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Archive for the ‘National’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

What are the nation’s governors saying about early childhood education? The First Five Years Fund (FFYF) has put together a collection of quotes “on the importance of high-quality early education from recent speeches by a wide range of governors.”

FYFF notes, “According to the Education Commission of the States, for the 2014-15 fiscal year, state funding for pre-K increased by $672 million to a total of $6.3 billion. This was the third year in a row that both Republican and Democratic policymakers made significant investments in state-funded pre-K programs.”

One caveat: “While numerous governors used their state of the state addresses and budget announcements to highlight existing and future investments in early learning, the reality is that states cannot do it alone. Increasing federal investments in early childhood education must be a national priority.”

Here’s a sampling (in alphabetical order by state) of some of the governors’ quotes:

“We’ve built better schools, raised test scores, made college more affordable, and put Connecticut on a path toward universal pre-kindergarten.”  (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Researchers at Duke University have found that two North Carolina preschool programs “significantly reduce the likelihood of special education placement in the third grade,” creating substantial cost-savings for the state, according to an article in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

It’s an exciting outcome for children and for taxpayers.

“Together, North Carolina’s Smart Start and More at Four early childhood programs reduced the odds of third-grade special education placement by 39 percent. Nationwide, special education costs nearly twice as much as regular classroom education,” a Duke University press release explains.

The release adds: “Smart Start, which dates back to the early 1990s, provides child care, health screenings and other services to children ages zero to five across the state. More at Four, created in 2001, provided preschool slots for disadvantaged four-year-olds. The program was rechristened NC Pre-K in 2011 and is now managed by a different state agency.  (more…)

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“…I can tell you there’s nothing more important than that development of that brain in the first four years of life,” Alabama’s Governor Robert Bentley said earlier this month at the Alabama Governor’s Early Childhood Education Leadership Summit.

Nearly 300 early education leaders attended the summit, which “highlighted the state’s voluntary First Class Pre-K program, home visiting programs, child care centers, and elementary schools and new federal grants for Early Head Start/Child Care Partnerships and Pre-K expansion,” according to a press release.

“Alabama State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice said the success of K-12 education depended on the success of early childhood education,” a news story in the Montgomery Advertiser explains.

Bice adds: “If the leaders in this state do what’s right for children and rethink some of the things that we are currently doing and do this together, we can make a lot of difference for kids.”  (more…)

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“Nationwide, state funding for pre-K increased by $672 million, to a total of $6.3 billion. This is a 12 percent increase in state investment in pre-K programs over fiscal year 2013-14. This year’s increase builds on a 6.9 percent funding increase from the prior year.”

Bruce Atchison and Emily Workman in “State Pre-K Funding: 2014-15 fiscal year,” a report from the Education Commission of the States, January 2015

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

What should the certification process be for early childhood teachers?

A process that reflects the specialized work these teachers do. It’s up to policymakers and other stakeholders to ensure that this happens.

“During the first eight years of child development and learning, the educator’s role is different in many ways than the role a teacher plays later in a child’s life. Policies and practices should reflect this reality,” the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) explains on its website.

How are states doing at setting up distinctive certification processes that focus on early education?

Last month, NAEYC released new state profiles that reveal strengths and weaknesses.

“Using each state’s terminology, the profiles provide a snapshot of the certificates/licenses and endorsements for birth through third grade teachers in public schools; the cycle, if any, by which states review their certification policies; and other information noted by the state respondents as appropriate. We did not include academic content-specific or disability-specific certifications and endorsements.”

The Massachusetts profile is posted here(more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Principals can strengthen the pre-K-to-third-Grade pipeline.

Rhian Evans Allvin was reminded of this a number of years ago at a conference. Allvin — executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) — recalls hearing a principal at the conference who “spoke of how he sent out letters to parents of newborns in his district, welcoming them into the learning community and offering a list of available early childhood resources and opportunities.”

Allvin’s experience is part of an article, “Strategies for Aligning Pre-K -3,” in the January/February 2015 edition of Principal Magazine.

The article highlights the release of “Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice.”

The guide helps principals “create and support connections between the worlds of birth-to-five and K-12 and… implement developmentally-appropriate teaching and learning practices to ensure successful Pre-K-3 continuums in their schools,” the executive summary explains.

Published by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), the full guide can be ordered on the NAESP website(more…)

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President Barack Obama and a young student touch fingers during at the Community Children's Center, one of the nation's oldest Head Start providers, in Lawrence, Kan., Jan. 22, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and a young student touch fingers at the Community Children’s Center, one of the nation’s oldest Head Start providers, in Lawrence, Kan., Jan. 22, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Child care got crucial attention in President Obama’s State of the Union address; and now the president is calling for a federal investment in child care to make it more affordable for parents.

“In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever,” Obama said in the State of the Union.

“It’s not a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have. It’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.”

Obama’s plan would “make affordable, quality child care available to every working and middle-class family with young children,” according to a White House press release, that says the president is calling for:  (more…)

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