindergarten, and nursery institutions scattered all over urban, suburban areas and some rural areas in the country.
In the view of business executives, educators and a bipartisan group of political leaders, that future for 3- and 4-year-olds should include universal access to high-quality early childhood education programs. "Statistics show that the earlier you can introduce children to structured learning, the more successful they'll be later in life," said Vickie Lampe, PNC Bank's director of client and community relations for northwestern Pennsylvania. "Vocabulary is central to a child's development," added Eva Tansky Blum, president of the PNC Foundation.
As New York City officials signed up private preschool providers for this fall’s pre-kindergarten expansion, they negotiated reimbursement rates with each program individually. They were tough negotiators who left many private pre-k providers operating beyond their means, without a plan for how to make ends meet.
Programs in vastly different circumstances and neighborhoods are mostly getting a similar rate—around $10,000 per child. School directors told WNYC this rate translates into very different capacity, as some have plenty to spend on extra perks and others are barely scraping by.
Education is supposed to help bridge the gap between the wealthiest people and everyone else. Ask the experts, and they'll count the ways: Preschool can lift children from poverty. Top high schools prepare students for college. A college degree boosts pay over a lifetime. And the U.S. economy would grow faster if more people stayed in school longer.
Plenty of data back them up. But the data also show something else: Wealthier parents have been stepping up education spending so aggressively that they're widening the nation's wealth gap. When the Great Recession struck in late 2007 and squeezed most family budgets, the top 10 percent of earners — with incomes averaging $253,146 — went in a different direction: They doubled down on their kids' futures. . .
Wealthier parents can also afford high-quality day care, which better prepares children for kindergarten, said Steven Barnett, director at the National Institute for Early Education Research.
Hawaii voters rejected the idea of using public funds for private preschool programs, defeating a proposed amendment that pitted early learning advo-cates against the public teachers union. The amendment had proposed lifting the prohibition on public funds being used to support or benefit private educational institutions. It would have given the state the ability to use a combination of preschool classrooms at public schools and state-funded slots in private preschools to eventually serve all of the state's 17,200 4-year-olds with a publicly funded preschool education.
With kindergarten requiring children to be ready for academics sooner than in years past, parents feel increased pressure to find “the right” preschool program that will promote future academic success, preschool admission directors say. Gone are the days when preschool was seen as optional, with some kids starting kindergarten as their first experience in a classroom setting. “Most parents are looking for the school to inspire a passion for learning,” Pan said. This zealous preschool climate is not unique to San Francisco. “It varies city by city,” said Molly Tafoya, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit Early Edge California, a preschool advocacy group. “Anecdotally we hear it’s a difficult process. Private preschool enrollment can be like college enrollment.”
In Orange County, a densely populated area with a high cost of living, the preschool application process can be overwhelming for parents, said Amy Fotheringham, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Private Schools Association, which is hosting a January preschool-t0-12th-grade fair for parents to learn about different options.
If there’s one thing we know about Wall Street, it’s that most Wall Street firms are not in the business of philanthropy. Yet the city is about to enter into a $30 million agreement with several Wall Street lenders to finance an early education program that from all appearances will allow banks to profit off the educational success of children with almost no risk to their own bottom lines. And, once again, the city is about to enter into a complex, long-term financial transition with millions of dollars at stake with almost no debate, little understanding of how the program works and no third party to weigh in on the potential risk and rewards. Even worse, the program looks from some angles to be little more than a mechanism to transfer public dollars to private lenders while using children as collateral.
Early election results Tuesday evening showed Denver's tax increase passing to fund the city's program that helps parents pay preschool tuition. Question 2A asked Denver voters to increase the tax, known as the Denver Preschool Tax, and to extend its life through 2026. If final voting results hold, the tax would become 15 cents on every $100 purchase, up from the current 12 cents per $100. This year, officials say the program is receiving about $13 million. If the tax is approved, revenue could go up to $19 million as soon as next year. Officials want the extra funds to reinstate summer programming, help pay tuition for more 4-year-olds and to give more financial assistance to those who need it.
A Seattle ballot measure raising property taxes to pay for city-subsidized preschool spanked an alternative proposal Tuesday night. Seattle Proposition No. 1B surged ahead with 67 percent approval in the first-day vote count.Backed by the city’s elected officials, 1B will authorize a $58 million property-tax levy to fund a four-year pilot program of preschool subsidized on a sliding scale, while setting academic standards and raising preschool teacher pay.
In homes with both a mother and a father, moms did most of the talking to the infants, pediatrician Betty Vohr of Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, R.I., and colleagues report November 3 in Pediatrics. Recorders strapped into a little vest captured all speech for at least a 10-hour stretch when babies were just born, at around 1 month of age, and again around 7 months. (About half of the 33 babies were born a little early, so the researchers used the date of conception to “correct” their age.)
Overall, the team found that mothers talked to their babies about three times as much as fathers did, even though the recordings were done when both parents were around.
A proposed expansion of a CPS preschool program drew praise from aldermen Monday for its aims but also was criticized because the city could end up paying investors in the program roughly double its $17 million cost. Chief Financial Officer Lois Scott told aldermen at a City Council Finance Committee meeting that borrowing through so-called social impact bonds, which link payback to lenders on the success of the initiatives being funded, could provide a rate of return of about 6.3 percent to investors. That translates to $34.5 million in repayments over the next 18 years, she said. "We should be able to find the money, reprioritize what we already have and put it into this program without having to pay such a high rate of return and basically double the investment money," said Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, one of four alderman at Monday's meeting who voted against the proposal.
I was disappointed that neither candidate addressed one of the most important issues facing our commonwealth: access to high-quality pre-kindergarten education. The reality is that when kids don’t have access to high-quality pre-K, many ultimately face a life of constantly being left behind. This is a critical issue for our commonwealth and our next governor.
The waiting list of 4-year-olds preapproved for Head Start in St. Joseph and Elkhart counties now stands at 750. The chances of many of those children being able to enroll this school year are slim. There is a set number of slots. And classrooms are filled.
“It’s so disheartening when you know a family wants their child to go to pre-k and we just don’t have capacity,” Kathy Guajardo, director of Head Start’s Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties Consortium, said. The need for an expansion of preschool offerings for low-income children here, Guajardo said, is enormous.
The early learning measures on Seattle’s Nov. 4 ballot are two opposing propositions that ask voters two questions, leaving plenty of room for confusion.
Hawaii is the only state with a constitution that bars public money from going to private preschool programs, but voters on Nov. 4 will get a chance to change that distinction.
Until a handful of preschool classrooms opened up at some public schools this year, Hawaii was one of 10 states without publicly funded preschool. In an effort to expand the number of children who have access to preschool, voters are being asked to amend the state constitution. Supporters say it will help children in a state where 42 percent start kindergarten without any early learning opportunities.
A few years ago, those overseeing the local Head Start program urged teachers to get a bachelor’s degree with the goal of upgrading the program.
Now, Stark County Community Action Agency officials find themselves facing staffing challenges. Consequently, they are looking at temporarily setting aside the requirement that all teachers obtain bachelor’s degrees. “We are currently short four teachers,” Reasonover said. “We have kids to fill four classrooms. We just don’t have teachers. I have a challenge finding qualified teachers.”
Similar scenarios are playing out across the country as educators increasingly use tests to measure kindergartners’ knowledge in such area as letters, sounds, syllables and number recognition, assessing their needs as they move into the nation’s K-12 public school system. For more than a decade, Maryland has assessed student readiness for kindergarten, but the tests have been revised to align with the Common Core State Standards, a new, national set of academic guidelines. . .
Messick said she looks for a variety of skills and actions, from how students hold their pencils and crayons (with their fists or between their fingers?) and how they interact (do they help others, and do they share?). Teachers have been trained to also observe the child’s “social foundations,” which include their behavior and their ability to follow multi-step instructions, work collectively, complete tasks and relate to their peers.
Our state employs one of the best and most cost-effective crime prevention strategies law enforcement has – high quality early childhood programs, but too few children have the opportunity to benefit from them.
Programs like Smart Start and NC Pre-K have been proven to produce significant outcomes for our state. NC Pre-K is rated by the National Institute for Early Education Research as one the highest quality prekindergarten programs for four year olds in the nation. Unfortunately, it currently serves less than a quarter of the state’s four-year-olds. And only a fraction of the state’s children benefit from Smart Start, a nationally recognized program that works with families, teachers, faith communities, doctors and educators to ensure healthy development and early learning for children birth to five.
Voters know what they want — programs that begin from birth and continue through the early grades and produce the cognitive and character skills needed for later success. Seventy percent of North Carolina voters support programs that strengthen families, like voluntary home visiting and parent education programs. We are fortunate that in Rockingham County our Smart Start just launched such a program – Nurse Family Partnership. It is a voluntary, evidence-based home visiting program that is proven to improve school readiness and success, increase parental self-sufficiency and reduce future youth crime and delinquency. Once fully operational, the Rockingham program will serve 50 families.
Peters is part of the small cohort of males teaching pre-school nationally; in fact, barely 2 percent of early education teachers are men, according to 2012 labor statistics. And with universal pre-K taking center stage in our country’s most populous city, the absence of male influence at this stage of development is getting increased scrutiny.
Steven Antonelli, currently the director for Bank Street Head Start, has spent more than two decades working in early childhood education and has experienced first-hand the challenges men in this field face. In an interview with New Republic executive editor Greg Veis, Antonelli considers these hurdles and the importance of early childhood education.
Believing it's never too early to think about college, Long Beach public officials and educators plan to take their message to the earliest learners — preschoolers. Their efforts to recruit the children sooner rather than later is part of a broader effort to provide preschool for every child. Among its champions is the new mayor of Long Beach, Robert Garcia, elected in July as the first Latino and gay mayor for the city. Garcia is making universal preschool, especially for disadvantaged children, a priority of his administration. Drawing from his own background as a five-year-old immigrant from Peru who overcame the challenges of language and poverty through education, the mayor wants Long Beach to become a leader in extending preschool to all.
Researchers have long been interested in whether children who attend preschool continue on to higher education, according to Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. “There is certainly research that directly shows kids who went to high-quality preschool programs were more likely to graduate from high school, and … go on to college,” he said.