Early Education in the News
Bulman was one of dozens of pre-K advocates that rallied at the Alabama State House during the second annual Child Advocacy Day, which was sponsored by VOICES for Alabama’s Children. Last year, the National Institute for Early Education Research recognized the state’s pre-K program as the best in the United States for the eighth year in a row. Melanie Bridgeforth, executive director of VOICES, said the day was focused on bringing education advocates to the State House so that they could express their concerns about early childhood education, giving them “a place at the table.”
It's a bold initiative by Dayton who has proposed $348 million in new state spending to provide universal preschool in every public school district. It should be no surprise that Dayton is all in for universal preschool. This initiative is reminiscent of the all-day kindergarten legislation that passed in 2013, which he frequently touted during his re-election campaign as one of the major successes of his first term.
"We have already seen the tremendous successes of all-day kindergarten, which got underway just this year," Dayton said. "But we have a lot more work to do to narrow Minnesota's achievement gap and provide excellent education for every student in Minnesota. That work has to start now, and it must begin with our youngest learners."
Rhode Island has been awarded $3.3 million in federal funding for early childhood education programs. The congressional delegation announced the funding for Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
Low-income parents would no longer have to turn down pay raises for fear of losing all of their child care assistance under a bill advanced by lawmakers Monday.
Legislative Bill 81, introduced by State Sen. Tanya Cook of Omaha, cleared first-round consideration on a 28-0 vote.
Cook said the bill would eliminate the subsidy “cliff effect,” under which parents who make more than 130 percent of the federal poverty level lose all child care help.
The clearest message researchers gained in a year of polling and listening across the state is that most Missourians want to support early childhood education.
Less clear, but still reassuring to the Raise Your Hand for Kids campaign, is that they think enough people would be inclined to vote for a 50-cent increase in Missouri’s tobacco tax to help make it happen.
But campaign organizer Erin Brower knows the fight to raise Missouri’s lowest-in-the-nation tobacco tax gets complicated very quickly after that.
Head Start truly changed the trajectory of my life, and it changes the lives of thousands of children in Minnesota every year.
That’s why this budget matters. Along with additional provisions in the human services and health budgets, the governor’s blueprint for early success has the power to transform young lives in the same way mine was transformed. It has the power to begin breaking the cycle of poverty that has trapped families for too long, to empower parents and instill hope where before there was none. It has the power to spark our state’s next generation of innovators and thinkers: CEOs, community leaders and commissioners.
If Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has his way, all 4-year-olds will soon be going to school within their school districts, all day, every day. The creation of a universal pre-k system throughout the state would cost roughly $348 million and would be funded through the state’s surplus.
Although it’s questionable that the proposal would pass, given it is a Republican-controlled House right now, the goal is not likely to die even if it’s shot down this year. The idea behind this proposal would be to provide a free pre-school education to all 4-year-olds across the state, thereby attempting to even the playing field for all children heading into kindergarten, including those who currently do not receive a pre-school education.
Backers of universal preschool in Cincinnati are zeroing in on a plan to pay for an ambitious program they say could lift thousands out of poverty, create a more competitive workforce and result in fewer criminals crowding prisons. Four tax proposals are still under consideration, but momentum is building around a city property tax increase through a school levy or a ballot initiative in fall 2016. The program would make Cincinnati first in the nation to fund two full years of preschool for virtually all children living in the city.
As state legislators wrestle with how to provide money for more pre-kindergarten classes, the Fort Worth school district is moving forward with a groundbreaking decision to offer a full-day education program for all 4-year-olds.
On Friday morning, the district will break ground in a ceremony signaling the start of construction to add pre-K classrooms at 16 school sites to accommodate all 4-year-old students in the system.
The Fort Worth projects get underway while the Legislature takes up bills to add more funding — but not enough dollars — for early childhood education, an issue that Gov. Greg Abbott made a hallmark of his election campaign.
“I support expanded public investment in early childhood. But I don’t support universal pre-K. Pre-K spending should be targeted to low-income children, not subsidize middle-class families who can afford it.” It’s a common theme in debates about early childhood education. And I used to agree with it.
I still agree that, in a context of limited resources, incremental public investments should focus first on the most disadvantaged kids. But, after a decade of working on pre-K policy and seeing the practical realities of income-targeted preschool programs, I no longer think targeted pre-K should be the goal. It should be a way station on the path toward universal pre-K access.
If you believe in karma — the good kind, that is — then you’ll believe it was working for Head Start pioneer Edward Zigler two years ago. He was preparing to undergo hip surgery when he became the direct beneficiary of the educational program he helped form 50 years ago.
Zigler’s wife and colleague were at his side at Yale-New Haven Hospital when the anesthesiologist, John Paul Kim, realized that he was about to care for the man who started the program that helped educate him as a child growing up in poverty in New York.
Calling the federal budget “a reflection of who we are” as a nation, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey ripped a proposed Senate Republican budget on Thursday for failing children. In a conference call with reporters hours before the Senate began debate on the multitrillion-dollar spending plan, Casey blasted the budget’s cuts to the nation’s top early childhood education program, Head Start, the free or reduced price school-lunch program, food stamps, special education and Medicaid. The budget also allows tax credits that benefit the poor to lapse, he said.
Today, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced an amendment to the Senate Republican Budget to expand access to high-quality preschool for low- and moderate-income three-and-four year olds. The proposal, which would be fully paid for by closing wasteful tax loopholes that benefit the biggest corporations, was blocked by Senate Republicans by a vote of 54-46.
While the debate rages over the federal budget and how much will go to K-12 schools, states and localities supply the biggest share of education dollars – about 87 percent on average. But is that money distributed fairly to the students who need it most?
School districts that serve the most students in poverty receive an average of $1,200, or 10 percent, less per student in state and local funding than districts with few students in poverty, according to a report released Thursday by The Education Trust (Ed Trust), a group in Washington that advocates for closing economic and racial inequities in schools. The resource gap grows to $2,200 when adjusting to account for an estimated 40 percent higher cost to educate high-poverty students, the report notes.
Alaska is failing its youth and failing its future by choosing not to add funds back into Alaska’s budget to fund pre-K education for youngsters.
A wealth of economic research shows that smart investments in early childhood education fight poverty by delivering strong academic, social and economic outcomes not just for children, but also for their families and their communities.
Other kids might soon have a chance to enter free pre-K. Gov. Tom Wolf's new budget proposes a "down payment" on early education spending, in the form of an additional $100 million to Pre-K Counts and $20 million more for Head Start next year. Pre-K, or preschool, is just one big-ticket item in a hefty $1 billion state education budget increase. While pre-K spending sometimes enjoy bipartisan support -- and has received calls to actions from the White House -- committing funds to early education is a tough sell in times of budget scarcity. But advocates hope that the long-term promise of pre-K spending will outweigh short-term budget squeamishness.
Waterford Institute announced today that it has invested in a six-month pilot program partnering with three preschool centers in South Carolina. Last week, 70 preschoolers began using UPSTART, Waterford's in-home school readiness program, at home. The pilot will run through August, at which time the children's learning outcomes will be assessed.
One of the best outcomes of the 2014 gubernatorial election was that both candidates made a priority issue of what's best for children too young for Kindergarten. Now the Legislature is grappling with competing pre-K plans. The upsides are that both plans would raise the state's investment in pre-K education and that passing one or the other is more likely than rejecting both. It helps that no one is disputing the value of pre-K. Research shows that it prepares children to read at their grade level at third grade. A local school administrator interviewed by Nadia Tamez-Robledo of the Caller-Times identified third grade as the turning point at which children make the jump from learning to read, to reading to learn. Gov. Greg Abbott was right to declare pre-K a top priority for the Legislature. It's the foundation for his commendably ambitious goal to make Texas the nation's leader in education.
In recognition of the challenges presented by a lack of funding in childhood care, leaders in early childhood care policies and Steinhardt Educational Leadership program hosted a panel to discuss child care in New York City on Monday.
Panel member Lorelei Vargas, the deputy commissioner for early care and education in the Administration for Children’s Services, said such conversations are part of a larger movement toward reform.
“It’s an exciting time because there’s a lot of commitment from the current administration to support early childhood development,” Vargas said. “It’s something new because we haven’t seen that in a long time.”
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) has proposed spending nearly a fifth of his state’s budget surplus on creating a universal preschool program for Minnesota’s 4 year olds. That would make it one of just a handful of states to offer universal, full-day pre-K.
At a visit to a preschool classroom on Friday, Dayton called on state lawmakers to pass $348 million in new spending for every public school in the state so they can create preschool programs. That would represent about a fifth of the state’s projected $1.9 billion surplus and is the biggest general fund increase he’s put forward this year. He’s currently focusing on access for all of the state’s 4 year olds, although he said he would be open to more funding for younger ages.
The governor’s administration estimates that 47,300 preschoolers would be covered in the first year of the program, which would expand to 57,000 after that. Minnesota currently ranks 50th nationally for its share of students attending full-day preschool and 40th for 4 year olds’ access to programs.