Early Education in the News

October 2, 2014

 Lily Endowment Inc., Early Learning Indiana and United Way of Central Indiana will continue their longstanding commitment to early childhood education in Indiana. The organizations are working together to improve the quality of programs for children from birth to age five. Lily has made a grant of $20 million to Early Learning Indiana to allow an increase in the quality and quantity of early childhood education opportunities across Indiana.

Vineyard Gazette
October 2, 2014

As a conversation unfolds in Massachusetts and around the country on the value of pre-kindergarten learning and whether it should be incorporated into public school education, interviews with early childhood educators on the Island reveals a similar conversation is quietly taking place here. Marney Toole, a longtime early childhood educator who coordinates the council for young children on the Island, said the idea of universal preschool is expected to be on the table for discussion this year. Across the water in Mashpee, universal preschool is being offered for the first time this year to all four year olds. Cost can be a barrier. Nearly all Island preschools are private and cost anywhere from $800 to upwards of $1,000 a month for full-time enrollment. The Vineyard school system runs the only public preschool on the Island, Project Headway, which began in 1981 and is primarily for students with special needs. Students without special needs attend as well, but they pay tuition. This year, there are 14 students with individual education plans (IEPs) and 16 peer models enrolled at Project Headway. . . 

As a result of a push-down effect from the upper grades, kindergarten teachers must make sure they are preparing their students for first and second grade and beyond, educators said. This means more time spent writing, reading and developing math skills, though Ms. Searle said they do make time — 30 to 45 minutes per day — for play. 

The Huffington Post [Op-Ed]
October 2, 2014

This fall we're welcoming more than 300 three- and four-year olds at Head Start sites in Los Angeles and Burbank. Head Start is the federal school readiness program that serves a million low-income children across the country. Head Start is also the brilliant and enduring product of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, which miraculously survived the politics and fashions of the last 50 years. . .

What about Head Start's outcomes? Does it have lasting impact on children or is it another waste of taxpayer money? That's about as useful as asking whether or not High School works. Studies can support either point of view. What's most important is this: quality programs produce quality outcomes. And of course substandard programs produce poor outcomes. Another consideration: Head Start has been the driving force in improving child outcomes, because every bump in the road has spurred improvements and innovation. While most school systems are struggling with huge numbers of English language learners, Head Start is a leader in the field. And what public school system requires failing schools to recompete when they don't deliver quality education to their students?

NWI Times
October 2, 2014

Local leaders and early childhood education experts made a pitch to support investing in early childhood education as an economic tool. Phillip Peterson, co-chairman of ReadyNation and a partner at Aon Hewitt in Pennsylvania, said almost every state in the United States has a business roundtable talking about the importance of early childhood education initiatives.

"Business knows the single most important factor in the workforce is human capital," he said. "U.S. worker capabilities are declining, and more workers are coming from other countries. Many of those workers are also going to school in the United States. The best option for Indiana and for the U.S. is to invest in people, young children and families."

Salt Lake Tribune
September 30, 2014

The commission also set as a priority the placement of young children in safe and developmentally appropriate settings. "Children, regardless of income, should be cared for in settings that will offer quality care to ensure children develop appropriate social, emotional and behavioral skills to prepare them for school and life," the report said.

And the commission highlighted the preparation of young children to enter kindergarten. "Expand opportunities for young children in poverty for enrollment in high-quality preschool settings in all areas of the state, including rural communities," the report recommended.

September 30, 2014

Several pages on the NIEER website are malfunctioning. We are aware of the issue and working to bring them back online. If you are looking for a page that has disappeared, please email us at info@nieer.org. Thank you for your patience!

DNAinfo New York
September 29, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged that this year's free pre-K classes would all be "high quality." But what does that look like? DNAinfo New York asked experts—including those who've spent years in classrooms teaching 4-year-olds as well as professional development experts responsible for training pre-K teachers—what parents should consider when choosing or evaluating a pre-K program.

Roll Call
September 29, 2014

While 14 million American families have a child younger than school age, child care and preschool are quickly becoming a luxury only the rich can afford. Child care costs exceed nearly every other household expense, and for families with two or more children, child care costs exceed the median rent cost in every state. On average, families pay anywhere from $4,000 to $16,000 per year for a child care center, depending on the geographic location and the age of the child.

Huffington Post (Education)
September 29, 2014

We must continue to raise quality in order to provide children with the kind of early experiences that are proven to boost high school graduation, increase college enrollment and completion, reduce crime and prepare a skilled workforce for the 21st century. Unfortunately, California falls short compared to so many other states -- we meet 4 of 10 quality benchmarks as defined by the National Institute for Early Education Research. The state's $50 million investment in supporting quality at the local levels is one important way we can begin to change this.

Sioux City Journal
September 27, 2014

Preschool teachers in districts participating in the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program must obtain a bachelor’s degree in education and must also have an early childhood endorsement. The program, established in 2007, provides funding to participating districts to ensure area students have access to early childhood education programs. According to the Iowa Department of Education, 320 of the state's 346 districts were expected to participate in the program this year. . . 

“I think that early childhood isn’t something that every college has because they may have not had the numbers,” she said. “But now some colleges are adjusting.”

The Commercial Appeal
September 27, 2014

 Four urban Indiana counties selected for a state-funded preschool pilot program will launch it in early 2015, officials said Wednesday during a day of meetings among state and local officials and educators.

Marion (Indianapolis), Allen (Fort Wayne), Lake (Gary) and Vanderburgh (Evansville) County preschools will begin enrolling low-income children receiving state vouchers in January, with rural Jackson County in southern Indiana following later in 2015, WIBC-FM reported.

Wyoming Public Media
September 26, 2014

Wyoming spends a lot of money educating its children. The state comes in sixth place in per-student spending for K-12. But when you look at outcomes—like graduation rates—we’re stuck in the middle of the pack. Some educators say the key to boosting student performance is to put more focus on children before they start kindergarten. Wyoming is one of 10 states without state-funded preschool. And statewide survey data from 2009 showed that only slightly more than half of all kindergartners were considered “kindergarten-ready.” Recent efforts to expand and improve early education in Wyoming have been rejected by lawmakers. Research like Berry’s makes clear that what we experience in our first years of life--interactions, stresses, trauma—that all impacts our ability to think and learn throughout school and beyond. “We see that investing in early interventions and programs is more effective and more efficient than investing later in remediation and treatment,” Berry says.

Houston Chronicle
September 25, 2014

Access to preschool programs - and their quality - varies widely across Texas. A broad coalition of Houston-area executives, educators and nonprofit groups assembled by Houston's premier business organization is working to change that, though a major hurdle remains: securing funding in a state that ranks toward the bottom in pre-K spending per pupil. . . 

W. Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, said he's seen big cities increasingly take the lead in pushing states to improve pre-K. He said the benefits of a longer day depend on the effectiveness of the instruction. Texas' pre-K program meets only two of the institute's 10 benchmarks of quality, but it ranked in the top fifth in terms of access.

Inside Indiana Business
September 25, 2014

An early education initiative supported by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and local business leaders has received a pledge of $500,000 from the PNC Foundation. Indiana is one of only 10 states without state-funded preschool program for underserved children. Central to this initiative is a commitment to address some of the "root causes" of poverty and crime through investments in quality early childhood education programs for at-risk children.

Evansville Courier & Press
September 24, 2014

Four urban Indiana counties selected for a state-funded preschool pilot program will launch it in early 2015, officials said Wednesday during a day of meetings among state and local officials and educators.

Santa Fe New Mexican
September 24, 2014

Advocates of using part of New Mexico's $14 billion land-grant endowment to fund early childhood education will announce their newest campaign Wednesday in Albuquerque.

The want to expand early childhood programs by using at least $110 million a year from the endowment's earnings.

Similar proposals have failed in each of the last four legislative sessions.

The Tampa Tribune
September 24, 2014

As Early Head Start celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and the Head Start program is about to mark its half-century, a timely reassessment of the program’s effectiveness and the problems it sought to address is overdue. . . 

Studies differ as to the extent of the benefits of this federal investment; some report that children benefit well into their twenties, while others suggest the benefits disappear by third grade. When teamed with high-quality, evidence-based and performance-oriented pre-K programs, however, public funding has been successful.
Bloomberg Businessweek
September 24, 2014

The second time around, there's no more denying early childhood education a place on the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce's "Big 5" goals. The future social and economic health of the region depends on strong education, and schools are increasingly strained in playing their part, superintendents said. "Early intervention is absolutely critical," Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson said. That means boosting not only pre-kindergarten classroom programming, but reaching out to parents and the communities raising children from birth to 3.

The Kansas City Star
September 23, 2014

As national discourse, fueled by President Barack Obama’s new campaign for universal pre-kindergarten, begins anew with billion-dollar questions to be answered, know this: Parents such as the Griners want preschool — badly. More than 1,000 children across the Kansas City area sit on public preschool waiting lists, a survey by The Star shows. . . 

Kansas City Public Schools, in announcing an ambitious vision to create a district-community network to reach 6,000 preschoolers in its neighborhoods by 2015, put its price at $40 million. Missouri Sen. Joseph Keaveny hasn’t yet figured the fiscal note that would be tied to his legislation that proposes letting school districts count their preschool enrollment in the daily attendance counts that determine state funding allotment.


September 22, 2014

Sixty-five percent of Alabama kids under age 6 have both parents in the work force.

So while their parents work, many of those children spend their days at child care centers, preschool or kindergarten.

The child care and early education industries are critical not just to those 192,000 children, but also the state's economy, contended a new report released by a group arguing for more investment, and higher standards, in early care programs.