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Photo: Strategies for Children

Photo: Strategies for Children

Here are some recent tweets from the early education Twittersphere. Follow us @EarlyEd4All.

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A report on infant and toddler child care policies.

CLASP ‏@CLASP_DC

Quality #ChildCare is ESSENTIAL to kids’ healthy development & parents’ ability to #work. http://bit.ly/18bPF6n  #EarlyEd #LaborDay

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Sequestration’s toll on Head Start.

National Head Start ‏@NatlHeadStart

Sequestration Impairs Futures of At-Risk Children http://huff.to/1fn4u8F  via @HuffPostPol

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W.K. Kellogg Foundation grants available for family engagement.

The Hechinger Report ‏@hechingerreport

Family Engagement Focus of $5 million Kellogg Foundation Investment http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/early_years/2013/08/family_engagement_focus_of_5_million_kellogg_foundation_investment.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-TW … via @educationweek re @WK_Kellogg_Fdn #earlyed

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Last year, the Starting Well Index was launched by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a part of the company that publishes The Economist magazine. The index “ranks the preschool environments in 45 countries.” These nations encompass “the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and major emerging markets,” according to the unit’s report, which was commissioned by the Singapore-based Lien Foundation.

The index takes a global look at preschool quality, availability and affordability, and shows that the world has a great deal of progress to make. This includes the United States, which ranks 24th overall, lagging behind several European and Asian countries, New Zealand and Israel.

“Consciously setting aside a time to stimulate young children’s development is a relatively new phenomenon. Until the 1980s, preschools in most countries were largely focused on providing simple child minding,” the report says. “But as economies shift towards more knowledge-based activities, awareness about child development—the need to improve their social awareness, confidence and group interaction skills, and to prepare them for starting primary education—continues to grow.” (more…)

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A new report  from the Center for the Next Generation and the Center for American Progress — “The Competition that Really Matters: Comparing U.S., Chinese, and Indian Investments in the Next Generation Workforce” – raises provocative questions about the United States’ global competitiveness. And early education is among the issues the report addresses.

“Half of U.S. children get no early childhood education,” the report notes, “and we have no national strategy to increase enrollment.”

In China, 51% of 3- and 4-year-olds have at least a year of publicly funded preschool, up from  9% in 1980. And China has set an ambitious national goal of enrolling 40 million children in preschool by 2020 – or 50% more than are currently enrolled. It also aims to provide 70% of its young children with three years of preschool by 2020, according to the report.

“Total state funding for pre-k programs (in the U.S.) decreased by $60 million in 2011, after decreasing by $30 million the previous year,” the report states. “So just as China is ramping up its investments in early childhood education,… the United States is reducing investment in preschool learning and has set no clear national goals to counter China with a bold plan to increase access and improve quality of early learning in our country.”

To be sure, India and China have large numbers of families living in deep poverty, and there are questions about the quality of programming in both countries. Yet, the report notes, the sheer size of the population in India and China should give U.S. policymakers pause and reinforce the urgency of ensuring that all of our children have the tools they need to participate in an increasingly sophisticated global economy. (more…)

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