Early Education in the News

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.

Christian Science Monitor
November 5, 2015

Even Janet Yellen, the head of the Federal Reserve, has chimed in, highlighting research that points to preschool attendance's correlation with later-in-life success, particularly for poorer children, as measured by degrees, income, and imprisonment. 

What worries Seattle outdoor educator Andrew Jay is who's not going to preschool. Families in what he calls the "forgotten middle" are often forced to forgo ECE, he says, as childcare becomes outrageously expensive. Washington couples making less than $29,000 per year receive free ECE, but on the open market, the average preschool bill runs to $12,000.

Mr. Jay is the CEO of Tiny Trees, a preschool design launching in September 2016, which he says can lower costs and build young children's social and mental skills. There's just one catch: it's outside.


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. 

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.

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.  

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."

Catalyst Chicago
October 26, 2015

Chicago and Illinois have long track records of leadership in early childhood education. As early as the 1960s, the Chicago Public Schools was among a handful of pioneering districts that createdChild-Parent Centers (CPCs) to provide high-quality early childhood education -- PreK to 3rd grade -- while supporting low-income parents and engaging them in their children’s education. An influential longitudinal study of CPC alumni shows that the model produced substantial increases in both academic achievement and economic returns to society from higher earnings, reduced involvement in crime and better health.

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. 

October 22, 2015

Federal funds are paying for an expansion of pre-school programs in Springfield, Massachusetts, where children from poor families have historically struggled academically and dropped out before graduating from high school.

A $2 million federal grant will open 11 additional Head Start classrooms for infants and toddlers from low- income families in Springfield.  Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal, who announced the funding, praised Head Start as a last vestige from the Great Society programs of the 1960s.

" The legacy is millions of people across the country who got a jump start in terms of education," said Neal.

Cable One
October 21, 2015

About 50 Republican legislators implored Montana's congressional delegation to reject $40 million in federal preschool grant funding in an August letter. The move left Gov. Steve Bullock literally throwing up his hands while speaking to teachers recently. Bullock pushed a failed state-funded preschool initiative this fall.

He joked that he was pretty sure Republican legislators hated him, not 4-year-olds, when they refused to add a $37 million proposal to fund a 4-year-old preschool program in the state budget while hammering out a deal in April.
After seeing the letter, "I start to worry that some of them might hate 4-year-olds too," he said.

Richmond Times-Dispatch
October 20, 2015

"There is widespread consensus among the business community, and growing bipartisan consensus among public officials, that investments in early childhood are the best long-term investments we can make in our workforce, in our educational system and the overall well-being of our commonwealth,” he said.

Koonce spoke at a meeting on the economics of early childhood education hosted by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce at the University of Richmond.

Virginia’s economy will need more than 2 million new workers over the next 10 years, he said. Businesses have traditionally devoted resources to training adults for jobs, he said, “but it is a equally, if not more important, for the private sector to be involved at the start of the pipeline.”

He said businesses and public officials need to consider how resources might better be allocated to serve “high-quality pre-K programs that have accountability and performance measurements in place.”

The quality of early childhood education can be linked to educational outcomes later in life, said John Weinberg, a staff economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.


October 20, 2015

Lawmakers are moved by the data -- studies that show children are better prepared when they start school and that each dollar invested results in a $7 return -- but they are also moved by personal, face-to-face stories of what the program did for their constituent's children or the frustration of not having it available, Poole said.

"Legislators need to hear the results, they need to hear the needs," Poole said.

The Alabama School Readiness Alliance and its Pre-K Task Force are leading a 10 year, $125 million campaign to fully fund First Class Pre-K by 2023. Accomplishing that will require advocates to make their voices heard, Bridgeforth said.

"There is no substitute for advocacy," Bridgeforth said. "We have to continue to urge legislators to make Pre-k a priority."

5ABC News
October 16, 2015

The $1 million of funding will be used to make sure thousands of 3-year-olds are screened for health and development issues as part of a program called Screen @ Three. The initiative will ensure that an extra 7,000 children are screened by 2018.

Generation Next officials say that early childhood screening helps connect kids to needed services at an earlier age so they are ready for kindergarten. They say the majority of 3-year-olds in Minneapolis and St. Paul are not screened.

The other $3 million will be used to help improve the quality of child care access across the two cities in partnership with an initiative called Think Small. Generation Next officials say that kids who attend high-quality child care are nearly twice as likely to be school ready as those who don’t, so the money will help prepare an additional 1,700 kids for kindergarten over the next three years.

The money will be used to offer child care providers extra training and resources.

Connecticut Mirror
October 16, 2015

Hartford Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher on Thursday provided a key victory to a coalition of parents, educators and city leaders suing the state when he rejected the state's request to exclude evidence related to preschool from a trial that will determine whether the state is spending enough on education overall.

"What is the testimony about preschool evidence with respect to how it effects primary school and secondary school education? It's hard for me to make a ruling on that until I hear evidence," Moukawsher told lawyers representing the state and those representing the Coalition for Justice in Education Funding. "I will hear the evidence and maybe it will convince me that its so tightly connected to primary and secondary schools that it is appropriate."

The state still has a long way to go before it reaches universal preschool for the state’s 3- and 4-year-olds. State officials reported earlier this year that 10,109 children from low-income families — nearly one-third of poor students — cannot afford to enroll in a high-quality preschool program. To provide universal access to preschool, districts would have to add 814 preschool classrooms.

Children's Institute
October 16, 2015

Today, the Children’s Institute is releasing the results of our recentOregon School District Preschool Survey. The report shows which Oregon school districts have preschool programs, and details how they operate the programs. 

As part of our focus on the learning and healthy development of children from birth through third grade, the Children’s Institute is committed to increasing access to preschool and ensuring preschool programs meet quality standards. Preschool is a critical piece of Oregon’s vision of a P-20 education continuum, from preschool through advanced college degree. And we know that high-quality preschool can help close the persistent opportunity gap between children in poverty and their more affluent peers.

Yet only a fraction of children from low-income Oregon families have access to quality preschool.

The Daily Journal
October 14, 2015

Despite the demise of the Preschool For All act at the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown last week, advocates are remaining optimistic in their quest to increase access for students from low-income families to early education programs.

Brown elected Friday, Oct. 9, to veto Assembly Bill 47, which aimed to guarantee all state students would be able to enroll in preschool programs by 2018, so long as there was room in the state budget to fund such an effort.

In his veto statement, Brown said he did not support setting arbitrary deadlines, but promised he would stay committed to paying the way for eligible students through early education programs via the state budget.

And though they said it is unfortunate Brown was unwilling to sign the bill authored by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, local early education advocates said they considered the governor’s willingness to find funding for preschool heartening.

“It’s crucial that all kids have access to high-quality preschool programs, and we’re supportive of the governor’s decision to allow that process to play out within the structure of the state budget,” said Allie Jaarsma, spokeswoman for the San Mateo County Office of Education, in an email.

Dayton Daily News
October 14, 2015

Preschool providers in Dayton will get a half-million-dollar boost this month that will help 135 disadvantaged students get better prepared for kindergarten by age 5.

The money is part of $15 million in additional early childhood education funding from this summer’s state budget bill, and will benefit 3,675 students in 55 school districts statewide. In addition to Dayton, funding has been approved for preschool providers in the Fairborn, Tecumseh, Springfield and Tri-Village areas.

October 14, 2015

Juan Diego Prudot was successful at a very young age. With the abundant opportunities afforded those of means, he has chosen the path of a social entrepreneur in an effort to improve early childhood education around the world.

Prudot sees the problem this way, “Over 100 million children under the age of six are living in underserved communities and do not have access to quality early childhood education. This situation leads to children being unprepared to enter primary school and with a weaker social and emotional foundation, thus making it more challenging for the youth to thrive and become productive members of society.”

Prudot led the formation of a team of student entrepreneurs in Taiwan, where he attends business school at National Chengchi University. The team launched IMPCT, which operates Playcares.com, and competed in and won the 2015 Hult Prize competition at the Clinton Global Initiative last month.

Prudot explains the business, which provides infrastructure for women in the developing world to provide bona fide educational services rather than mere daycare, saying, “We are building a bridge between people that want and are able to become part of a solution with hardworking communities that only need an opportunity. Playcares.com is not only a financial inclusion mechanism to empower women to run Playcares, but it is also a way to generate awareness of how quality early childhood education will break the poverty cycle.”

Huffington Post (Education)
October 14, 2015

When it comes to early childhood policies that put children on the path to success, the U.S. is failing American children and families.

Researching educational inequality for our new book Too Many Children Left Behind(Russell Sage Foundation, 2015), my colleagues and I found that children of less-educated parents in the U.S. lag behind children of more-educated parents by more than a year in both reading and math skills before they even start kindergarten--a significantly larger gap than is seen in our peer countries, such as the UK, Canada, and Australia.

The implication is clear: If the odds are stacked against disadvantaged children before they even step foot in school, we must look for remedies in early childhood. Luckily, there is no mystery as to how to do this. We can look to the track records of our peers in the U.K., Canada, and Australia, who have demonstrated that we can successfully invest in our children's future by strengthening early childhood policies.

October 13, 2015

Deborah Kong, president of Early Edge, said Brown’s veto was a “missed opportunity.”

“We’re glad to see that the governor recognizes the promise made last year and look forward to engaging with his administration in the coming budget process,” Kong said in a statement to EdSource. “There remains a significant unmet need for preschool in California, with tens of thousands of low-income children who do not have access to preschool. To them and their families, this is very necessary.”

McCarty also expressed dismay in Brown’s veto.

“I’m disappointed in the Governor’s veto of AB 47, the Preschool for All Act of 2015,” he said in a statement. “Quality early childhood education has been proven to help close the achievement gap, fight poverty, and prevent kids from entering the juvenile justice system.”