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Archive for the ‘National’ Category

Photo: Screenshot of GEEARS report cover.

 

What does it mean to be school ready?

Different stakeholders have different answers – and that can lead to fractured efforts to help young children.

Georgia, however, has come up with a framework for school readiness that should help unite the actions of families, schools, and communities.

“The framework articulates not only the central components of school readiness but also the roles various stakeholders play in promoting it.”

This is an important step forward because many states have struggled to define school readiness.

To develop the framework, the nonprofit organization GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students worked with state leaders to form a committee that solicited feedback from experts and from stakeholders across the state.  (more…)

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Last week, early education leaders from around the country met at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education (HGSE) for “The Leading Edge of Early Childhood Education: Expansion and Improvement for Impact.” The goal: to discuss “the delivery of high-quality early learning at scale and its benefit to children and society.”

Now, a video of the full, seven-hour meeting is available on line, thanks to its host, HGSE’s Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative.

The meeting was kicked off by HGSE Professor Nonie Lesaux who explained that early education’s landscape has four pillars:

– the persistence of the economic opportunity gap

– the developmental force of the early childhood years

– the promise of high-quality early learning experiences, and

– the challenge of making good on the potential and promise for ALL children

Citing Sean Reardon, an education professor at Stanford University, Lesaux said the challenge today is building “equality of quality at scale.” In other words, every young child should have access to great preschool programs. (more…)

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Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal (second from left) and Governor Nathan Deal at the North Fulton Child Development Center. Photo source: Sandra Deal’s Twitter page.

 

“Some of Georgia’s leading politicians kicked off the 25th birthday of the pre-kindergarten program on Monday by reading to some of the state’s youngest students.

“Gov. Nathan Deal and his wife Sandra launched the weeklong celebration by reading to a group of students at the North Fulton Child Development Center in Roswell. The students roared when the program’s brightly colored mascot entered the room.

“‘This is one of the more successful programs of its type in the country. It’s an important part of teaching children to read, and reading skills help unlock the future for any child,’ said Deal.

“The lottery-funded pre-K program started in 1992 as a pilot program serving 750 children under then-Gov. Zell Miller’s administration. It has since educated about 1.6 million children.”

“Georgia celebrates 25th anniversary of pre-K program,” AJC.com, October 2, 2017

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

U.S Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has approved Massachusetts’ plan for ESSA – the Every Student Succeeds Act. And as we’ve blogged, while ESSA covers K-12, it includes opportunities “to support the birth-through-grade-three continuum.”

In a press release, DeVos says:

“I continue to be heartened by the ways in which states have embraced the flexibility afforded to them under ESSA.”

“I want to thank Acting Commissioner Jeff Wulfson, Governor Charlie Baker and all the stakeholders that contributed to Massachusetts’ plan. This plan also serves as a testament to the leadership of the late Commissioner Mitchell Chester, who remains greatly missed.”

Submitted by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE), the ESSA plan covers a number of goals for improving K-12 education that involve early education. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Georgia continues to break ground on early childhood education.

Some of this work is being done at the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy, a program of the Atlanta Speech School.

On its website, “Read Right from the Start on the Cox Campus,” Rollins provides free courses and online resources for early educators. Among these are two compelling videos about how to effectively use language with young children.

One video — “The Promise” — features children explaining how adults and early educators can use their words to help children learn.

“We need you to give our voices power,” one child says. Others advise:

“Talk to us.”

“Sing to us.” (more…)

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Screenshot: Committee on Economic Development website

Pay attention to Louisiana. It has a tax credit program that policymakers should know about.

“Louisiana pioneered its School Readiness Tax Credits in 2007,” according to “Pathways to High-Quality Child Care: The Workforce Investment Credit,” a policy brief published by the Committee for Economic Development, part of The Conference Board, a nonprofit, business-led policy organization.

In part, Louisiana’s tax credit “provides ECE directors and staff with a refundable credit linked to their educational attainment at four levels and work experience in a quality program. The credit amount increases as the credentials rise,” the brief explains.

The tax credit is “not an entitlement.” The only individuals who qualify are those who “voluntarily join the registry, achieve professional development, and have been working for at least six months in a licensed program that participates in the state quality rating system qualify for the credit.”

“The credit is adjusted for inflation annually,” and in 2014, “the value of the credit by qualification level ranged from $1,630 to $3,260 and a total of 3,770 individuals claimed it. The average credit was $2,150…” (more…)

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Screenshot of New America’s report.

 

What does high-quality pre-K look like?

It depends on where you look, according to a new report from the think tank New America.

“Since publicly funded pre-K programs are guided by varying intents, regulations, and funding approaches, there is little continuity in early learning. There are uneven standards for program quality, variable hours of coverage, incongruent eligibility requirements, and competing demands for accountability.”

Despite this “uneven” practice, the research does provide clear answers of what quality looks like.

To get a sharp picture of quality, New America’s report — “Indispensable Policies & Practices for High-Quality Pre-K: Research & Pre-K Standards Review” — “synthesizes recent meta-analyses and other studies” and “analyzes existing pre-K quality standards.”

Six themes emerged from this process: (more…)

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