Early Education in the News

Washington Times
June 26, 2015
Even at age 4, Everett Baldwin Jr. was more than the staff at Brighter DayCare and Preschool could handle.
In his classroom, he was always on the move. He had more problems than other children his age with sharing and completing tasks. He preferred to play alone...

Organizations such as United 4 Children will send specialists into day cares to observe challenging behaviors in children and offer solutions to teachers. Parents as Teachers also has a contract with the Normandy Schools Collaborative to screen children younger than 5.

But what makes this effort different is the on-site, ongoing support and consultation at the child care centers, which often have high turnover.

“Without this help, we couldn’t have kept him. We were ill-equipped. We didn’t have the expertise,” Williams said.

Developmental screening of children in their early years can identify potentially serious problems or delays, experts say.

But about half the children who need help don’t get it until they enroll in elementary school, when key opportunities for early treatment and prevention of disabilities have been missed, according to the Centers for Disease Control.


Science Newsline
February 4, 2015

Access to state-supported early childhood programs significantly reduces the likelihood that children will be placed in special education in the third grade, academically benefiting students and resulting in considerable cost savings to school districts, according to new research published today in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

The findings suggest that the programs provide direct benefits not only to participating students but also to other third graders through positive spillover effects.

February 4, 2015

Attending state-funded prekindergarten substantially reduces the likelihood that students will end up in special education programs later on, according to a new study by researchers at Duke University. The study examined 13 years' worth of data from students enrolled in More at Four, a state-funded program for 4-year-olds in North Carolina. By the third grade, the researchers found, children in the program were 32 percent less likely to end up in a special education program. Children who were part of Smart Start, a health services program, saw a 10 percent drop. Combined, the two programs accounted for a 39 percent reduction.

July 31, 2014

Preschoolers with special needs benefit from going to school with children who have strong language skills, according to a new study. Classmates with higher-level language abilities promote language growth in children with disabilities, researchers found. On the other hand, development of language could be delayed if their classmates have weak language skills, they said.


National Journal
May 1, 2014

Right now, a strong case is being made for public investments in high-quality early childhood experiences for all children. The research is clear: The earliest years of a child's life are marked by rapid brain development, laying the foundation for future educational and life outcomes. High-quality early childhood opportunities benefit the children who participate in them, particularly those with the greatest needs and the greatest risk of being left behind. Society benefits through a substantial return on investments made.

Think Progress (Blog)
January 21, 2014

While spending on early childhood education got a federal boost with stimulus funds, those have run out and funding has seen big drops since the recession, according to a new report from the New America Foundation. Funding saw a high of nearly $33 billion from the 2009 stimulus bill, which injected states with an extra $11.2 billion for programs serving kids from age zero to third grade. But that figure fell to a low of $21.5 billion last year....Special education also fared poorly: while it saw a one-time doubling of funding through the stimulus, it stayed flat and then fell last year thanks to sequestration.

December 19, 2013

Six states were announced as winners Thursday of a combined $280 million in government grants to improve early learning programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. The winning states in the Race to the Top-Early Challenge competition were Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont. The winners were announced by the Education and Health and Human Services departments, which jointly administer the program. This is the third time these early learning grants have been issued. Fourteen other states were previous winners. In total, nearly $1 billion in grants has been distributed.

On Special Education Blog at Education Week
July 18, 2013

A comparison of two well-known interventions for young children with autism, LEAP and TEACCH, has found that both of them produce gains among students during the school year—and so does high-quality classroom instruction that is not tied to any particular model. The findings suggest that common elements of good classroom instruction, including an orderly classroom environment, well-trained teachers and positive interactions between children and adults, may be more important for children with autism than instruction using any particular treatment model.

The New York Times
June 25, 2013

The State Senate and Assembly unanimously approved a bill last week that would require audits of every special-education prekindergarten contractor by 2018.

Education Week
June 24, 2013

One fledgling early-childhood initiative is finding that getting classmates involved in assisting peers who have autism can help boost the social skills of all children in the classroom. The Learning Experiences Alternative Program for Preschoolers and their Parents, or LEAP, immerses children with spectrum disorders into classes with typically developing children who have been trained in ways to communicate and work with their challenged peers. 

The New York Times
January 7, 2013

In a complaint filed on Monday with the Illinois State Board of Education, a nonprofit advocacy group says that thousands of children are in Rashaan’s position because the Chicago Public Schools have repeatedly failed to evaluate children with disabilities and move them into special education preschool programs. Under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, states must provide special education services to 3- and 4-year-olds with disabilities that impede their learning even before they are officially enrolled in school.

The Ithaca Journal, Ithaca, NY
December 18, 2012

The state comptroller’s office and education department called on each other Tuesday to more thoroughly investigate preschool special-education providers following recent instances of fraud.

The Salt Lake Tribune
September 19, 2012

Many conservative Utah lawmakers have long resisted the idea of state-funded preschool for financial, ideological and social reasons. But one Republican lawmaker plans to challenge that attitude this coming legislative session with plans to run a bill to create a preschool program aimed at students at risk of academic failure.

The New York Times
August 22, 2012

Confronting reports of skyrocketing costs and outright fraud in New York State’s preschool special education system, a group of companies that provide services to children with disabilities is calling for mandatory new audits, clearer regulations and a strict code of conduct with tough penalties for violators.

The New York Times
July 16, 2012

New York State’s program of special education services to prekindergarten children with learning, developmental or other disabilities clearly needs stronger oversight. The program has been beset by rising costs, conflicts of interest and outright fraud in private companies providing these services.

The New York Times
June 5, 2012

New York City is paying private contractors more than $1 billion this year to operate a little-known special education program for 3- and 4-year-olds, nearly double the amount it paid six years ago.

WZVN TV, Naples, FL
May 21, 2012

Next year the school district is adding four new programs for exceptional education services at Heights Elementary, Tortuga Preserve Elementary, Harns Marsh Middle, and Challenger Middle.  Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Veterans Park Academy for the Arts in Lehigh Acres, 33-year-old Harold Price, did not have those types of services growing up.

The Tampa Tribune
November 1, 2011

Rule changes for the state's Voluntary Prekindergarten program are meant to ensure all students get the same education, regardless of where they go to school, but some providers say the new standards would judge them unfairly.

Journal Review, Crawfordsville, IN
November 1, 2011

Students at the preschool participate in circle time, learning centers and organized free play. They concentrate on literacy and pre-academic skills, language experiences, social, self-help, fine and gross motor skills, fine arts and dramatic play, sensory exercises, exploration and observation.

Litchfield Independent Review, Litchfield, MN
September 7, 2011

The trend does not necessarily reflect an increase in the number of children with learning disabilities or developmental delays; educators say it does reflect, however, an ECSE program that is accepting more children than before.