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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney at PHLpreK’s second anniversary. Photo: Samantha Madera for the City of Philadelphia.

 

“PHLpreK has transformed the lives of my students, and it’s all thanks to the city’s sweetened drink tax. In 2016, leaders in Philadelphia united behind a bold approach to provide new opportunities to its most vulnerable and underprivileged kids to break the cycle of poverty, injustice, and inequity.

“The tax has generated $137 million in revenue, which has already had a significant impact.

“More than 2,000 new pre-K seats have been created, per the city’s count — with several thousand more on the way — and nearly half of these new seats have the highest quality ratings as identified by Pennsylvania’s Keystone Stars program. More than 200 new teachers have been hired at early childcare centers, two-thirds of which are owned by women and minorities.”

“Soda tax-funded preK will drive Philadelphia’s future,” an opinion piece by Meyata McMichael, a PHLPreK instructor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 13, 2019

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“There is no debate that the earlier children get access to education, the better they perform over the long run.”
– David Hopkinson, a Portland parent

“When you do early childhood education, you are helping set up a kid up for their career in education, so that they are going to be much more successful down the road. And that ends up saving money.”
– Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling

“Portland votes to expand Pre-K education,” News Center Maine, March 6, 2019

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“No Small Matter,” the documentary film about early education, has added more screenings in Massachusetts.

As we’ve blogged, the film is “designed to kick-start the public conversation about early care and education.”

The film’s website says, “Our future depends on our youngest. On how many words they hear in their first months of life. On how often they are held. On the kinds of experiences they have.”

“Yet even with business interests, scholars, and politicians on both sides of the aisle lining up to support the early childhood education cause, millions of American children are still not getting the care they need to succeed—or even to keep up.” (more…)

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In “other industries across many states, apprenticeships are a well-established and effective way to train workers with ongoing mentorship, on-the-job experiences, and corresponding coursework. The success of this model has encouraged places like Philadelphia to utilize Registered Apprenticeships to train early childhood educators.

“Not only are Registered Apprenticeships about providing indispensable on-the-ground experience for prospective early educators, but they are paid. With many early educators earning near-poverty level wages, the earning while learning element of the Registered Apprenticeship model is crucial. Apprenticeships can also serve as a route to earning a college degree and a pathway for career advancement, further breaking barriers that current and future early educators potentially face.”

“Earning While Learning with Early Educator Apprenticeship Programs,” by Cara Sklar and Julie Brosnan, New America, February 21, 2019

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Governor Kay Ivey speaking last year at the Early Childhood Education Leadership Forum in Montgomery, Ala. Source: Governor Ivey’s Flickr page.

 

When it came to preschool, Alabama state senator Trip Pittman “was on the fence,” a Mother Jones article says.

“Pittman, a conservative Republican, figured the kinds of things you’re supposed to learn before kindergarten—washing your hands, tying your shoes, minding your manners—might best be taught by parents and grandparents at home.”

What changed his mind? Thanks to the Alabama School Readiness Alliance, Pittman went to visit a preschool and was captivated.

Recalling the visit, Pittman says, “It seemed remarkable, the fact that you could assimilate children into a classroom environment—raising their hands, going down the hall, being inquisitive. It was really impressive the way the teachers interacted with kids.”

The preschool team also showed Pittman “data on outcomes for children living in poverty: Sixth-grade preschool alums scored about 9 percent higher on state tests than those who hadn’t attended, and third-grade alums scored 13 percent higher than their peers.” (more…)

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Governor Gina Raimondo at the Early Childhood Center in Johnston, R.I. Source: Gina Raimondo’s Flickr page.

 

Now that election season is over and governors have been sworn into office, they’re making good on their promises to expand “preschool and other early-childhood programs,” according to a recent article in Education Week.

Across the country, governors are building on the early education legacy left by the Obama administration, including the federally funded Preschool Expansion Grants. This state-level leadership is crucial, particularly now when the Trump administration is focusing less on early learning.

“I think right now it’s unrealistic to expect a big push for pre-K from the federal government,” Aaron Loewenberg, an education policy analyst with the think tank New America, told Education Week.

Fortunately, that’s not having an impact on governors. (more…)

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“On February 5, 2019, President Trump addressed the nation and declared the State of the Union strong. But something was conspicuously absent. Education, specifically early education, is a fundamental necessity in any strong union, or nation, and yet, was a missing piece of the President’s address.”

“Throughout the entirety of his speech, there were key themes including the value of research and technological advances. Over the last century, technology has led to innovative growth and advancements that drive a stronger economy. However, the fundamental and necessary means to achieve these advancements were noticeably absent — a strong, national education system.”

“Mr. President, you forgot one thing. The children.” By Mark Reilly, Vice President of Policy & Government Relations of Jumpstart, a national early education nonprofit. Posted on Medium, February 7, 2019

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