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Archive for the ‘Achievement gap’ Category

“Minnesota could be among the first states in the country to offer free, full-day early learning programs for every 4-year-old – that is, if a proposal from Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Senate becomes law this session.”

“Governor and Legislators: Send Every Child to Preschool,” a press release from the office of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, March 20, 2015

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“We have already seen the tremendous successes of all-day kindergarten, which got underway just this year… But we have a lot more work to do to narrow Minnesota’s achievement gap, and provide excellent educations for every student in Minnesota. That work has to start now, and it must begin with our youngest learners.”

Governor Dayton, March 20, 2015

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

National data show that different groups of children enroll in preschool at different rates. For example, children who are Hispanic, immigrants or dual language learners (DLLs) are less likely to participate in center-based early education and care programs than white non-Hispanic children, according to NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research).

Because this difference can trigger achievement gaps, NIEER is also proposing ways to enroll more children in center-based care.

How important are formal preschool programs for children? A recent study from the University of California Center Sacramento found “a predominance of positive effects for children in immigrant families attending formal prekindergarten care on both academic and socioemotional school readiness measures.”

And as we’ve blogged before, early education programs can meet the needs of young dual language learners.

Immigrant and DLL Demographics

NIEER and CEELO (the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes) held a webinar on the needs of immigrant and DLL children late last year, and NIEER covered the issue last month in a Preschool Matters blog written by Milagros Nores, NIEER’s Associate Director of Research. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Here’s a great activity for families and for early education and care programs in Massachusetts:

Gather glitter and glue, feathers, mini pompoms, and construction paper.

Ask the children in your lives or programs to use these and other materials to make Rising Stars.

Send the stars to Governor Charlie Baker by Friday, February 13th, 2015. Even sooner is better. His address:

Governor Charlie Baker
State House, Room 280
Boston, MA 02133

Why now? Baker is putting together his state budget proposal for fiscal year 2016, and Rising Stars remind elected officials how important early education and care programs are for closing the academic achievement gap and preparing children for lifelong success.

Massachusetts is facing a significant budget shortfall, so Baker will have to make hard choices. But even in tough financial times, it makes sense to invest in (more…)

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Andy Hargreaves, professor  at Boston College's Lynch School of Education. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Andy Hargreaves, professor at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

“The moment is ripe for more deliberate action in the early childhood sphere in Massachusetts,” according to a new report from the Rennie Center, a nonprofit organization that focuses on education research and policy.

The annual report — “Condition of Education (COE) in the Commonwealth Report: Priority Actions for a Statewide Agenda” — includes a data report and a policy action guide. Several research and policy organizations, including Strategies for Children, served on the report’s advisory committee.

Rennie released the report at a standing-room-only event at the Omni Parker Hotel that brought together Jim Peyser, the state’s new secretary of education with the chairs of the Boards of the Departments of Early Education and Care; Elementary and Secondary Education; and Higher Education.

The report “highlights what works now,” Pendred Noyce, chair of Rennie’s board, said at the Omni Parker event, explaining that the report points to successful programs that could be replicated to improve educational outcomes across the state. (more…)

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What are the next steps in education reform? Paul Reville, former secretary of education in Massachusetts, answers the question in a recent Boston Globe op-ed.

“When the education reform bill was enacted in the early 1990s, its main goal was to educate all students to high levels. And all meant all,” Reville writes.

Currently a professor of “practice of educational policy and administration” at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Reville has had time to reflect on the state’s challenges and opportunities.

He notes that Massachusetts will have to spend more on “specialized services, including early childhood education.” He also writes that early education is among “the strategies that the state needs to develop over the next few years.”

Read the Globe article to learn more about how Massachusetts can ensure that “all means all.”

To hear Reville discuss “All Means All,” check out this short, informative video. It’s part of Harvard Ed School’s 8 for 8 series.

Reville is also the director of Harvard’s Education Redesign Lab, which “is focused on building a new education ‘engine’ that will ensure economically disadvantaged students have a fair chance of mastering the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the 21st century and of closing historic achievement gaps.”

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

During last month’s White House Summit on Early Education, the Obama Administration released a new public policy tool, the “Playbook for Becoming an Early Learning Community.”

The playbook offers communities “strategies for local leaders to develop and expand early education in their communities,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It’s part of the president’s national early learning agenda called “Invest in US.”

The playbook should be a helpful resource to local communities — both here in Massachusetts and across the nation — that are working to improve early learning and kindergarten readiness.

As the playbook explains, “An Early Learning Community works together to deliver measurable improvements in the lives of its youngest children. It provides all (more…)

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Chris Martes

Chris Martes

Chris Martes, Strategies for Children’s president and CEO, has a new article out in the latest edition of CommonWealth Magazine.

In “A chance to lead on early education,” Martes writes that Massachusetts can be a national role model by building strong pre-K programs. This would prepare more children for lifelong success and set an example for other states.

“From the White House to business boardrooms to the offices of scores of Republican and Democratic mayors, governors, and members of Congress, we’re seeing historic momentum on expanding and improving preschool programs,” Martes writes.

“It is in this spirit of historic potential that we welcome Gov. Charlie Baker to the State House. He and his team have the opportunity to break new ground.”

Pre-K Helps Improve K-12

“The Commonwealth needs strong K-12 schools. But having served for nearly two decades as a school superintendent and as an interim superintendent in five Massachusetts communities, I can tell you that K-12 schools cannot reform education on their own,” Martes explains. “There’s too much work to do. Too many achievement gaps are already in place on the first day that children walk into kindergarten.  (more…)

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