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“ ‘A child is only 4 once, so each year that passes without families having the ability to put those children in pre-K is a huge lost opportunity,’ said Ann Murtlow, president and CEO of the United Way of Central Indiana, a leading early learning advocate.

“Indiana has taken some small steps to help its neediest families access pre-K, with lawmakers voting this year to open up the state’s $22 million fledgling pre-K program statewide.

“But even with that change, Indiana has barely made a dent in improving early childhood access, advocates say: The income-based voucher program reaches just under 3,000 of what advocates estimate to be 27,000 4-year-olds from low-income families, with a rocky rollout that has left about 1,000 available spots unfilled.

“ ‘We’ve come a long way, but we should make no mistake that we still have a very long way to go,’ Murtlow said.”

“This year, the state program, known as On My Way Pre-K, has grown to serve nearly 3,000 children. But with $22 million in funding, it has room for many more. State officials have run into obstacles trying to expand the program’s reach in rural areas. They’re struggling to keep the application process simple and raise awareness of the opportunity among parents.”

“Most 4-year-olds are left out of Indiana’s preschool expansion,” by Stephanie Wang, Chalkbeat Indiana, June 12, 2019

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“This lack of affordable quality child care is a crisis for American families. In 35 states, families pay more for child care than for mortgages, and in no state does the average cost of infant or toddler care meet the federal definition of affordable. On a per-capita basis, we spend roughly six times less on education for infants and toddlers than we do on K-12. This shortchanges our children exactly when the potential benefit is greatest.

“We know from breakthroughs in neuroscience that children’s brains are growing explosively during the first three years of life — developing more than one million neural connections a second. A child’s early brain architecture shapes all future learning and behavior. This is also the period in our lives when we are most vulnerable to trauma.”

“If we care about equal opportunity in this country, we must provide more funding for infants and toddlers.”

“So where do we start?

Six months of paid parental leave is the first step… The second step is improving compensation for early-childhood educators so that they earn the same as schoolteachers…”

“How to End the Child-Care Crisis: A child’s first 1,000 days are a time to be seized,” by By Shael Polakow-Suransky, president of the Bank Street College of Education, The New York Times, May 24, 2019

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Presentation begins at the 10:40 time mark.

 

California has a brand new plan for early childhood education.

It has arrived in the nick of time, with sweeping changes that will benefit children and families, and with lessons for Massachusetts and other states.

“Few would argue that California’s child care system is in need of major reform,” public radio station KQED reports. “Today, a whopping 77% of children statewide lack access to a licensed child care program, and many of those who teach and care for the state’s youngest are making marginally above minimum wage.

“The system is currently ‘at a crisis level,’ according to Michael Olenick, head of the Los Angeles-based Child Care Resource Center. Yet he’s hopeful that things will improve. Olenick just finished participating in a state Assembly blue-ribbon commission, which released a report on Monday suggesting major improvements to the state’s early childhood education system.”

This report, from the Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education, draws on two years of hearings, meetings, and focus groups. (more…)

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Oregon has scored a huge victory for its children — and set an example that other states should study – by enacting the Student Success Act, which will invest $2 billion in education, with 20 percent ($400 million) allocated for early education.

“…now we can finally invest in an education system to empower every single student on the path to realizing their dreams for the future,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown said in a Tweet.

To finance this investment, Oregon will create a tax “on businesses that bring in at least $1 million in sales each year. They’d pay $250 and a point-five-seven-percent 0.57% tax. According to the Legislative Revenue Office in the capital, less than 10% of Oregon’s 460,000 businesses would pay the tax,” KOBI-TV reports.

This historic work is “the culmination of a legislative process that began more than a year ago when the Joint Committee On Student Success toured the state to learn more about what kids in Oregon need to succeed,” according to the Children’s Institute, a nonprofit organization founded by philanthropists and business community members.

“At every stop along the way, the message was clear: K–12 can’t do it alone. If we want to improve outcomes for Oregon’s students, we must start by supporting the health and development of young children before they reach kindergarten.” (more…)

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“Perry significantly increased participants’ education, health, full-time employment and reduced incidence of anti-social behavior and crime.”

“Children of Perry participants excel in various life domains — despite growing up in neighborhoods that are similar or worse off than neighborhoods of the control group.”

“Fadeout is a myth — success isn’t a measure of IQ or academic achievement in elementary school, but long-term beneficial outcomes like schooling, employment, health and life achievement over time.”

 

Perry Preschool: Intergenerational Effects Webinar, research results from Professor James J. Heckman’s newest analysis of the Perry Preschool participants, May 13, 2019

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The working world has a big hole. It’s an empty space where child care should be.

That’s the core message of a new report — “High-Quality Early Child Care: A Critical Piece of the Workforce Infrastructure” — from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

“For the most part, contemporary policies and the modern economy necessitate that all parents work and yet, early child care is not part of the workforce infrastructure,” the report says.

“Current options for licensed early child care exert serious limits on parental work.”

This means parents are “on their own,” combing through a child care system with high costs, limited access, and varying degrees of quality.

“The market is mostly private, where parents bear the costs of paying for child care and providers may need to compromise on quality—as indicated by persistently low child care worker wages—in order to make child care affordable for parents.” (more…)

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The path from birth to third grade ought to be an easy, exciting journey for children.

That’s the message that David Jacobson shared last week at “The First 10 Years: School and Community Initiatives to Improve Teaching, Learning, and Care,” an event hosted by the Washington, D.C., think tank, New America.

“…kindergarten needs to build on the learning and care that children experience in pre-kindergarten. And children need for the programs and services that they experience each year to be coordinated, meaning coordination between education, health, and social services,” Jacobson said at the event. 

Children need “alignment across the years; meaning that every year, we are building on and taking advantage of what children learned the previous year.” (more…)

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