Early Education in the News

Think Progress
November 6, 2015

Tolanda Barnette has spent the whole day caring for other people’s children, only to come home to a homeless shelter and worry about how to provide for her own three kids. She currently makes $12 an hour at a daycare center, a job she’s had at different centers for 13 years. “I love children,” she said. “There is nothing more pleasing to be around than kids… I’ve always had a love for kids since I was a child.” That passion brought her into this line of work, but it hasn’t made it any easier when the low pay presented challenges for her own children. She lost her housing voucher last summer when she had to leave her apartment of seven and a half years and wasn’t able to secure a new one within 90 days. Her family bounced around, staying with different friends and family until they were able to get admitted to a shelter this past June. . .

arnette is one of the millions of people who go to work everyday and care for the country’s youngest citizens. As more and more children live in families where all the adults hold jobs — both parents work in nearly half of two-parent households, and the vast majority of single parents work — the work they do has become even more vital. Yet their pay is outrageously low. According to a new analysis from the Economic Policy Institute, the median wage for child care workers is $10.31. That’s not just a small figure on its own; it’s also very low compared to what these workers could make elsewhere. Even when compared to other workers with the same gender, race, educational attainment, age, geography, and a number of other factors, EPI found that child care providers make 23 percent less. And even those figures are likely underestimating the problem, given that any provider who is self employed and working out of her own home — providers who are likely to earn even less than those in, say, centers — aren’t counted.

Viewpoints
November 6, 2015

Connecticut has some of the nation’s largest achievement gaps between white students and students of color. That’s the lesson from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results released during the last week of October. These results provide Connecticut residents a clear picture of how the state’s schools perform, for different student groups, compared to other states, and over time.

To close these gaps, Connecticut’s schools must do a much better job of serving low-income, black, and Hispanic students. But, because one-third to one-half of the achievement gap exists before children start school, efforts to close those gaps must also start earlier, in the preschool and early childhood years.

Research shows that high-quality pre-k programs can help to narrow achievement gaps for low-income students, improving their school and long-term outcomes. This is crucial for a state like Connecticut that has struggled with persistent achievement gaps between student groups for decades.

DealBook
November 4, 2015

Goldman said its investment had helped almost 99 percent of the Utah children it was tracking avoid special education in kindergarten. The bank received a payment for each of those children.

The big problem, researchers say, is that even well-funded preschool programs — and the Utah program was not well funded — have been found to reduce the number of students needing special education by, at most, 50 percent. Most programs yield a reduction of closer to 10 or 20 percent.

89.3 KPCC Southern California Public Radio
November 3, 2015

The process grew complicated back in 2010 when the California legislature changed the age for getting into kindergarten to 5 by Sept. 1. Parents were left wondering if their child was old enough for kindergarten. Now new research suggests that waiting until the child is a little older might lead to mental health benefits as the students advances through the grades. According to Thomas Dee of Stanford’s Center for Education Policy Analysis, starting kindergarten at age 7 leads to children who are better able to focus and control their emotions. “Delaying kindergarten virtually eliminates the probability that a child is at risk of ADHD,” he said. . .

Waiting until children are older to start school, known as "redshirting," is not a new concept. Dee points out there is little evidence that delaying the start of school improves educational and economic outcomes. However, his study highlights important mental health benefits that can ultimately impact school performance. Yet these benefits may not apply to all children. “We found that the gains for delaying kindergarten tended to be concentrated among more affluent kids,” Dee said. Why? “Kids who come from more affluence are more likely to be in high-quality PreK, maybe ones that stress a more play-based curriculum.”

The Columbia Chronicle
November 3, 2015

Presidential campaign education platforms primarily focus on college tuition and student debt. However, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders support the implementation of universal prekindergarten education, which would increase access to high-quality preschool education to families of all socioeconomic backgrounds. In the past, preschool has been out of reach for lower-income children, as private preschools are expensive and public programs are limited. State-funded preschool is available in 40 states and the District of Columbia, but only three in 10 of the nation’s 4-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality prekindergarten program, according to the White House’s website. 

The Journal Gazette
November 2, 2015

All children deserve a strong start in their educational journey. But in far too many Hoosier communities, many children living in poverty miss out. Without access to high-quality early-learning programs, they fall behind in literacy, math and social skills. Unfortunately, far too many never catch up. Last year, our state spent nearly $22 million to remediate 4,500 kindergartners because they entered unprepared and had to repeat the grade. And in Allen County alone, only one in four children was kindergarten-ready. Not only is this an avoidable misuse of time, resources and money, but it brings to light a cyclical issue – missed opportunities to educate our youth, in whom rest the future of Indiana. . .

Up until this year, we were one of only 10 states to not offer state-funded pre-K for 4-year-olds. Now we finally have begun. On My Way launched this fall as Indiana’s first pre-K program to serve children, starting at age 4, from families who are below 127 percent of the federal poverty level. PNC Bank joined United Way of Allen County early on to match funds for this three-year program. Together with the state match, our seed money has helped begin the process of improving quality curriculum, teacher training, facility upgrades and family engagement.  

The River City News
November 2, 2015

Early childhood education isn’t a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Tea Party issue. It is a critical component to our community’s long term success, and should be treated that way, regardless of your political persuasion. 
If you are under the belief that early childhood education, (pre-natal care, quality childcare, all day pre-school & kindergarten) is a waste of time and money, and efforts to improve early childhood learning are lost by the age of nine, I want to ask you this question, “Who have you been listening to?” While it’s easy to get caught up in political passions during the campaign season, now is the time to put rhetoric aside and hear what our local experts say about the importance of early childhood education.

All Africa
November 2, 2015

Like Favour, over 10 million school age children are out of school in Nigeria because their families cannot afford to fund the fees, especially pre-school, which is presently not state-funded. There is an urgent need to expand the access of early childhood education, as the importance cannot be over emphasised.

Past governments have only always spent a fraction of the United Nation's recommended national investment on education, and this has had a negative impact on the quality and accessibility to education, especially pre-schools. Most high quality pre-schools in the country are privately owned and inaccessible to disadvantaged families because of the cost.

Children are made to stay at home at an age (0-5 years), where research has shown that the human brain is developing - therefore representing a critically important window of opportunity to develop the child's full potential and shape key academic, social, and cognitive skills that determine a child's success in life and in school.

Stryk
October 29, 2015

A report released this week by the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now concluded the statewide achievement gap begins in early childhood and offered recommendations for how the state can improve educational outcomes in traditionally underserved communities by improving access to pre-kindergarten programs.

"We have to recognize that achievement gaps appear very early," said ConnCAN Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Alexander.

Alexander said the report was a way for the organization to join the conversation about early childhood education, which she said fits ConnCAN's belief that "every child should have access to quality education, regardless of race, zip code or economic status."

Star Tribune
October 28, 2015

Math and reading proficiency scores for Minnesota fourth-graders this year have dipped from their record highs in 2013, according to the results of a national test released Wednesday. In 2013, fourth-graders in Minnesota posted the highest scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), considered the best comparison of students from state to state in the country. But scores for both reading and math dropped in fourth grade this year.

The state also saw no significant improvement in reading or math scores for eighth-graders in Minnesota. Still the state continues to outperform others across the country, especially in math. But state officials say Minnesota’s educators should not be content because large gaps in achievement show many poor and minority students are not meeting standards.

U.S. Department of Education
October 28, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education released a report today that shows Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge states are rapidly improving the quality of early learning programs while enrolling more children, especially from low- and moderate income families, in the highest-quality programs.

What’s more, thousands more children are receiving health screenings to help detect medical or developmental issues earlier, the report shows. The report comes from the annual performance reviews for the 20 states that have received more than $1 billion in Early Learning Challenge grants since 2011. These reports capture the successes achieved and obstacles overcome by states in the last year.

Chalkbeat Colorado
October 26, 2015

A recent landmark study out of Tennessee upended the conventional wisdom about the power of preschool and raised questions nationwide, including in Colorado, about how to leverage early education to produce long-lasting impacts.

The Vanderbilt University study revealed that at-risk students who participated in Tennessee’s publicly-funded preschool program showed significant gains initially, but by third grade performed worse than non-participants on both academic and behavior measures.

Early childhood experts here say the study underscores the need for quality in both preschool and subsequent K-3 instruction, but that the findings don’t match Colorado data showing that academic benefits of preschool do stick.

“You don’t have the same story in Colorado,” said Charlotte Brantley, president and CEO of Denver’s Clayton Early Learning.

Chalkbeat Colorado
October 26, 2015

A recent landmark study out of Tennessee upended the conventional wisdom about the power of preschool and raised questions nationwide, including in Colorado, about how to leverage early education to produce long-lasting impacts.
The Vanderbilt University study revealed that at-risk students who participated in Tennessee’s publicly-funded preschool program showed significant gains initially, but by third grade performed worse than non-participants on both academic and behavior measures. Early childhood experts here say the study underscores the need for quality in both preschool and subsequent K-3 instruction, but that the findings don’t match Colorado data showing that academic benefits of preschool do stick. . .

But Dale Farran, one of the Vanderbilt study authors, said such data—part of an annual report to the Colorado legislature—doesn’t rigorously match preschool children to comparison group children. Instead of matching them prior to the preschool year, they’re matched after-the-fact in first grade—leaving many unknowns about parent motivation, poverty status and skill levels when the comparison children were 4.

Yahoo News
October 26, 2015

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a new business venture, and no, it's not in tech.

Under the leadership of Zuckerberg's wife, Priscilla Chan, the couple is planning to open their own school in Palo Alto, Calif. The Primary School will serve the children of East Palo Alto and Belle Haven, Kindergarten through grade 12. More distinctively, the school will also provide its students health care services from birth to graduation.

“I'm so proud of Priscilla for starting The Primary School – a new kind of school that brings education and healthcare together,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “Health and education are closely connected. When children aren't healthy, they can't learn as easily. . .”

"There's a lot more to learning and development than test scores," W. Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, tells NPR in May. "And so if it only has modest impacts, it's probably worth it."

NJ.com
October 23, 2015

Ensuring that every New Jersey child has access to quality preschool education is one of the best investments we can make in our future. Decades of studies have demonstrated that children who enter school prepared enjoy higher academic achievement, are more likely to graduate and go to college, earn more money in their lifetimes and are less likely to rely on government services. . .

Quality preschool and full-day kindergarten is critical not only for socioeconomically disadvantaged youngsters, but for all New Jersey's children. 

Noodls
October 23, 2015

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that students in Georgia's Pre-K program show educational improvement in key areas and progress at a greater rate while participating in the program, according to a recent study. The results are part of a multi-year evaluation by the Frank Porter Graham Childhood Development Institute at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

'Ensuring Georgia's youngest scholars continue to benefit from Georgia's highly ranked Pre-K program is one of my top priorities,' said Deal. 'This study confirms that Georgia is on the right track. Our Pre-K program helps students acquire the foundation necessary for a solid education, puts them on track to read at grade level by the third grade and assists in developing essential skills which will lead to academic excellence and future success.'

The Morning Call
October 22, 2015

The measure by which we judge which investments are worthwhile as a citizenry is how much time we spend, energy we expel, and the amount of resources we dedicate in the hope of future benefits.

It should be axiomatic that investment in early childhood education is sound policy and will yield far-reaching economic returns. Unfortunately our underfunded preschool programs and the limited resources provided to early childhood education say otherwise.

Yahoo News
October 21, 2015

 The Pritzker Children's Initiative of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation and The Bridgespan Group released a new paper that estimates that 1 in 4 kindergarteners nationwide – 1 million total – come from low-income families and enter school not fully ready to learn. In response to this overwhelming statistic, a new guide for funders outlines numerous specific, evidence-based, early childhood investment opportunities that have been shown to help ensure children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn so that they achieve success throughout their lives.

St. Louis Public Radio
October 21, 2015

Nationwide, there are more expulsions in preschool than any other grade level. In Missouri, one out of every 10 preschool-age children is expelled. Deeper into that statistic, African American boys are three times more likely to be expelled than other children in preschool.

“We need to have schools ready for children, not children ready for schools, particularly in preschool,” Zwolak said on Tuesday’s “St. Louis on the Air.” “We need to be prepared to receive children who are coming from many different backgrounds. And we need to tool up teachers on what that really means for them.”

New York Times
October 20, 2015

Preschool classrooms, Mr. Deming said, look a lot like the modern work world. Children move from art projects to science experiments to the playground in small groups, and their most important skills are sharing and negotiating with others. But that soon ends, replaced by lecture-style teaching of hard skills, with less peer interaction.

Work, meanwhile, has become more like preschool.

Jobs that require both socializing and thinking, especially mathematically, have fared best in employment and pay, Mr. Deming found. They include those held by doctors and engineers. The jobs that require social skills but not math skills have also grown; lawyers and child-care workers are an example. The jobs that have been rapidly disappearing are those that require neither social nor math skills, like manual labor.

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