Early Education in the News

NWI Times
June 8, 2016

 All Indiana families will have access to high-quality, state-funded preschool education by 2020, if State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz gets her way. The Democratic schools chief said Tuesday that providing every 4-year-old the opportunity to attend pre-kindergarten classes is necessary to start the next generation of Hoosiers on the right track.

"Indiana should invest in a public/private/community pre-K coalition approach that provides a high-quality option within the geographic boundaries of all traditional public school districts," Ritz said. She estimated universal pre-K in quality-rated educational programs — not day care or babysitting — would add $150 million a year to the $8 billion Indiana already spends on elementary and secondary education.

Los Angeles Times
June 8, 2016

Schools suspend minority students at much higher rates than their peers, starting from the beginning, preschool. The Civil Rights Data Collection, a national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, gathered information on more than 50 million students at more than 95,000 schools and found that although suspensions decreased by almost 20 percentage points between the 2011-2012 and 2013-2014 school years, gaps between the suspension rates of different groups remained, according to results released late Monday.

The survey included 1,439,188 preschool students in 28,783 schools. Of those, 6,743, or 0.47%, were suspended once or more than once. Although black girls represent 20% of preschool enrollment, 54% of preschool girls suspended once or more were black. And black preschool children overall were 3.6 times as likely to be suspended as white preschoolers. The results don't "paint a very good picture,” said Liz King, senior policy analyst and director of education policy at the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights. She called parts of it "startling.”

Global News Connect
June 8, 2016

Children receiving formal, classroom-based preschool accept significantly higher-quality caring and have improved reading and math skills than peers who accept spontaneous child caring before kindergarten, according to a new investigate by a University of Virginia and other institutions, published this week in Child Development.

Currently many immature children in a United States – about 50 percent of infants and some-more than 80 percent of 4-year-olds – knowledge unchanging non-parental care. The settings for these practice change widely from grave classroom settings like full-day pre-kindergarten, Head Start and private child caring centers to some-more spontaneous settings like protected family day caring homes, nannies or babysitters. Although some-more and some-more children are attending preschool centers, about half of 3- to 5-year-olds knowledge some spontaneous caring on a unchanging basis.

Relatively small is famous about a peculiarity of a spontaneous zone and how it compares to preschool centers, that are some-more frequency regulated.

June 7, 2016

Among children between the ages of three and five, just under 80 percent receive care and education from someone other than a parent. The settings in which children receive these services vary greatly. There are formal, classroom-based settings such as state-funded pre-K, Head Start, and private child care centers. But children also receive care and education in informal settings such as home-based family child care and home-based care provided by nonparental caretakers like nannies or babysitters.

According to a new study published in the journal Child Development, there are significant differences in the quality of care received by children enrolled in formal, classroom-based settings compared to their peers in informal settings. The study finds that children enrolled in formal settings, such as state-funded pre-K and child care centers, receive higher quality care and enter kindergarten with better math and reading skills compared to children receiving care from a family child care home or nonparental caretaker.

In order to gain a better understanding of quality differences between early education settings a team of researchers from the University of Virginia, Stanford University, Cornell University, and the Urban Institute analyzed data using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study’s Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), a nationally representative study that tracked 14,000 children from infancy in 2001 to kindergarten entry. Though these data are now about 10 years old, it represents the most current, nationally representative data available on early childhood education (ECE) quality. It includes interviews with parents and child care providers about the specific characteristics of their ECE setting. The researchers supplemented these data with direct observational measures of a subsample of classrooms. 

June 7, 2016

As parents and caregivers, few of us would consider ourselves experts on child brain development. But decades of research has established the critical importance of children learning before they reach school age and the role we have in shaping their progress. 

During the first five years of life, children begin to learn vocabulary, language, socio-emotional behavior, literacy, math, spatial reasoning, executive function and self-regulation. Although the impact of all this learning and development is nearly invisible to the eye, the impact on children is immeasurable and often determines their chances of success in school and life.

As a company focused on community and economic development, we understand the importance of the right start in a child's life. Investments in our youngest students are warranted given studies that show as much as a $16 benefit for every dollar invested. 

Given this return on investment, providing support for early education is more prudent than waiting until high school when issues are often more difficult to remediate. As resources in our state grow tighter and more demands are made on them, we have to be wise about our investment decisions. After all, it is far easier to prevent the achievement gap than to try to close it.

Education Week
June 7, 2016

Formal day care, like Head Start, public school pre-K and private centers, provide higher-quality care and education to both toddlers and 4-year-olds than informal, non-parent caregivers,according to a data analysis published in the most recent issue of Child Development, a scientific journal. 

The research, led by Daphna Bassok at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education, looks at data from a database tracking about 14,000 children who were born in 2001. Overall, children who received care in a formal, center-based setting watched less TV, spent more time outside, were read to more often, and spent more time learning age-appropriate math skills. By age 5, they were better readers and mathematicians than their counterparts who received care from a babysitter, a non-parent relative, or in a home-based licensed-care setting. 

Teachers in formal care settings were far more likely to have a degree in early-childhood education or a related field (56 percent) than caregivers in informal settings (9 percent). Center-based teachers were also more likely to participate in ongoing training. Still, only 37 percent of such teachers met the researchers' composite measure of high quality. Among informal caregivers, only 2 percent met the high-quality standard. Researchers posit that many of these differences can be attributed to the stricter regulations faced by formal centers.

The Boston Globe
June 6, 2016

Two years after Mayor Martin J. Walsh named an advisory panel to come up with a citywide action plan for universal preschool, the committee on Friday released a report scant on details and devoid of cost estimates, calling for further study.

The report excised financial projections that had been prepared for the committee, though the mayor had previously told the Globe it could cost as much as $56 million to provide preschool to all city 4-year-olds. During his State of the City address in January, Walsh asked the state to contribute funding — a request ignored by Governor Charlie Baker.

The Walsh administration received the committee’s recommendations in December 2014, but kept them under wraps, claiming the report was only a draft that was exempt from public disclosure law.

After the Globe successfully appealed to the state supervisor of public records, city officials released asummary in March of this year and said the final report, with cost estimates, would follow by the end of that month.

Global News Connect
June 6, 2016

Children receiving formal, classroom-based preschool accept significantly higher-quality caring and have improved reading and math skills than peers who accept spontaneous child caring before kindergarten, according to a new investigate by a University of Virginia and other institutions, published this week in Child Development.

Currently many immature children in a United States – about 50 percent of infants and some-more than 80 percent of 4-year-olds – knowledge unchanging non-parental care. The settings for these practice change widely from grave classroom settings like full-day pre-kindergarten, Head Start and private child caring centers to some-more spontaneous settings like protected family day caring homes, nannies or babysitters. Although some-more and some-more children are attending preschool centers, about half of 3- to 5-year-olds knowledge some spontaneous caring on a unchanging basis.
Relatively small is famous about a peculiarity of a spontaneous zone and how it compares to preschool centers, that are some-more frequency regulated.
According to researchers from a University of Virginia, Cornell University, a Urban Institute and Stanford University, who used nationally deputy information to inspect peculiarity differences opposite grave and spontaneous settings, there are estimable differences not usually with honour to quality, though with honour to children’s reading and math skills when they enter kindergarten.
June 6, 2016

Mississippi’s early learning collaboratives have been rated among the top five in the nation for quality standards.

Public pre-k began in 2013 when the legislature passed the early learning collaborative act, providing free pre-kindergarten to local communities throughout Mississippi.

While the recognition by the National Institute for Early Education Research shows Mississippi on the right path to jump-starting children’s education, the early learning collaboratives only reach a small percentage of eligible children across the Magnolia State.

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright said, “The collaboratives are only touching between 1,700 to 1,800 children and you know we’ve got over 40,000 four-year-olds. So, the need is there and the desire is there, but it takes funds to open this up.”

June 6, 2016

Last fall my three-year-old son enrolled in a public pre-K program at a local elementary school in Washington, D.C. At our first meeting with his teacher, she asked us questions about what languages we spoke at home and whether our son spoke a language other than English. I was thrilled to be asked these questions because I knew that it meant the school was taking their responsibility to identify and screen potential dual language learners (DLLs) seriously.

Yet, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)2015 State of Preschool Yearbook, D.C. is in the minority when it comes to setting policies that support their DLLs. It was one of just 14 states (or, in D.C.’s case, “states”) with at least three DLL-related policies in place. These policies include: making program recruitment/enrollment materials available in multiple languages, collecting information on student’s home language, and using multiple developmental screenings and assessments to identify and support DLLs.

NIEER estimates that 23 percent of three- and-four-year-olds in the United States are DLLs. This percentage is more than double than DLLs’ percentage of K–12 enrollment, which stands at nine percent of students. These numbers vary considerably by state, however. California has the largest percentage of DLLs in the younger age group (45 percent) and West Virginia has the lowest (2 percent). Given these numbers — and the growing research base highlighting the benefits of high-quality early education on DLLs’ early literacymath and English language development — it’s become increasingly important to track how state pre-K programs are serving DLLs.

The White House
June 3, 2016

Today the White House is announcing a new Federal policy statement from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education on better supporting our country’s youngest dual language learners (DLLs) in early childhood programs. The Obama Administration will be joined by public and private sector organizations that will also announce new commitments to support DLLs. Additionally, the White House, in collaboration with Too Small to Fail and Invest in US, is holding a regional convening today at the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education in Miami, FL to highlight the importance of supporting our country’s DLLs in early childhood programs.

Data indicate that about one in five school-aged children speak a language other than English at home, a figure that has more than doubled in the past few decades. Estimates suggest that this number may be even higher for learners under the age of six; for example, nearly a third of children in Head Start programs are DLLs. Research with young DLLs clearly reflects that children’s bilingual skill development promotes overall language development and should be encouraged.

The Federal policy statement being released today recognizes the cultural and linguistic assets of this population of children, and provides important resources and recommendations to the early childhood field to ensure that our nation’s early education programs are accessible to these families, and that they appropriately foster the learning and development of this large and growing group of children. Today’s announcements also mark progress on the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, which aims to ensure that all young people, including children of color, can reach their full potential.

The Boston Globe
June 3, 2016

House Speaker Bob DeLeo is done talking about the value of preschool education. It’s time to get it right in Massachusetts.

This week DeLeo began meeting with a group of business leaders to develop a plan on how the state could increase not only access to early education but improve quality. His goal: Come up with a set of recommendations that can be turned into legislation or new programs by the next budget cycle.

More than expanding charter schools, reforming preschool could be one of the most important education initiatives for the Commonwealth in decades. Study after study indicates that kids who are schooled at an early age graduate from high school and college at higher rates than those who do not. They are also less likely to abuse drugs, end up in jail, or rely on public assistance.

Yet in the fight for scarce public dollars, early education has been low on the priority list, overshadowed by the needs in K-12 and public colleges.

June 2, 2016

More funding is needed to achieve greater curriculum alignment between preschool and the early school years, so that what students learn in kindergarten through 3rd grade builds on what they learned in preschool, a new study says.

Strong leadership by district officials knowledgeable about quality preschool education is another key to making alignment work, said the study by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), a nonpartisan research group based at Stanford University, UC Davis and the University of Southern California.

Preschool has increasingly come to be viewed as an essential component of an effective education, particularly for lower-income children; that has spurred widespread discussion about the need to align preschool curricula with that of kindergarten and beyond. But consensus on how to define and establish alignment hasn’t been reached.

June 1, 2016

Last year, the National Academy of Medicine and National Research Council released the seminal Transforming the Workforce report that emphasizes the competencies and qualifications birth to third grade educators need to possess in order to support high-quality learning for young children. The report makes 13 recommendations aimed at bringing about greater educator quality and continuity from birth through early elementary school.

Of all the report’s recommendations, the one that has garnered the most attention is the second, which calls for the development of pathways and timelines for transitioning to a minimum bachelor’s degree requirement with specialized knowledge of ECE for all lead teachers of children from infancy to third grade. The recommendation is based on research suggesting that these qualifications are associated with higher-quality teaching and strong learning environments. But significant challenges exist in realizing this recommendation.

Recently, the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) released a report outlining several of these challenges as well as highlighting some promising practices being utilized by states to train and retain highly educated ECE teachers.

The Meadville Tribune
June 1, 2016

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Speech, Language and Hearing introduces a regionally unique program this fall titled Kids Intensive Language Training (KILT) to offer intensive language therapy to preschool-age children with hearing loss.

Applications are being accepted for the eight available places in the inaugural KILT class. The program is classroom-based and involves the use of auditory-verbal (A-V) therapy principles to encourage children to become independent communicators and to provide them with the necessary skills to succeed in a mainstream educational environment. The program application can be accessed at surveymonkey.com/r/EUKilt.

Participating children will spend 12 weeks working with certified and licensed Edinboro faculty with expertise in the A-V therapy approach. Sessions will be held twice weekly for three hours each in the Governor George Leader Speech and Hearing Center on the EU campus beginning on Sept. 12.

May 31, 2016

A new report from a non-profit early education advocacy group shows that Kentucky is among states improving in the number of state dollars spent for Pre-Kindergarten education programs.

According to “The State of Preschool Yearbook” by The National Institute for Early Education Research, the 2014-2015 school year saw improvement in state-by-state Pre-K funding across the nation, marking a steady growth in the years following the Great Recession.  

Last year, Kentucky spent more than $71,767,000 dollars funding Pre-K programs, equating to $3,835 dollars per enrolled child, ages 3 and 4. This is $360 higher than in 2010. This amount is only money contributed to schools by the state and not from federal funds or other sources.

While the money per student increased, there has been a slight decline in Pre-K enrollment, dropping from 30% in 2010 to 26% last school year.

DNA Info
May 31, 2016

A local preschool’s work-study grant program lets parents barter their skills for a preschool tuition break, making the process of going back to work a lot easier and more affordable, its director says.

When the Osher Learning Center on 50 Overlook Terrace opened in 2011, the goal was to provide an affordable and nurturing educational environment, where kids learned everything from music, science and art in a "homeschool setting," said director Elisheva Kirschenbaum. 

Kirschenbaum said she started Osher, which means joy, rich and wealth in Hebrew, to help parents find a balance between working, supporting their kids and being a part of a community. 

“Our approach is to involve the community,” Kirschenbaum said. “When [the kids are] happy, they remember what they learn and that is our goal.”

Kirschenbaum said that, in addition to her, the preschool has another staffed teacher for the 9 students, although several parents contribute what they know to enrich the curriculum and offset the cost of tuition. 

The Sacramento Bee
May 27, 2016

Mariana stepped foot into my transitional kindergarten classroom when she was 4 years old, too young to start class.

She knew little to no English, was unsure how to follow class instructions and would hide by my side. Now near the end of the school year, she confidently walks into class to tell me about a book from home, she has friends and initiates activities, and she understands letter and number concepts.

She’s ready for kindergarten this fall thanks to transitional kindergarten.

In spite of significant student benefits and transitional kindergarten’s continued progress statewide, Gov. Jerry Brown’s May revision budget proposes to eliminate transitional kindergarten for up to 125,000 young children like Mariana. Cutting transitional kindergarten also endangers the jobs of thousands of teachers.

Such sweeping changes to California’s early childhood system that cut essential opportunities for children, families and teachers shouldn’t be rushed through the last few weeks of the budget process.

Research reflects what I have seen in my classroom: children in transitional kindergarten have a five-month learning advantage in kindergarten compared to their peers, according to the American Institutes for Research. Transitional kindergartners make real gains in early literacy, math and critical learning skills such as managing behavior and thinking flexibly. The National Institute for Early Education Research’s recent State of Preschool Yearbook highlights transitional kindergarten’s expansion as good news for California and the nation.

District Administration
May 27, 2016

To further its commitment to ensuring that all young children can access high-quality early learning experiences, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) announced the launch of Power to the Profession, a national collaboration to set a unifying framework of professional guidelines for early childhood educators—from required competencies and qualifications to career pathways and compensation.

Power to the Profession comes in response to a report by The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8, which found a fragmented early childhood workforce in need of uniform qualifications, career pathways and professional supports. This fragmentation is one of the major contributors to the varying levels of access to and quality of early childhood education programs throughout the country.

Power to the Profession is a two-year initiative to define the professional field of practice that unifies early childhood educators across all states and settings so they can further enrich the lives of children and families.

My San Antonio
May 27, 2016

Funding early childhood education should not be a partisan issue. It’s an investment in the future of the next generation and a crucial component in ensuring the economic growth of our country.

Research shows children who receive early childhood education have better health and education outcomes than their peers who don’t have such access. In the United States, only 4 of 10 children benefit from publicly funded preschool. The numbers are better in Texas, but only 48 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled in pre-K in the 2014-15 school year.

Texas has provided half-day pre-K to a limited number of 4-year-olds since 1985. To qualify, children must be eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, be homeless, be a part of the foster care system, have a parent on active military duty who was injured or killed on active duty, or not be able to speak or comprehend English.

Last year, the number of students in the Texas public school prekindergarten program was down by 6,738 from the previous year, with an enrollment of 219,488 students. The state could be doing so much more to open the doors of opportunity for the state’s youngest residents.