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“A new paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, investigates how pre-K affects kids’ access to healthcare. The results suggest that universal pre-K programs are improving the odds that kids who need treatment for vision, hearing, or asthma issues get the help they need.”

“For example, the fact that the group of kids is 1% more likely to get hearing treatment overall means that hearing-impaired kids are actually 63% more likely to get treatment. For vision-impaired kids, the bump is 45%.”

“So why is pre-K changing health outcomes? The researchers suggest that putting kids in pre-K simply creates more opportunities for their health problems to get noticed, since early-childhood teachers are often trained to spot them.”

“Universal pre-K improves kids’ health in a hidden, powerful way, according to a new study,” Business Insider, April 12, 2017

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On Wednesday, the Baker-Polito Administration “announced a 6 percent rate increase for all early education programs that provide care for low-income families, worth $28.6 million, which represents the largest rate hike for subsidized early education and care programs in 10 years.”

“We are pleased to work with the Legislature to provide these rate increases for providers who care and educate our youngest residents,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “It is vital for these programs to be able to train and retain experienced staff, and these rates increases will help them accomplish that important aspect of any high-quality child care program.”

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“We know this is the first step in a longterm vision for early educators, families, and the Commonwealth,” said Amy O’Leary, who directs the early education campaign for Strategies for Children, an advocacy group. “And we look forward to working with legislative leaders throughout the budget process and the legislative session to move this issue to the top of the legislative priority list.”

“Governor Baker boosts funding for early education,” The Boston Globe, March 30, 2017

 

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“As Boston officials seek to create a universal pre-kindergarten system, they must take into account a host of considerations, and one of the key questions is defining the very recipe for high quality.

“Are schools with hundreds of students up to eighth grade appropriate for 4-year-olds? How will the nurturing environment of small child care centers be reproduced in classrooms with nearly two dozen students? What will be the financial impact on private providers if a big source of revenue is taken? Will going to a private preschool keep families from getting into their favorite public kindergarten class?”

“City officials say the goal is to create a public/private system that would guarantee a free, full day of learning, allow community organizations to maintain their individuality, and have an agreed-upon set of standards for what constitutes a high-quality pre-K education.”

“Early education experts say other ingredients to consider include class and facility size, location, the relationship between teachers and administrators, and culture and language.”

“Boston pre-K programs that make the grade,” by Akilah Johnson, The Boston Globe, March 10, 2017

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“The State of Alabama spends $475 million on its prison system per year. Governor Robert Bentley wants to spend another $800 million to build four new mega-prisons.

“Imagine what our state could be like if we devoted part of that $1.2 billion to quality early childhood education instead. Wouldn’t it be smarter to ensure that brain development in a child’s first three years is robust? In 25 years, these children will be our state’s innovators and producers.”

“Alabama should invest in brain cells, not more prison cells,” by Jeanne Jackson, president and CEO of The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, AL.com, February 23, 2017

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“The push for high-quality universal pre-K for four-year-olds, now embraced by a growing number of political and thought leaders, is strangely isolated from the movement supporting child care for working mothers. Focusing solely on four-year-old children may make for good politics, but by itself it falls short. Good policy takes into account the science of early childhood brain development, the needs of working mothers with younger children, and provides disadvantaged infants and toddlers with the high-quality child care that has been proven to promote success in school and later on in life.”

“Combining quality child care with preschool promotes social mobility across generations,” by James J. Heckman and J.B. Pritzker, The Hill, February 9, 2017

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“So here’s a radical idea: How about we listen to the people who can benefit the most from getting engaged in early education: low-income parents?

“In the fall of 2016, Wilder Foundation researchers did exactly that.”

“When asked ‘which early education program features sticks in your mind as the single most important for you and your family?’ two items rose to the top. The first most important feature parents named was full-day, full-year, multi-year services. The second was quality of care, in terms of a program’s ability to prepare children for kindergarten.

“This is encouraging news, because the same features that parents want are, according to the best available research, also the things that children need to get ready for kindergarten.”

“What kind of early-education help do low-income parents want?” by Sondra Samuels and Barb Fabre, MinnPost, January 30, 2017

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“Hundreds of supporters gathered at the Indiana State House to convince lawmakers to invest more money to help families pay for Pre-K.

“A number of advocates spoke, as well as top Indiana lawmakers, including house speaker Brian Bosma.

“The rally was organized by a group called All IN 4 Pre-K.

“Members say right now there are 27,000 low income 4-year-olds in Indiana who aren’t enrolled in Pre-K.

“The state started a pilot program, and plans to invest $50 million this year to expand it.

“Lawmakers say the $50 million dollar investment will put 7,000 Hoosier kids in Pre-K.

“Right now, Indiana currently spends $12 million dollars to help low-income families use Pre-K.”

“Hundreds gather to get more investments in Pre-K,” WISHTV.com, January 25, 2017

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