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Archive for the ‘National’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

We’re throwing back and looking forward.

In 2013, we blogged about how social impact blogs could be used to finance early education, explaining:

“Preschools and investment banks seem to be worlds apart, but this month Goldman Sachs announced that it would use a ‘social impact bond,’ to invest in high-quality early childhood programs in Utah and serve some 3,500 children.

“Piloted in the United Kingdom in 2010, social impact bonds loan private money to effective public programs.

“In Utah, Goldman Sachs is working with Chicago investor J.B. Pritzker and the United Way of Salt Lake to offer $7 million in loans to pay for the expansion of preschool programs that enroll at-risk children.”

Read the rest of the blog here. (more…)

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“Congress is moving forward with a plan that would take critical early learning opportunities from the children who need it the most – delaying their learning by a year and missing an opportunity to chip away at the educational gaps that exist for children from low- and moderate-income families. These children and their families cannot afford to wait for Washington to decide whether or not they get the right start for success.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a U.S. Department of Education fact sheet, August 17, 2015

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

“Is the most precious thing in your life worth more than a poverty wage?” The Nation asks in a recent article called, “How Childcare Actually Causes Poverty in America.”

In other words, many of America’s young children are in preschool settings being taught and cared for by staff members who earn so little that they’re among the working poor.

“Although we see good early childcare as a way to ameliorate poverty, the fact of the matter is, we are generating poverty in the early childhood workforce,” Marcy Whitebook tells the Nation. She is the head of the University of California-Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment.

“Activists are pushing for a $15 hourly base wage for preschool teachers and childcare workers. Many are currently college grads earning poverty wages, which have basically stagnated for nearly twenty years,” the article says. (more…)

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Performance space designed by children in Boston. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Performance space designed by children in Boston.
Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

What does it mean to be a citizen — for preschool children?

They can’t vote. But they are great talkers bursting with ideas. And as citizens their ideas — about playgrounds, transportation, and how to make communities more fair — should be heard and, ideally, seen, since their thinking could change the world.

Because Ben Mardell believes strongly in these principles, his career has been like a megaphone for very young citizens. A professor of early education at Lesley University, Mardell has worked hard to create opportunities for children to participate in civic life.

One recent example that we blogged about is the Our Boston project, which culminated in an exhibit at Boston’s City Hall the featured children’s models of playgrounds, a language museum, a book bus, and a ferry system.

Now an article in the Atlantic written by early educator Amy Rothschild — “The Citizen Preschooler: What should young children learn about being part of a democracy?” —profiles work being done in Washington, D.C., by Mardell and Project Zero, a research group based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Quick, grab a book, because today “is the launch of a new Read Where You Are day of action to raise awareness and encourage reading.”

Read Where You Are is being launched by the White House and the U.S. Department of Education to promote children’s literacy and school-readiness in the fall.

“Young people who do not read over the summer fall behind their classmates, especially low-income students,” the Read Where You Are website says.

“Research shows that summer learning loss adds up, especially for low-income students. By 8th grade, that lost learning time accounts for 2/3 of the achievement gap between low-income children and their more affluent peers.

“Reading over the summer makes a difference during the school year. When students are able to keep reading, they can keep learning, catch up, stay sharp and are more prepared when the new school year begins.” (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has just released its 2015 KIDS Count Data Book, an annual report on how children are doing nationally and in individual states.

Among the key findings: despite some positive economic changes, childhood poverty stubbornly persists.

“About 1.7 million more children live in low-income working families today than during the Great Recession,” the foundation explains on its website. “In 2013, one in four children, 18.7 million, lived in a low-income working family in the United States. Nearly a third of children are living in families where no parent has full-time employment. And even when parents are working full time, wages and benefits are often not sufficient to adequately support a family.”

The Data Book “showed some signs of slight improvement, including high school graduation rates at an all-time high and a falling percentage of uninsured children. But the bright spots weren’t enough to offset a picture that many children have been left behind amid the nation’s economic recovery,” according to a news story from the Associated Press. (more…)

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“When policymakers and citizens talk about expanding children’s access to high-quality early education, they sometimes overlook the need for a stable stream of funding for early education programs. Instead, programs serving children birth-to-five are typically funded by a patchwork of streams blended or braided together to serve as many children as possible. Without dedicated funding for early care and education, state agencies are left to piece together revenue sources for their youngest children. Unsurprisingly, this leaves many states, including South Carolina, with underfunded programs.”

“Funding Education for our Youngest Learners,” by Kaycie Gillette-Mallard, a post on the New America Foundation’s EdCentral blog, July 13, 2015

 

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