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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

“What does it take to get preschool right?” NPR asks in this article.

Answers can be found in a new report from The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) called, “The Road to High-Quality Early Learning: Lessons from the States.”

The institute “conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice.”

“Although many studies show that high-quality preschool returns $7 to $10 for every dollar invested, the research shows that it is not so easy to create high-quality preschool at scale, and not all programs reap these benefits,” Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO of the LPI says in a press release. “This study looks deeply at how governments can design and implement programs that pay off for their children and their state.”

NPR says the report “helps balance the preschool debate by highlighting a handful of states that appear to be getting pre-K right: Michigan, West Virginia, Washington and North Carolina.” (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

What if public policy were based on scientific findings?

It’s a question that Dr. Jack Shonkoff has been asking for years. The head of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, Shonkoff has been promoting the “science of early childhood” as a “source of new ideas that could be used to develop more effective policies.”

Earlier this month, the center released a new paper, “From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts: A science-based approach to building a more promising future for young children and families”.

The paper calls for investments in research and development “to move beyond the best of what we know now—to apply cutting-edge science and an innovation mindset to the urgent task of creating the better best practices of tomorrow.” (more…)

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Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 11.51.09 AMThe Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) and the Rennie Center have just released a new infographic about how to promote educational success in the commonwealth.

“Every child, in every school and community in Massachusetts should receive a high-quality education. It’s the best path to college, career, and success in life,” according to the infographic, “A Roadmap to Expanding Opportunity: Evidence of What Works in Education.”

“The Roadmap project looks at promising, evidence-based strategies to better support all kids in our Commonwealth. This includes a recognition that learning must extend beyond traditional school structures.” (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

California has plenty of sunshine, beaches, and cable cars, but not enough children in preschool.

More than 33,000 4-year-olds from low-income families and some 137,000 3-year-olds “are not enrolled in any of the publicly-funded school readiness program for which they are eligible,” according to a new policy brief — Unmet Need for Preschool Services in California: Statewide and Local Analysis — from the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

“California is home to more young children than any other state in the nation, and we are missing an opportunity to reduce achievement gaps when they are best addressed – before children start kindergarten,” Deborah Kong, the president of the advocacy organization Early Edge California, said in a press release. “The high number of unserved children shows state policies and investments must catch up to their unmet needs. Policymakers should consider the children and families behind the statistics in this report, and increase investments in quality early education.” (more…)

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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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