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Archive for the ‘Pre-K to 3’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Washington, D.C, is the “pre-K capital,” “where nearly all 4-year-olds (and most 3-year-olds!) go to school,” according to the online news site LA School Report.

Why does a California-based publication care about Washington, D.C? Because Los Angeles is about to make its own investment in early education.

What makes D.C. a pre-K capital?

“Spurred by a landmark 2008 law, the District enrolls 85 percent or more of its four-year-olds (depending on who’s counting) and an even more remarkable 60-plus percent of three-year-olds.”

So on a Wednesday morning at “the Lincoln Park campus of AppleTree Early Learning, a network of pre-K charter schools,” young students are “nearing the end of a three-week unit on paleontology and archeology.” (more…)

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Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 9.32.09 AMHow do children get to kindergarten? They might take a bus or walk with a parent.

But for policymakers the more pressing question is: How do children get from birth to kindergarten?

Have they been read to? Have they been hungry? Have they been homeless or learned to live with toothaches? Have their parents struggled with depression or addiction?

The answers are crucial and can affect whether or not a child is kindergarten-ready. The Annenberg Institute for School Reform tackles this challenge in the latest issue of VUE, its Voices in Urban Education magazine.

Part of Brown University, Annenberg is “a national policy-research and reform support organization that promotes quality education for all children, especially in urban communities.”

The guest editor for this issue is Michael Grady, the Annenberg Institute’s deputy director and an assistant professor of practice in the Urban Education Policy master’s program at Brown University.

Grady sets the stage in the lead article writing:

“With widespread support for the expansion of early education programs, there is an increased need for collaboration across systems to support the critical transition from pre-K to elementary school in order to ensure positive educational outcomes for all.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

“Do science gaps, much like literacy gaps, emerge before students even begin kindergarten? New research suggests that this might be the case. Specifically, the research finds that many minority and low-income children enter kindergarten with a relatively low level of general knowledge of the world around them. That lack of general knowledge appears to persist into first grade and turn into a science achievement gap by the time students are formally assessed in science in the third grade. And once those science achievement gaps appear in third grade they appear to be fairly stable through the eighth grade.”

“New Study: Science Achievement Gaps Begin Early and Linger,” by Aaron Loewenberg, program associate New America’s Early & Elementary Education Policy program, EdCentral Blog, March 14, 2016

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Mayor Bill de Blasio hosts a press conference and visits science and music programs in the pre-K center at Windsor Terrace’s Bishop Ford campus, where there are now over 20 free, full-day, high-quality pre-K classrooms serving nearly 300 children. Photographer/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor Bill de Blasio hosts a press conference and visits science and music programs in the pre-K center at Windsor Terrace’s Bishop Ford campus, where there are now over 20 free, full-day, high-quality pre-K classrooms serving nearly 300 children. Photo source: Mayor de Blasio’s Flickr page. Photographer/Mayoral Photography Office

 

Borscht — the red soup that’s made of beets — is the first word of David Kirp’s New York Times opinion piece, “How New York Made Pre-K a Success.”

Why soup? It’s an example of how New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has grown his city’s preschool program into a widespread, multicultural success – one that other cities and states can learn from.

“Borscht isn’t found on most prekindergarten menus, but it’s what the cooks were dishing up for the 35 children at Ira’s Daycare in Briarwood, Queens, on a recent school day,” Kirp writes. He’s a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley. “Many families in this neighborhood are Russian émigrés for whom borscht is a staple, but children from half a dozen countries, including a contingent from Bangladesh, are also enrolled here.

“These youngsters are among the 68,547 4-year-olds enrolled in one of the nation’s most ambitious experiments in education: New York City’s accelerated attempt to introduce preschool for all.” (more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

“Massachusetts public and charter schools suspended kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students 603 times in the 2014-15 school year,” according to an analysis done by public radio station WBUR that was reported on its Learning Lab website.

“Students in their first year of school were sent home for offenses that included hitting, disrupting, disrespecting, throwing things and fighting,” WBUR reports.

This is a drop from last year’s reported numbers, but these numbers still mean that hundreds of children could face lasting educational challenges.

Among the risk factors that led to these suspensions: “Last year, students with disabilities were suspended at more than twice the overall rate: One in 16 was sent home.”

In addition: “Black students are suspended almost four times as often as their white classmates.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

What’s a critical part of building an early childhood system?

Data.

Data show how children are doing. Data help early educators and policymakers see both gaps in access to high-quality programs and places where new policies and public investments are most needed.

Data’s power is also making news in the early education sector.

Recently, the Boston Opportunity Agenda (BOA) released a report card that found, among other things, that during the 2014-2015 school year, “63 percent of incoming kindergarten students were determined to have the necessary early learning skills to succeed and progress.” And “70 percent of kindergarten students met academic benchmarks by the end of last school year,” according to a press release.

BOA is “a public/private partnership among the City of Boston, the Boston Public Schools, the city’s leading public charities and many local foundations;” and its report card tracks “academic performance in traditional public, public charter, and private Catholic schools in Boston.” (more…)

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“This is an initiative that’s not just going to be, you know, pie-in-the-sky ideas. We’re making sure that we really have some ideas that we can kind of measure, data-driven procedures and initiatives that we’re going to put together.”

 

Massachusetts Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) explaining the Senate’s new Kids First initiative, the State House News Service, January, 2016

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