Early Education in the News

Seattle Times
June 24, 2014

A fight simmering for months between Seattle City Council president Tim Burgess and two unions that together represent 1,500 child-care workers in Seattle will be settled by voters in November. The City Council voted unanimously Monday to place a $58 million property-tax levy on the November ballot to boost the quality and affordability of preschool in Seattle.

They also voted to put Initiative 107, a separate union-backed child-care proposal that was supported by nearly 22,000 signatures, on the November ballot. However, the council voted to consider it a competing, rather than complementary measure. That means voters will have to choose between them rather than voting for both.

June 24, 2014

"Quality is a really important aspect of pre-K. And in universal pre-K, public pre-K, every 3 and 4-year-old now has access to high quality public pre-K programming. And unfortunately, as many high quality programs as we have, we have more programs that just aren’t high quality. Many more programs are struggling and just can’t offer quality care. And that’s a real dilemma now that this bill has passed, because it’s only for high quality programs. So state agencies, philanthropists, providers, early learning professionals, we now have to work very concerted to improve the quality and the access to high quality programs."

June 24, 2014

Children whose parents read to them get a head start on language skills and literacy. But many children miss out on that experience, with one-third of children starting kindergarten without the language skills they need to learn to read. In a policy statement released Tuesday, the American Academy of Pediatrics called for pediatricians to talk with all parents about reading to their children starting in infancy, and to give books to "high-risk, low-income young children" at office visits.

Sacramento Business Journal
June 24, 2014

West Sacramento’s bid to offer preschool to all of its youngest residents has resulted in it being honored as one of the most livable cities in the U.S. by the national Conference of Mayors.

According to a news release from the ongoing conference in Dallas, West Sacramento’s program stands out for helping children of preschool age gain literacy skills before they begin kindergarten, particularly youngsters who speak English as a second language.

Centre Daily Times [Op-Ed]
June 23, 2014

Decades of compelling scientific research prove that quality early learning experiences resonate for a lifetime. Almost 90 percent of the brain is developed by age 5, laying the groundwork for academic and social success. Quality programs help young children develop core character traits, including stronger focus and self-control, better communication skills, critical thinking and the abilities to work in teams or engage in self-directed learning.

The Buffalo News [Op-Ed]
June 23, 2014

Among the bills that sailed through the legislative flurry in Albany last week, perhaps none is as critical to the future of the City of Buffalo as the one requiring all 5-year-olds to attend kindergarten. . . . Without kindergarten, some students are entering first grade without the social skills and basic knowledge needed to succeed. They start out behind other students, and may never catch up.

The Daily Item
June 23, 2014

Paid leave and access to child care are surging to the top of the nation’s political debate as Democrats and Republicans seek to win votes and advance policies to address the economic struggles of families trying to raise children and hold jobs. A high-profile White House “working families” summit Monday will focus on issues such as child care, paid family leave and equal pay between men and women. Politicians in both parties are also rolling out new parental leave and child-care legislation amid predictions that such issues will be prominent in the 2014 midterm and 2016 presidential campaigns.

VPR News (NPR)
June 23, 2014

[A] year from now, all children in Vermont will be offered a place in preschool or daycare. Many schools will outsource instruction to private childcare providers who must be qualified to participate, based on a rating system.

Over 80 percent of Vermont’s towns currently offer some subsidized preschool, but only about 38 percent of Vermont’s children are enrolled. The new law is designed to bring more early education to more kids. It’s expected to cost an additional $10 million over the next seven years, and local districts and philanthropists will also carry some of the cost.

June 21, 2014

The nation’s mayors had a crash course in neuroscience this morning as brain expert Patricia Kuhl showed them how much early childhood education makes a difference. The interaction and experiences children have from birth to five determine what kind of connections in the brain stay over a lifetime, said Kuhl, the co-director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington. . .

Kuhl is showing how much more the brain is engaged when an infant has access to quality language engagement at 12 months old. The activity is increased when a child has a that engagement in more than one language, she said.
The Washington Times
June 21, 2014

Former President Bill Clinton has joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to push for better access to early childhood education.

In a news release, Emanuel says the city has committed $36 million over three years to early childhood education. The mayor’s office says that will help provide programming for an additional 5,000 Chicago children.

Graphic Online
June 20, 2014

The National Director of World Vision Ghana, Mr Hubert Charles, has urged the government to increase budgetary allocation for early childhood education to promote access and quality. He said this would strengthen the infrastructure and human resource base at that level of education and ensure that interventions such as the School Feeding Programme became well structured. 

District Administration
June 19, 2014

High-quality preschools in a Utah district began receiving funds from a first-of-its-kind, $4.6 million social impact bond from investment banking firm Goldman Sachs last fall. The goal is to improve instruction in order to prevent students from needing special education or remedial services.

June 19, 2014

Poverty has little association with the cognitive abilities of nine-month-old children (Fryer and Levitt 2013). By the start of kindergarten, however, not only do poor children perform significantly worse on tests of cognitive ability than children from higher-income families, but teachers also report that these children have much more difficulty paying attention and exhibit more behavioral problems (Duncan and Magnuson 2011). The poverty gap in school readiness appears to be growing as income inequality widens (Reardon 2011). 

The Daily Journal
June 19, 2014

Compromise is the name of the game with the California budget’s inclusion of additional preschool programming, which is going to include less transitional kindergarten than initially anticipated. The plan, part of the 2014-15 budget passed by the Legislature Sunday, includes an early childhood education package that proposes $268 million to increase access and improve quality in existing programs. It establishes an ongoing $50 million annual grant to support quality improvements in the state’s preschool programming and provides $35 million for professional development and facilities, while creating 11,500 full-day spaces in state preschool for low-income 4-year-olds.

Dallas Observer
June 18, 2014

This past spring, Dallas ISD rolled out a generally successful push for eligible families to sign their 4-year-olds up for pre-k. Early registration more than doubled, from 3,288 to 6,905, and while the increase in the number of kids who ultimately enrolled was slightly less impressive -- from about 9,000 to about 9,500 -- a 5.5 percent jump isn't bad. DISD's pre-K expansion, though, is just getting started. . . 

According to a report from the National Institute for Early Education Research, just 15 percent of Texas 3-year-olds are enrolled in Head Start or a state-funded pre-k program. That figure doesn't include kids in high-quality private pre-k -- a not insubstantial number -- but it's low, about a fourth of what it is for 4-year-olds.
June 17, 2014

More than 120 school districts from upstate and Long Island will compete for $40 million in available grant money for full-day pre-kindergarten. . .

The initial interest is higher than what stakeholders and pre-K advocates expected. The groups had warned that the after-the-fact reimbursement process would deter upstate districts from applying, because they wouldn't have money to front for the considerable expenses of identifying new space and hiring teachers.
June 17, 2014

Detroit is among just five places in the U.S. selected for millions of dollars in federal funds for an Office of Head Start program aimed at improving early childhood education in the city.

With $60 million in federal money, a group of Detroit community-based agencies are participating in the so-called Birth to Five pilot program, including Starfish Family Services, Development Centers, Inc.; Focus: HOPE , Southwest Solutions and HighScope Educational Research Foundation.

The collaborative is set to get $12 million annually for five years, with the grant money going toward community-based childcare, K-3 education and investments in family and parent engagement, the group said. Detroit joined Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Sunflower County, Miss. and Jersey City, N.J. in the five places targeted with the money.

Lexington Herald-Leader
June 16, 2014

Gov. Steve Beshear announced Monday that Kentucky will finance workshops for parents on early childhood education in 25 school districts in the fall. The initiative is paid for by Kentucky's Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge federal grant. . . . It's the first step of a four-year, $1.4 million expansion of 150 academies across the state. The academies consist of six sessions designed to demonstrate how to turn everyday moments with children into learning opportunities.

The Seattle Times
June 16, 2014

At the mayor’s request, the Seattle City Council on Monday delayed a scheduled vote on the city’s universal preschool initiative so council members can put a price tag on a different plan that also would be on the November ballot. That plan is backed by unions representing child-care workers.

The one-week delay means that next Monday will be the council’s last chance to place a $58 million property-tax levy on the November ballot to make high-quality preschool free, or at least more affordable, for all of Seattle’s families. Mayor Ed Murray said the results of that financial analysis will inform how — and perhaps even if — the city takes its own levy proposal to voters this fall.

Washington Post
June 14, 2014

Over the past four decades, the United States has sent high numbers of its citizens to prison, especially poor minority men. The price has been paid by young children. Nearly one of every 10 U.S. residents under 18 has been affected by parental imprisonment. This has important consequences for children’s educational development.

One measure of early educational development, “school readiness,” suggests how prepared children are to learn in formal classrooms. Readiness involves skills such as problem solving, word knowledge, and number recognition as well as a child’s ability to pay attention, follow directions and control their anger and frustration. Readiness has been shown to affect success in kindergarten and early grades and predict success in college and the workplace. Readiness also affects decisions by teachers and school counselors – such as whether to assign children to special education classes — that affect children’s future paths and opportunities.