Early Education in the News

Michigan Radio
January 29, 2015

More than 21,000 4 year olds have been enrolled in free preschool in Michigan over the past two years, according to Ron French at Bridge Magazine. It's the result of the biggest pre-school expansion in the nation. In 2012, a Bridge investigation found that about 30,000 pre-school aged kids that qualified for free preschool were not attending due to lack of funding, logistical issues or lack of transportation services. In 2013, Michigan increased preschool funding for low to middle income families, called the Great Start Readiness Program. The program got more funding in 2014. 

January 28, 2015

Legislators anticipate Governor Bullock will tout the piece of legislation focusing on early childhood education that he introduced called Early Edge Montana. The program aims to achieve free public pre-k for four-year-old children.

Teaching experts say one of the fundamental building blocks of an education and a child's successful learning experience starts in a pre-school classroom. Developing social skills and getting a head start on education is what pre-school is for.

Military Times
January 28, 2015

Military families can search for military child care availability and sign up for waiting lists online through a new Defense Department program that's gradually being rolled out worldwide.

DoD officials have launched MilitaryChildCare.com at 13 installations beyond the five previous pilot locations. It's expected to be operational worldwide by September 2016, with more installations coming online each quarter, officials said.

Philadelphia Inquirer
January 26, 2015

A new nonprofit, whose leaders include some state heavy-hitters, will launch a three-year campaign this week to expand New Jersey's quality preschool program to children in need throughout the state.

Pre-K Our Way will launch its initiative with an informational event Tuesday at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick.

Its leadership group includes former Govs. James J. Florio, a Democrat, and Thomas H. Kean, a Republican; former first lady and schoolteacher Lucinda Florio; Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey; William J. Marino, former chairman and CEO of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey; Douglas L. Kennedy, president and CEO of Peapack-Gladstone Bank; and Lynda Anderson-Towns, superintendent of the Woodbine School District.

A chief organizer of the effort and, for now, primary funder is M. Brian Maher, philanthropist and former chairman of Maher Terminals L.L.C.

The Hill
January 26, 2015

Clearly, providing early learning opportunities for at-risk children has become not only a focal point for lawmakers, but a shared national commitment. And Washington State is leading the way with the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), modeled on Head Start. Based on evidence that most successful early learning programs are those that replicate Head Start’s comprehensive approach to the whole child and the whole family, ECEAP works hand-in-hand with local Head Start programs to expand access to high quality early learning to Washington’s most vulnerable children.

Washington Post
January 26, 2015

More than 25 percent of the students enrolled in Head Start programs in D.C. Public Schools were chronically absent last school year, missing at least 10 percent or the equivalent of a month or more, according to two reports the Urban Institute plans to release Tuesday.

Seven percent of the students missed 20 percent or more of enrolled days.

Overall, less than half — 44 percent — of the school system’s Head Start students had what one report called “satisfactory attendance,” which is missing 5 percent or less of the school year.

Chalkbeat Colorado
January 26, 2015

The House Education Committee on Monday passed two bills intended to increase funding for both preschool and full-day kindergarten, but the discussion highlighted differences over which program should have the highest priority.

House Bill 15-1020, a measure that would increase state financial support of full-day kindergarten, passed 10-1, with only one Republican voting no. But House Bill 15-1024, which would provide more funding for the Colorado Preschool Program, only passed on a 6-5 party-line vote, with majority Democrats on the winning side.

The two issues consumed much of a hearing that lasted more than six hours.

Michigan Live
January 26, 2015

A former state lawmaker was honored Monday, Jan. 26, as an advocate for early childhood development programs in Michigan. . . . The former state senator, state representative and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee was chosen because he was "a tireless advocate" for early childhood education, according to local Great Start Collaborative Director Julie Kozan.

January 23, 2015

A statewide readiness test has found that half of kindergarten students began class in the fall without having basic skills to help them succeed.

Providence Journal
January 23, 2015

Sen. Hanna M. Gallo has submitted legislation that would pay school districts to offer full-day kindergarten by accelerating a portion of the school funding formula.

Seven districts — Cranston, Johnston, Warwick, Coventry, East Greenwich, North Kingstown and Tiverton — do not offer full-day kindergarten to all children. Approximately 1,100 students would be offered all-day kindergarten if the districts made it universal. Under the current funding formula, districts that offer only half-day kindergarten are reimbursed for only half the aid for a full-time student. Because the funding formula is being phased in over seven years, districts that move to adopt all-day kindergarten this fall will not get their full reimbursement for another three years.

The Boston Globe
January 23, 2015

President Obama on Thursday unveiled plans to greatly increase federal assistance to working Americans struggling to afford child care, choosing a Democratic pocket in a solidly Republican state to sharpen the contrast between the parties’ economic visions.

In an appearance at the University of Kansas, Obama called for an $80 billion expansion of a federal program that provides child care subsidies to low- and middle-income families with children ages 3 and younger, nearly doubling the aid and offering it to more than 1 million additional children over the next decade. He promoted his plan to nearly triple, to $3,000 per child, the maximum child care tax credit. And the president said he would push to put more federal money into early childhood programs, expanding the availability of free preschool and extending Head Start — focused on low-income families — to last an entire day and for the full school year.

Latin Post
January 22, 2015

Dual language learners have increased massively within the last few years, due greatly to immigration and the organic growth of Spanish-dominate U.S. born Latinos. That said, there's evidence that identifying and supporting bilingual or multilingual students earlier in their cognitive development/educational process does not seem to be a state or national priority, although it can make all the difference in their future.

Very few states demand early language assessments in early education programs, according to a new webinar by the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), titled "Young Immigrants and Dual Language Learners: Participation in Pre-K & Gaps at Kindergarten Entry."

January 21, 2015

Half of Kentucky's kindergartners did not enter the 2014-15 school year prepared to learn the reading and math skills they are expected to master, according to data released Wednesday by the state.

Fifty percent of students who entered kindergarten in the fall of 2014 were considered "not ready,” according to a statewide readiness screening administered by teachers to 49,089 kindergartners in all 173 school districts. 

It's a very slight improvement from the 2013-14 school year, when 51 percent were considered not ready.

"While we are moving in the right direction, this data reinforces the importance of quality early learning opportunities for all children," Gov. Steve Beshear said in a prepared statement.

Woodburn Independent
January 21, 2015

The results of the 2014-15 Oregon Kindergarten Assessment, which were released by the state Department of Education last week, only reinforces the need for early learning and earlier intervention before kindergarten, according to Woodburn Superintendent Chuck Ransom. The state’s assessment results should not surprise anyone familiar with the district and its composition. The data show that Woodburn students, when they begin their public school careers, are generally in line with their peers in approaches to learning and early mathematics, while they lag significantly behind in early English literacy. . . 

According to the 2014-15 assessment, local students matched or even exceeded the statewide averages for self-regulation and interpersonal skills (two measures dealing with approaches to learning) and came in just behind the statewide results for numbers and math operations.

Kare 11
January 21, 2015

Not long after getting free all-day kindergarten, boosters of early childhood education are hoping to get state money for free all-day preschool across Minnesota. It's a top priority for Senate Democrats this session. They say giving 4-year-olds a quality education better prepares them for success in life.

January 20, 2015

Stressing that 43 percent of Massachusetts third graders are not reading at grade level, state lawmakers are pushing to provide every child with an early start to education. State Senator Sonia Chang Diaz (D-Boston) filed a bill that would provide state-funded preschool education for three- and four- year olds across Massachusetts. If it is signed into law, school districts would qualify for funding by submitting a plan to the state on how they would provide high-quality education.

The Toronto Star (Canada)
January 19, 2015

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Monday that early childhood educators working at licensed centres are getting a $1-an-hour increase this month and another dollar hike next year.

“Let’s not pretend that your work has always been valued as it should be. We know that it has not so today I am very proud to announce we have taken action to increase wages for early childhood educators and front line child care professionals in licensed child care setting,” Wynne said speaking in Kingston, Ont. . . . Only workers making less than $26.27 an hour will be eligible for the bump up. The budget set aside $269 million in funding over three years.

January 19, 2015

For the first time in California, thousands of early-learning centers in most of the state, from preschools to licensed child-care centers and homes, are in the process of implementing a common system to rate the quality of their programs.

The system is a result of the only statewide grants California received from President Barack Obama’s signature $4.3 billion Race to the Top program. The state was unsuccessful in getting significant Race to the Top funding for its K-12 schools, but won $75 million in two “Early Learning Challenge” awards to institute a range of reforms to improve the quality of its vast system of publicly and privately funded preschool and child-care programs.

The New York Times
January 17, 2015

Yet as these debates rage, researchers have been quietly finding small, effective ways to improve education. They have identified behavioral “nudges” that prod students and their families to take small steps that can make big differences in learning. These measures are cheap, so schools or nonprofits could use them immediately. . . . Can nudges help younger children? Susanna Loeb and Benjamin N. York, both also at Stanford, developed a literacy program for preschool children in San Francisco. They sent parents texts describing simple activities that develop literacy skills, such as pointing out words that rhyme or start with the same sound. The parents receiving the texts spent more time with their children on these activities and their children were more likely to know the alphabet and the sounds of letters. It cost just a few dollars per family.

Seattle Times
January 17, 2015

Burkhalter is a test subject in one of many initiatives being piloted by the Thirty Million Words Project, which aims to prevent the achievement gap from starting with the power of parent-child talk — beginning at day one.

In this intervention with newborns, mothers still in the hospital learn research-based parenting practices less commonly known in poor households. There will soon be follow-up lessons at pediatric checkups. This winter, Thirty Million Words is embarking on a major long-term study of a home-visiting program that teaches communication skills to parents of slightly older babies. Children will be trailed from about 15 months old through at least kindergarten.