Early Education in the News
A bill to fund preschool education for disadvantaged families is receiving mixed feelings from lawmakers and parents. Supporters said it's crucial for kids to enter kindergarten prepared, but opponents said the state can't afford the program.
As two longtime corporate executives who have been engaged in education for decades, we have no doubt about the answer to this question. We have spent most of our careers in business and have come to support quality prekindergarten for all children, especially those whose families cannot afford it, because we know these programs work.
The cuts propose slashing nearly a fifth of the funding Gov. Sean Parnell had requested for a $2.48 million pre-kindergarten pilot program, as well as an additional $380,000 he also requested for early childhood development programs.
If preschool and child care are so important, why are they some of the worst-paid jobs you can have? When a worker can make more money as a bank teller ($11.91 an hour average), as a janitor ($11.65 an hour average), in a restaurant, or in the service industry, that contributes to higher turnover and makes it difficult for childcare jobs to attract the highest talent.
The proposed budget adopted Thursday by the Senate Finance Committee includes $40 million for prekindergarten. That would offer school districts some help after budget-slashing lawmakers two years ago eliminated a $200 million grant program for pre-K.
A national focus on early childhood education could make Iowa’s preschool program more like the state’s K-12 system. Some education advocates are lauding the possibility, but others say it will mean fewer options for parents.
More than a dozen states—including some, such as Hawaii and Mississippi, that have had no state-financed preschool programs in the past—are currently eyeing proposals to launch or expand early education.
An Education Department commission is recommending pre-kindergarten programs for every poor student within 10 years, adding a timeframe to President Barack Obama’s similar call to help the least advantaged arrive for their first day of classes as prepared as their counterparts from more affluent homes. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday released his Equity and Excellence Commission‘s report, which is not binding but includes input from his top aides and the White House’s chief education policy adviser.
In what state lawmakers call a first step in helping bolster early childhood education, the House Monday passed legislation creating a preschool pilot program. It would study the feasibility of a statewide preschool program by providing up to $6,800 to low-income families to send their children to a high-quality preschool as accredited by the state. The program would only be available in five counties and would be capped at $7 million.
While the financing mechanism still remains somewhat cloudy, the White House put forward additional details this morning about just how the effort would work. Much of the funding would appear to come from states, through a partnership arrangement with the federal government.
An administration official said the proposal is not an effort to expand the federally run Head Start preschool program for low-income families, although spending on Head Start could continue to grow. Administration officials added that the plan would call for federal spending, much of it crafted to offer states an incentive to put more money into pre-kindergarten. The proposal also calls for parents to pay pre-K tuition, on a sliding scale, they said.
The big news tonight may come in the area of early-childhood education. Advocates are expecting some sort of policy proposal, even though the president isn't likely to have a lot of new money for a big, new initiative.
State leaders talk about investing in Florida's future through education. They should start at the very earliest age with VPK – by improving the quality and funding in order to nip remediation in the bud.
The bill that passed Thursday would allow local groups to set up cooperative efforts involving public schools, Head Start programs, private child care centers or nonprofit groups. The groups would apply for state grants, putting in an equal amount of local money.
State officials Wednesday announced that they are soliciting bids from school districts and others for pilot projects to overhaul pre-kindergarten classes in Louisiana. The changes stem from a 2012 state law, which assigned details of the do-over to the state Department of Education and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Two Baltimore city lawmakers have proposed legislation that would draw funding from the state's lottery revenue to support expanding early childhood education programs.
As part of what he calls "a very ambitious education agenda," Gov. Peter Shumlin wants to boost child-care subsidies for lower-income families. But he is taking flak for his proposal to fund that idea: Shumlin wants to "redirect" $16.7 million in state money that's now spent on an earned-income tax credit for low-income residents.
This study is the latest report on a group of more than 1,100 families who have been monitored since 2000, and focuses on 1st-grade school records of the children. Among the results: Children in the home-visited group were half as likely to repeat a grade as children who did not receive home visits (3.54 percent compared to 7.10 percent).
The experience of the Cheney School District shows the value of broad access to high-quality preschool. Its kindergartners scored above average in the assessment, and they all have access to tuition-based preschool with certificated teachers. The district also has classes for parents who want to become better educators at home.
Even though a judge called the school funding system 'unconstitutional' Monday, it could be another year or two before the Texas Supreme Court decides if the system is broken. Some educators are urging lawmakers to act now and restore the money they cut last session to programs like full day pre-kindergarten.