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Archive for the ‘Pre-kindergarten’ Category

New research on racial segregation in early education has revealed a troubling trend.

“Nationwide, early childhood education is more segregated than kindergarten and first grade, even while enrolling a similar number of students,” according to the an Urban Institute report, “Segregated from the Start Comparing Segregation in Early Childhood and K–12 Education.”

“Early childhood programs are twice as likely to be nearly 100 percent black or Hispanic, and they are less likely to be somewhat integrated (with a 10 to 20 percent black or Hispanic enrollment share).”

Among the reasons this segregation is harmful:

“Research shows that the early years are the best time for children to learn tolerance and respect for kids from other races, cultures and backgrounds,” the Hechinger Report explains.

Halley Potter, a senior researcher at The Century Foundation, tells Education Dive, “Studies show that children learn more, in academic and social measures, when they have the chance to interact with peers who have different backgrounds and experiences. And these peer effects may be especially strong for young children in early education settings, for whom much of the day is spent in play and exploration alongside their peers.” (more…)

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“America, It’s Time to Talk About Child Care.”

That’s the title of a new report that declares what a lot of parents already know: America has a child care problem.

“…the federal government does not treat early childhood education as a public good nor does it provide adequate funding to support it,” the report says. “This chronic underfunding has led to a shortage of affordable, quality child care across the nation. And to the extent that child care is affordable for families, it is largely because early educators earn very low wages, and many must struggle to feed their own families.”

Eight organizations released the report jointly. They are: the Center for American Progress, the American Federation of Teachers, the Center for Law and Social Policy, Community Change, Every Child Matters, MomsRising, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Service Employees International Union.

This shortage of affordable, high-quality child care makes it tough for parents to go to work, which slows down the economy.

“Right now, the U.S. economy loses an astounding $57 billion per year in revenue, wages, and productivity as a result of child care problems,” the report warns. (more…)

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“It is too often that young children, families, and early childhood educators are being forced to grapple with the consequences of historic and systemic oppression. As issues of equity and social justice continue to remain at the forefront of American political and cultural discourse, high-quality early childhood education has emerged as a viable agent of change. The impact of racial disparities in educational opportunity, family separations as a reaction to immigration, and the disproportionate prevalence of poverty are a wake up call. Communities and systems must recognize the need to deeply consider identity development of young children, the norming of discussing and celebrating human difference, and the importance of working against bias and injustice in all of its forms throughout society.”

“Centering Equity: Local Progress and Innovation,” by Lindsey Allard Agnamba, New America, October 7, 2019, part of a new blog series on equity in early childhood education

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“Children with immigrant parents and those exposed to a language other than English in the home (known as Dual Language Learners, or DLLs) are important target populations for such early childhood programs. As of 2013–17, one-fourth of U.S. children ages 5 and under were children of immigrants, and nearly one-third were DLLs. Young children of immigrants are also more likely than their peers to live in low-income households—a priority service population for many home visiting initiatives.

“Yet studies show that DLLs and children in immigrant families are underserved by home visiting services.”

“Leveraging the Potential of Home Visiting Programs to Serve Immigrant and Dual Language Learner Families,” by Maki Park and Caitlin Katsiaficas, the Migration Policy Institute, August 2019

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Clifford Kwong and Amy O’Leary. Photo courtesy of Amy O’Leary

“My mother is the one who tried to scare me around from education,” Clifford Kwong says.

“Every time I showed interest in education, she asked me not to do it.” His mother, who had worked in education for decades, warned that his student loans would be high and his salary would be low.

Her advice: choose business or science.

But as a student at Boston College High School, to fulfill his school’s community service requirement, Kwong chose to work at a child care center in Quincy. “They told me I was a natural,” he says of his time there.

He didn’t think much of this feedback at the time. He was on his way to college at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and he was taking his mother’s advice.

“I tried science,” Kwong says. “At the end of the day it didn’t feel like it was enough. Whereas at the end of a day doing community service, I felt great after working with kids.” (more…)

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“In June, the city of Memphis, Tennessee, lost funding for 1,000 pre-K slots due to an expiring federal grant.”

“Instead of passively accepting the void in federal leadership, cities such as Memphis are finding innovative ways to bring together the public, private and nonprofit sectors to finance and expand needed services for children, and increasing pressure on local officials to reinvest in child services.”

“Pittsburgh provides a good example of a community that successfully implemented an innovative method to fund youth programming. In 2008, the One Hill Coalition, a diverse group of 100 community groups in the city, brokered a collective-bargaining agreement with the developers of the new Pittsburgh Penguins arena. The agreement created a youth center and invested $8.3 million in neighborhood improvements, much of which went toward youth development programs.

“Similarly, the mayor of Memphis, Tennessee, set an example by advocating for children and dedicating tax revenue from business tax breaks set to expire. These funds are going directly to pre-K programming, helping to cover the loss of funding for 1,000 seats due to declining federal investment. In total, the revenues will bring the city an estimated $6 million annually by 2022.”

“Opinion: Cities find new ways to fill pre-K funding holes left by the federal government,” by Jennifer Davis and Elizabeth Gaines, The Hechinger Report, September 24, 2019

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Photo credits: Kate Samp and Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

 

Although they frequently get lots of “likes” on Facebook, infants and toddlers still don’t get the public policy attention that they deserve.

Thanks, however, to a new initiative — the Massachusetts Partnership for Infants and Toddlers (MPIT) – very young children should get more policy respect.

The story of MPIT began earlier this year when Strategies for Children and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Merrimack Valley, along with a group of nonprofit partners, state agency representatives, and philanthropic funders, applied for a planning grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative.

Pritzker planned to award planning grants of $100,000 and actions grants of $1 to $3 million to states that submitted “winning proposals focused on expanding needed state and community services for children prenatal to age three and their families.”

Our goal was to use the Pritzker funding to create a statewide effort that would “result in a new (first-of-its-kind) state plan for infants and toddlers” as well as a new coalition focused on infants and toddlers. (more…)

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There’s an exciting, new education bill in the State House: the Student Opportunity Act.

It calls for “an unprecedented $1.5 billion new investment in Massachusetts public education,” a fact sheet says.

The bill also notes that K-12 education can benefit from strong preschool programs.

“The proposal — jointly announced by House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Senate President Karen E. Spilka, and other legislative leaders — aims to bridge the divide in educational opportunities between poor and affluent systems by directing more money to districts that serve greater concentrations of students living in poverty or those with language barriers,” the Boston Globe reports.

 

(more…)

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