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The Ounce has released its 2019 State Policy Update Report.

It’s a “snapshot of states’ early childhood education policy priorities and budgetary changes during the 2019 legislative sessions.”

“We are excited to share highlights from each state that illustrate the persistent work of early childhood advocates, program providers, public officials ,and many other stakeholders who continue to move the field forward in creating environments in which young children and families can thrive,” a report overview says.

This year’s survey digs deep, asking survey respondents to:

• categorize 2019’s legislative, administrative and budgetary changes

• describe any work they did to advance federal policy, and

• identify and share stories about elected officials who are “early childhood champions”

The report also looks at early intervention programs; families’ mental health; workforce and professional development efforts; as well as revenue, governance, and data. (more…)

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“Every child in Virginia is capable of success in school and beyond if they have access to the resources they need during those critical first five years of life. We are bringing our leading early childhood experts and policymakers together to align our priorities and make scalable and sustainable improvements to better serve Virginia’s littlest learners.”

— Virginia’s First Lady Pamela Northam

 

The Early Childhood Education Summit provided “an opportunity for superintendents and school leaders from around the Commonwealth to hear from education experts, engage in conversations with state officials about statewide policies, and learn from local communities collaborating creatively to improve access to and quality of early childhood education programs.”

“Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam have taken many steps to improve school readiness for at-risk three- and four-year-olds in the last six months. In August, Governor Northam announced the completion of a statewide Early Childhood Education Needs Assessment and draft Strategic Plan that were produced through the $9.9 million federal Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) that the Commonwealth was awarded in January. The Needs Assessment identifies gaps in Virginia’s early childhood system and the draft Strategic Plan outlines the goals and priorities for unifying and strengthening early childhood care and education in Virginia.”

“First Lady Pamela Northam, Virginia Secretary of Education Host Summit on Early Childhood Education,” press release from the Office of Governor Northam, October 22, 2019

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Click on this image for more of David Jacobson’s First 10 slides.

 

“This is a school that engages and supports families years before their children enter kindergarten. The principal introduces herself as the principal of a birth-through-fifth-grade school, and here’s how she sums up Sandoz’s mindset: ‘From the moment you walk in that door all the way through our fifth grade classroom, from our home visiting families of our youngest children in the neighborhood — they all learn here.’ ”

“Sandoz does this through home visiting of children ages zero to three, through parent-child interaction groups with young children and their families, and by connecting these families to health and social services.”

— David Jacobson, principal researcher and technical advisor at the Education Development Center and director of the First 10 initiative, speaking in a webinar sponsored by the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists, October 17, 2019

The webinar explores “the implications for state policy of the recent study, ‘All Children Learn and Thrive: Building First 10 Schools and Communities.’ This report looks at innovative schools and communities that combine alignment across early childhood and elementary education and care (children’s first 10 years) with family engagement and social services.”

The webinar also featured:

Laura Bornfreund, New America’s Director of Early and Elementary Education Policy, who moderated an expert panel that included:

Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care

Elliot Regenstein, Partner, Forsight Law and Policy Advisors, and

Brett Walker, P-3 Alignment Specialist, Early Learning Division, Oregon Department of Education

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

 

What’s better than a half day or preschool?

A full day.

That’s the result of a study from the University of Colorado Boulder.

A university news story explains:

“The results show that doubling the time that kids spend in prekindergarten classes could have big benefits for their learning. The research team, led by CU Boulder’s Allison Atteberry, found that the extra school hours improved how children performed in assessments of vocabulary, literacy, math and more.

“It’s not clear whether the positive effects will be sustained as the students continue their education—the researchers only looked at kids’ progress over their pre-K year.

“But the study, published in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that experiences early on in life may have huge implications for a child’s academic growth. That’s likely because of how quickly children’s brains evolve, Atteberry said.

“ ‘Even a month in the life of a young child may represent a huge period in their development,’ said Atteberry, an assistant professor in the CU Boulder School of Education. ‘At the same time, this is a period when families are making very different choices about childcare and have different resources to make those choices.’ ” (more…)

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“There are countless reasons why supporting the early childhood workforce is central to an economically thriving community. Much like construction workers shape our infrastructure through building our cities’ roads, bridges, and buildings, the early childhood workforce plays an integral role in shaping the development of our most valuable resource—young children.

“Municipal leaders recognize the importance of high-quality early childhood education opportunities and many are taking action to implement policies that support the early childhood workforce. NLC reached out to the cities of Jacksonville, Florida; Long Beach, California; and Albuquerque, New Mexico to find out how their municipal leaders are supporting the early childhood workforce.”

“While not every city has the same approach, promoting policies and practices to ensure the early childhood workforce is well-trained, fully compensated, and has access to resources is vital to the child’s success later in life.”

“Replicable Ways to Support the Early Childhood Workforce in Your City,” by By NLC Staff, the National League of Cities, October 11, 2019

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New research on racial segregation in early education has revealed a troubling trend.

“Nationwide, early childhood education is more segregated than kindergarten and first grade, even while enrolling a similar number of students,” according to the an Urban Institute report, “Segregated from the Start Comparing Segregation in Early Childhood and K–12 Education.”

“Early childhood programs are twice as likely to be nearly 100 percent black or Hispanic, and they are less likely to be somewhat integrated (with a 10 to 20 percent black or Hispanic enrollment share).”

Among the reasons this segregation is harmful:

“Research shows that the early years are the best time for children to learn tolerance and respect for kids from other races, cultures and backgrounds,” the Hechinger Report explains.

Halley Potter, a senior researcher at The Century Foundation, tells Education Dive, “Studies show that children learn more, in academic and social measures, when they have the chance to interact with peers who have different backgrounds and experiences. And these peer effects may be especially strong for young children in early education settings, for whom much of the day is spent in play and exploration alongside their peers.” (more…)

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“America, It’s Time to Talk About Child Care.”

That’s the title of a new report that declares what a lot of parents already know: America has a child care problem.

“…the federal government does not treat early childhood education as a public good nor does it provide adequate funding to support it,” the report says. “This chronic underfunding has led to a shortage of affordable, quality child care across the nation. And to the extent that child care is affordable for families, it is largely because early educators earn very low wages, and many must struggle to feed their own families.”

Eight organizations released the report jointly. They are: the Center for American Progress, the American Federation of Teachers, the Center for Law and Social Policy, Community Change, Every Child Matters, MomsRising, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Service Employees International Union.

This shortage of affordable, high-quality child care makes it tough for parents to go to work, which slows down the economy.

“Right now, the U.S. economy loses an astounding $57 billion per year in revenue, wages, and productivity as a result of child care problems,” the report warns. (more…)

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