Early Education in the News

December 10, 2014

 President Barack Obama is following up on his promise to expand early education opportunities for tens of thousands of children by announcing a $1 billion public-private investment in programs for the nation's youngest learners.

The president will join a daylong summit convening at the White House on Wednesday to announce the investment in early learning programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — especially those in lower-income communities. Nationwide, 28 percent of America's 4-year-olds were enrolled in a state-funded preschool program last year.

U.S. Department of Education
December 10, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced today that 18 states have been awarded grants, totaling more than $226 million, under the Preschool Development Grantsprogram.

From the 36 applications the departments received, five states will be awarded development grants: Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana and Nevada. Thirteen will receive expansion grants: Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

U.S. News & World Report
December 10, 2014

The children are the future - and the Obama administration agrees. The White House is announcing on Wednesday $1 billion in funding in government, public and private support for early childhood education programs, including $750 million in federal investments for preschool development grants and an expansion of the Early Head Start program.

The announcements - which come as part of the White House's summit on early learning taking place in Washington on Wednesday - will also include the launch of a public awareness campaign dubbed "Invest in Us" and spearheaded by the First Five Years Fund. 

Great Falls Tribune
December 10, 2014

Montana was awarded a $10 million federal grant Wednesday to help develop preschool programs for 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.

The money will help preschools in 16 communities, Gov. Steve Bullock and Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said.

PBS NewsHour
December 10, 2014

Declaring early childhood education “one of the best investments we can make,” President Barack Obama on Wednesday followed up on a promise to expand early education opportunities for tens of thousands of children by announcing $1 billion in public-private spending on programs for young learners.

Obama said that less than one-third of 4-year-olds are enrolled in preschool and blamed the high cost of these programs for essentially shutting off access to poorer infants, toddlers and preschoolers. He said studies repeatedly show that children who are educated early in life are more likely to finish their educations, avoid the criminal justice system, hold good jobs and have stable families. All those factors are good for the U.S. and its economy overall, Obama said.

December 10, 2014

Why were Rhode Island officials so excited when the White House announced Wednesday that the state had won a $2.3-million federal grant for its preschool program?

Because the influx of funds will help expand one of the most successful state-funded pre-K programs in the country from 17 sites to 60 sites over the next five years, tripling the number of classroom seats offered to four-year-olds across the state.

December 10, 2014

Seven local school districts will be able to expand and enhance their public preschool programs next year as part of a $17.5 million federal grant awarded to the state Department of Education Wednesday.

Nineteen high-need school districts statewide will benefit from the grants designed to add 1,248 new preschool slots for 4-year-olds and improve existing programs for another 1,000 students.

Washington Post
December 10, 2014

The Obama administration today announced a public-private partnership designed to pump $1 billion into public preschool programs around the country.

At a White House summit on preschool education Wednesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced his agency is awarding $250 million to 18 states to either create or expand existing preschool programs. The states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. In all, 36 states had applied for the grant money.

And the Department of Health and Human Services said it was giving $500 million to more than 40 states to expand Early Head Start and child care programs for youngsters from birth to 3 years old.

About 63,000 children would benefit from those grants, the administration said.

Wall Street Journal
December 10, 2014

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says New York will receive a nearly $25 million federal grant for preschool programs in the state.

The New York Democrat says the Department of Education funding supports building or improving infrastructure and expanding preschool programs in targeted communities.

They're intended as models for expanding preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.

Washington Post
December 10, 2014

Virginia has been awarded a $17.5 million federal grant to expand preschool programs.

Virginia is among 13 states receiving funding from the Preschool Development Grants program to expand preschool. Five other states received grants for preschool development.

December 10, 2014

Vermont's road to universal preschool got smoother with fresh federal assistance announced Wednesday. Over the next four years, the $33 million grant will help public schools partner with private childcare centers and Head Start programs to raise standards and train teachers.  Vermont has been on a roll when it comes to federal support for preschool. First there was a $37 million “Race To The Top” grant, which establishes a framework for a state-wide preschool program. Now comes a grant almost that big to help districts fill that framework, hiring and training teachers and expanding pre-K hours.

December 9, 2014

Little children are big news this week, as the White House holds a summit on early childhood education on Wednesday. The president wants every 4-year-old to go to preschool, but the new Congress is unlikely to foot that bill. Since last year, more than 30 states have expanded access to preschool. But there's still a lack of evidence about exactly what kinds of interventions are most effective in those crucial early years. In New York City, an ambitious, $25 million study is collecting evidence on the best way to raise outcomes for kids in poverty. Their hunch is that it may begin with math.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
December 9, 2014

Pittsburgh City Council's "Women's Caucus," the four female members, has carved $250,000 out of the 2015 budget to create a fund for improving child care facilities in Pittsburgh.

The fund, to be housed in the city's Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment, will be used to start a low-interest loan or grant program to "help child-care providers install certain safety features and amenities required for facilities to be considered high quality by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,“ according to a news release.

News4Jax (Florida)
December 9, 2014

Florida children's advocates are hoping that momentum for investment in early education at the national level will spark interest in changes to preschool funding and policy at the state level as well.

The week after Republicans swept the November elections, Democrat Jim Messina, who managed President Obama's 2012 re-election bid, and Republican Kevin Madden, a senior advisor to rival candidate Mitt Romney, sent a memo urging members of both parties to "seize the opportunity to own the early childhood education issue."

"It's also an issue that has an impact tied to economic performance," Madden told The News Service of Florida last month. "If we're going to create a more competitive workforce for the future, then that begins with an investment in early childhood education."

December 8, 2014

Vermont’s Agency of Education has surprised many school districts by delaying the start of a new law mandating universal pre-school. The programs were supposed to be ready by next fall, but the agency says it needs more time to hammer out details and schools need more time to budget. Many districts want to forge ahead anyway. And yet, when she heard about the deadline extension, she felt not relief, but “horror.”  Powers says she felt as though “everything that we had worked for the past year was crumbling underneath our feet, because I was so proud of the fact that we have these 46 extra kids in preschool and now their fate was in jeopardy.”

December 8, 2014

New parents may live in fear of what they’ll pay for their child to attend college—but a nearer-term expense may have an even bigger impact on their wallets, a new survey finds.

Child Care Aware of America’s 2014 report on child care costs found that, in 30 states plus Washington, D.C., the average annual cost of enrolling an infant in a center-based daycare program is more than a year’s worth of tuition and fees at a public college in that state. f that’s not daunting enough, the report released Thursday also notes that infant center-based child care costs twice as much as the average amount families across the country spend on food, and exceeds transportation costs in almost every region in the United States. And for those with two kids, child care costs in 23 states and D.C. exceed the average housing costs for homeowners with a mortgage.

Utica Observer-Dispatch
December 8, 2014

What can CEOs, directors and other business people do to help improve child care and early childhood education?

The Mohawk Valley, one of three state regions to receive funding from Albany’s Early Care & Learning Council to form a business leader work group, is about to find out.

“We’re trying to engage business leaders in understanding the importance of child care and how it impacts them and their bottom line,” said Lorraine Kinney-Kitchen, director of the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Child Care Council, which is administering the money.

December 7, 2014

To that end, the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona has teamed up with several local agencies to offer free classes, seminars and books to people working with young children. Great Expectations for Teachers, Children and Families, funded through Arizona’s First Things First’s tobacco tax funds, also links local teachers to financial aid and scholarships so they can earn associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. (Learn more at www.getcf.org). Through the program, and the networking and support it provides, the number of Pima County college graduates in the field nearly doubled in five years. In 2009, the year the program started, between 22 and 25 people earned associate’s degrees in early-childhood education from Pima Community College. In May 2013, the number of graduates had risen to 47. Great Expectations also provided funds to begin a new University of Arizona master’s program in the field, and five have graduated so far. . . 

In 2012, the median income for Arizona’s early-childhood teachers was $10 per hour, with Head Start teachers earning an average of $16 per hour and public preschool teachers earning $14.50 per hour, data provided by First Things First show. Of those teachers, bachelor’s degrees were held by about 31 percent of the Head Start teachers, 45 percent of public school teachers and 23 percent of those working in nonprofit schools and for-profit centers, for an average of 26 percent.

The Gazette
December 5, 2014

Pony up the money to educate disadvantaged kids from birth until they start kindergarten, or spend more taxpayer dollars later on special education, incarceration or welfare. That was the message newly elected and re-elected state lawmakers representing the Pikes Peak region heard Thursday. At a legislative breakfast in Colorado Springs, early childhood education advocates presented studies they say show that providing quality programs for impoverished children pays off.


Fort Worth Business Press
December 5, 2014

If you ask a preschool teacher about the benefits of early childhood education, you’ll probably hear how it builds a foundation for reading and math while helping children learn how to take turns, follow directions and get along with others – all of which are important to success in school.  

As a retired hedge fund partner and a president of a foundation that guides philanthropy to strengthen North Texas communities, we agree completely. Yet we also know there are strong economic benefits as well. We'll begin with value for taxpayers. Enrolling children in quality preschool can save a tremendous amount of money in the long run because it makes it far more likely they will be prepared for school. That means less money for special education and public costs for students who fall behind, which is important because Fort Worth spends more than $10,400 on every pupil, every year for public school students.Nationally, Texas ranks among the top 10 states in the number of children who have access to pre-kindergarten. Unfortunately, the program meets only two of the 10 quality standards that have been articulated by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER).