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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children. Turkey by Rylie Robinson

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children  Turkey by Rylie Robinson

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“We know that grateful kids are happier [and] more satisfied with their lives.”

Jeffrey Froh, Hofstra University Psychology Professor, in the Washington Post article, “Teaching kids to be grateful may have long-term benefits even though it’s not easy,” November 21, 2011

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“…perhaps the biggest political opportunity for both parties lies in the nonpartisan issue of early childhood education.”

A memo from Jim Messina, a former campaign manager for President Barack Obama, and Kevin Madden, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney during the 2012 election; on behalf of the First Five Years Fund, November 10, 2014

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“Happy Thanksgiving!”

The Staff at Strategies for Children, November 26, 2014

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

A new study points out the obvious — the early education and care workforce is undervalued and underpaid, and has been for decades. This is especially problematic today as economists and policymakers call for more children to have access to high-quality early education. The only way to provide this level of quality is by having highly skilled, well-paid early educators who can help raise educational standards, close the achievement gap, and prepare young children for success in kindergarten.

The study — “Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages: The Early Childhood Workforce 25 Years after the National Child Care Staffing Study” — comes from the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, part of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley. It was written by Marcy Whitebook, Deborah Phillips, and Carollee Howes. (more…)

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Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson from the White House Blog

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson from the White House Blog

Last week, federal child care law got an important overhaul: Congress passed the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 (CCDBG). And President Obama signed it into law.

In a rare show of political unity, both Democrats and Republicans supported the bill. According to the news website Syracuse.com, “Congress reauthorized the $5.3 billion per year program on Monday with strong bipartisan support for a deal crafted by Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.”

Due for reauthorization since 2002, the new law reflects “input from parents, childcare providers, and early learning and development experts,” this Congressional summary explains.

The law emphasizes “training, professional development, and improvements to health and safety requirements,” the summary says. In addition, the law “focuses on giving families more stability in the CCDBG program by ensuring that children who initially qualify for a subsidy get care for at least a year.” (more…)

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“We Americans love children.

“Indeed, we love them so much that, on average, child care workers earn almost as much per hour ($10.33) as workers who care for animals ($10.82), according to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley.

“We love them so much that only 38 percent of American 3-year-olds are enrolled in education programs. The average is 70 percent among the 34 industrialized countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“So if politicians are genuinely looking for a bipartisan issue to break through the Washington gridlock, here’s a suggestion: invest in early education.”

“Do Politicians Love Kids?” by New York Times Op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof, November 19, 2014

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Governors have an important job to do: They can promote early math skills among young children. A new policy brief from the National Governors Association (NGA) called, “Unlocking Young Children’s Potential: Governors’ Role in Strengthening Early Mathematics Learning,” explains why.

“Studies find that the mathematics knowledge acquired in early childhood and early elementary grades is a critical foundation for long-term student success. A child’s math ability when he or she enters school has proved a better predictor of academic achievement, high school graduation, and college attendance than any other early childhood skill.”

In fact, the brief adds: “Early mathematics competency even predicts later reading achievement better than early literacy skills.”

Here in Massachusetts, JD Chesloff, a champion of early math, adds context to the report, explaining, “This is not to say that math should replace reading as a priority, but it is to say that there should be a focus on both literacy and numeracy.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

David Jacobson — one of our favorite bloggers over at “The Birth Through Third Grade Learning Hub” — has a new article out in Phi Delta Kappan, “the professional magazine for anyone who cares about K-12 education.”

The article, “The primary years agenda: Strategies to guide district action,” points out that the growing momentum around early education is creating powerful opportunities for schools and districts.

“School districts on the leading edge of the Birth through Third Grade movement have demonstrated unprecedented success raising the achievement of low-income students by developing coherent strategies focused on the early years of learning and development,” Jacobson explains.

These leading edge communities — among them Boston, Montgomery County, Md., and Union City, N.J. — aren’t just improving preschool. They’re “building aligned, high-quality early education systems.”

The Birth through Third Grade Strategy

Why birth through third grade? Because high-quality early education programs prepare children to succeed.

“Gaps between low-income and middle-class children appear early and increase over time,” Jacobson writes. “Such gaps in social-emotional and academic (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

This post was originally published on November 25, 2013.

“The time is now to redesign this country’s approach to language and literacy instruction, and governors who choose to can lead the charge,” according to the National Governors Association (NGA) report, “A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting all Students Reading by Third Grade.

Acknowledging the fact that only one-third of America’s fourth graders are reading proficiently, the report points out that America’s governors can help address this challenge. They can build a bridge between knowledge and action, connecting what researchers know to what policymakers do.

What the Research Says

To provide the research background on the literacy issue, the report points to three widely accepted research findings:

1. “Starting at kindergarten is too late.” Because literacy skills start developing at birth and because achievement gaps show up early, infants, toddlers and preschoolers need effective, high-quality early education and care programs that introduce early literacy concepts.
(more…)

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