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Photo Source: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Instagram page.

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) was in town this morning at Tufts University to talk about early education. Joining Speaker Pelosi were members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation – Congresswomen Katherine Clark, Ayanna Pressley, and Lori Trahan.

To watch a recap, go to the Tisch College Facebook page. The event was hosted by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, which is based at Tufts.

The Twitter hashtag is #speakerinthehouse.

Speaker Pelosi offered the following remarks in support of children, families, and educators:

“Everything that we do has to be about the children and their future.”

“When people want to run for office… I always say ‘know your why.’ If you know your why, you’ll know your what, and you’ll know how to get things done because you’ll know your purpose. My why has always been the 1 in 5 children in America who lives in poverty.”

“When people ask me what the three most important issues facing the Congress are, I always say the same thing: our children, our children, our children. Their health, their education, the economic security of their families, a safe healthy environment where they can thrive, and a world at peace where they can reach their fulfillment.”

“Child care – children learning, parents earning, it’s all central to their well-being.”

“I congratulate Tufts for what is happening here at Elliot Pearson. It’s just remarkable.”  Tufts’ Eliot-Pearson Children’s School is a laboratory school that focuses on practice and research. 

Pelosi’s appearance is part of her “ ‘Speaker in the House’ series, which seeks to engage communities across the country and ensure the voices of the American people are being heard in the halls of Congress,” according to Tisch College’s website.

MassLive.com covers the event here.

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Moms, dads, toddlers, and babies from all 50 states came to the Washington, D.C., this week for Strolling Thunder.

During this annual event, families meet with members of Congress to talk about making child care more affordable, expanding paid family leave, and increasing funding for health care and early education.

“As parents, we must advocate, communicate and collaborate with all agencies serving and caring for our babies,” said Anna Akins, a Strolling Thunder parent from Louisiana, says in a press release from Zero to Three, the national nonprofit that organizes the event, which is part of the Think Babies campaign. “Our babies’ lives are depending on our voices. Let us continue to speak up and out about the importance of all things that help our babies thrive.” (more…)

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Screenshot: NIEER’s “The State of Preschool 2018”

 

“The State of Preschool 2018,” an annual look at pre-K programs in all 50 states, has just been released by NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research).

The 2018 yearbook, which analyzes data from the 2017-2018 school year, is a mix of good news and unmet challenges.

Across the country “more children are attending state-funded pre-K,” NIEER says in a press release, “but state funding is failing to keep pace, resulting in low compensation for pre-K teachers that too often undermines classroom quality…”

“Close to 1.6 million 3- and 4-year-olds attended state-funded pre-K programs in the 2017-18 year, with 85% of those children being 4-year-olds,” Education Dive reports. “This year’s report also includes two states — Montana and North Dakota — that operated pre-K programs for the first time last year. Overall, however, there has been little growth in enrollment — half of a percentage point for 3-year-olds and less than a percentage point for 4-year-olds.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Strategies for Children has just published a new policy brief, “Local Governance for Early Childhood: Lessons from Leading States.” It contains some of the new knowledge that we’ve learned from our work with communities.

What is local governance? Well, think of the K-12 system, which is organized around local school districts, with budgets, programming, and other decisions made by school committees and superintendents. In the birth-to-5 sector, there are no school committees or superintendents. What we have instead, in any given community, is a patchwork of independent programs and services.

Or as Vivian Terkel-Gat, our UMass Boston intern and the author of the policy brief, writes, “Local early education governance is essential for creating a coordinated, early care and education structure.” This helps communities take responsibility for creating shared goals and achieving better results for children. (more…)

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“ ‘I think we took for granted before what 4-year-olds were capable of doing,’ said Quitman Lower Elementary Principal Amanda Allen, listing some skills the youngest learners are impressing her with: advanced vocabularies, number recognition, self-motivation. ‘It’s really only on us, what we limit or enable them to do.’

“Quitman’s pre-K success should have wide-ranging implications for Mississippi, where early results of the state’s tiny program are promising. More than 70 percent of children who attend pre-K in the state leave ready for kindergarten, according to 2018 accountability data. That’s a huge feat: Statewide, only 36 percent of kindergarteners were deemed ready during the same time period.

“In addition, kindergarteners who took advantage of state-funded pre-K in Quitman ranked among the top five performers on an assessment of school readiness skills, state data released in November show.

“Despite the state’s kindergarten-readiness crisis, only 2,174 students — roughly 6 percent of Mississippi’s students — are enrolled in state-funded pre-K.”

“After years of neglect, Mississippi takes baby steps to boost school readiness,” by Bracey Harris, The Hechinger Report, April 3, 2019

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“ ‘I noticed the kids who did not understand English were just sitting off to the side, but the moment the assistant would come and speak their language, they blossomed, their eyes opened up,’ Ponce said.

“Ponce, now a coach for other Head Start teachers, is one of hundreds of preschool teachers and supervisors across California who are getting training this year on how to support children whose families speak a language other than English at home. These students account for 60 percent of children under 5 years old in the state and are often referred to as ‘dual-language learners’ because they are learning two languages as they grow — their home language and English.”

“ ‘These are very exciting times,’ said Patricia Lozano, executive director of Early Edge California, a nonprofit organization that advocates for young children and is helping the California Department of Education implement the grant. ‘We’ve come so far in recognizing the benefits of speaking more than one language. All kids benefit from learning two languages. Hopefully California will be a leader in implementing this everywhere.’ ”

 

“New training for California preschool teachers to help bilingual children prepare for kindergarten,” by Zaidee Stavely, EdSource, March 19, 2019

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It’s time to start getting ready for Census 2020.

The official Census 2020 day is April 1, 2020, a year away. But schools, elected officials, and community organizations are working hard today to make sure everyone is counted a year from now. An accurate Census count will mean that cities and states get the legal representation and federal funding that matches their population counts.

Early educators should join this effort. Please encourage your contacts and communities to participate in the Census.

As we’ve blogged, Census results affect Head Start and other educational opportunities. There is, however, a risk that the Census may fail to count an estimated one million children, which is what happened during the 2010 Census.

“The Census Bureau acknowledges the long-standing undercount of young children in decennial censuses and in Census Bureau surveys,” the Census explains on its website. (more…)

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