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“We agree that real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job. The bipartisan reform of No Child Left Behind was an important start, and together, we’ve increased early childhood education, lifted high school graduation rates to new highs, boosted graduates in fields like engineering. In the coming years, we should build on that progress, by providing Pre-K for all…”

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, January 12, 2016

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“Americans on both sides of the aisle have come to realize the promise of early education; polls indicate that improving pre-K and child care access has strong bipartisan support. Yet meaningful talk of early education has been somewhat absent from the 2016 Presidential debates, particularly on the Republican side. We hope the momentum of the last few years continues into this election cycle so that more progress is made to ensure that all young children have access to the early education programs they need to prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.”

“What Candidates Should be Talking about in 2016: Six Ideas from New America,” New America’s EdCentral Blog, January 6, 2016

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President Obama raising the profile of a young learner. Photo: The White House

President Obama raising the profile of a young learner. Photo: The White House

Last month, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, ushering in a new legislative era that includes a focus on early education.

As the Los Angeles Times explains:

“With the stroke of a pen, the No Child Left Behind Act became history on Thursday.

President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan replacement to the universally unpopular, nearly 15-year-old education law.”

According to the New York Times, ESSA is a bipartisan approach that “preserves federally mandated standardized testing but eliminates the punitive consequences for states and districts that perform poorly.”

The Times adds a quote from the president:

“‘This bill makes long-overdue fixes to the last education law, replacing the one-size-fits-all approach to reform with a commitment to provide every student with a well-rounded education,’ Mr. Obama said at a White House signing ceremony for the law. ‘With this bill, we reaffirm that fundamental American ideal that every child — regardless of race, income, background, the ZIP code where they live — deserves the chance to make out of their lives what they will.’”

(more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

A recent blog post from NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research) takes an inspiring and wide reaching look at the past year.

“Looking back over 2015, it’s been a year packed with action around early childhood education at NIEER, in the states, and across the country,” NIEER’s Preschool Matters blog says.

The blog points first to a U.S. News and World Report opinion piece that provides a summary of the year, noting:

“The needs of our nation’s littlest learners have garnered increasing attention in 2015. Although early learning still takes a back seat to K-12 education and higher education in national policy debates, state and national politicians are incorporating calls for early childhood investments into their stump speeches, philanthropic funders are targeting resources to early learning and, according to a new First Five Years Fund poll, average Americans increasingly recognize the importance of early learning for children’s long-term success.”

(more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

States face a persistent problem: Classrooms full of children who struggle to read.

“Only about one-third of all children attending school in the United States can read proficiently by fourth grade,” the New America foundation explains on its website. “The numbers are even more dismaying for our most vulnerable students. How can state policymakers lessen the achievement gap and improve literacy outcomes for all children?”

To find answers, New America has taken a look at all 50 states’ birth-to-third-grade policies.

The resulting report is a ranking of states called, “From Crawling to Walking: Ranking States on Birth- 3rd Grade Policies that Support Strong Readers.”

“Accompanying the research are interactive maps of state progress displayed via New America’s data visualization and policy analysis tool, Atlas.” This is an easy, graphic way to access findings for individual states. (more…)

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“On behalf of the nation’s governors, we urge Congress to enhance state early childhood education programs by continuing Preschool Development Grants as part of FY 2016 appropriations.

“Governors understand that early childhood education is a key component of building a literate, knowledgeable and skilled 21st century workforce. Preschool Development Grants, including expansion grants, enable governors to build on their efforts to promote school readiness by accelerating state-focused innovation to improve access and quality in early childhood education. States use the program to better serve our youngest students, including English language learners and early learners with disabilities; improve the professional development of preschool teachers and administrators; and expand access to early education programs to thousands of students.”

A letter from the National Governors Association to Congress, November 10, 2015

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“The Barikbin family sends their toddler to a military child development center in the documentary series The Raising of America. Military child care is considered the highest quality in the nation, available to all military personnel and all of it affordable." Source: http://www.raisingofamerica.org/press-kit#still-photos

“The Barikbin family sends their toddler to a military child development center in the documentary series The Raising of America. Military child care is considered the highest quality in the nation, available to all military personnel and all of it affordable.” Source: http://www.raisingofamerica.org/press-kit#still-photos

 

Today, we honor our nation’s veterans for their service, and we thank military families for their sacrifices.

We also want to note that the military has excellent child care programs. The documentary series “The Raising of America” highlights these programs in one of its episodes. (The segment about the military beings at 29 minutes and 16 seconds.)

And according to an article from the Future of Children:

“The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) receives wide acclaim for offering accessible, affordable, high-quality child care to military service members and their families. The military sees child care as an essential element of combat readiness and effectiveness, so it places a high premium on the quality of children’s experiences in military child-care facilities, and on assuring families that their children are well cared for.”

 

 

 

 

 

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