June 30, 2016

New report profiles four states that may be getting public pre-K right 
Erin Brownfield: EdSource 
Stanford-based think tank Learning Policy Institute  offers snapshots of four states, Michigan, West Virginia, Washington and North Carolina, that have made significant public investments in early education and achieved high-quality programs at scale. The new report,
The Road to High-Quality Early Learning: Lessons from the States, is intended to help policymakers "convert their visions of 
good early education into on-the-ground 

The state programs profiled in the report have traits in common, including small class size and professional development for teachers. Although the report states that there is "no single roadmap to excellence," it contains several lessons on how to create successful public programs that will have a lasting impact.  Click here to read the full report or a summary.  
Early Edge California has posted an update on how early education fared in the new state budget, signed on June 28. The news is mostly good, says the advocacy group, with increased funding for preschool slots and higher provider reimbursement rates.

The budget does not include the Governor's May proposal to merge early childhood program funding and eliminate transitional kindergarten (TK) after the Legislature rejected that proposal and voiced their support for TK. 

Read more about what the early education budget includes at this link , or get a picture of the overall education budget here

It isn't every day that the U.S. Education Secretary makes a strong statement about the pronounced pay gap between early education teachers and the K-12 workforce, but as EdSource's Micheal Collier reports, that's exactly what happened in June when the U.S. Dept. of Education issued a new report.

"Undervaluing the nation's early childhood educators flies in the face of what we know about brain development and the optimal time for learning. Educating children before kindergarten requires significant knowledge, expertise, and skill--especially in light of the critical importance of the early years for children's growth, development, and future academic and life success," said U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr.

The report ( click here to read a fact sheet) provides a state-by-state analysis of the wage gap between those who educate children in child care and private preschool settings and teachers who work in the public K-12 system.  California is one of 13 states in which preschool teachers earned less than 50 percent of the annual wages earned by kindergarten teachers.

Read more here.

Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed, on grit and the importance of the early years

In an interview with EdSource's John Fensterwald, author Paul Tough talks about what he has learned since the publication of his book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character. The book helped spark interest in developing "grit" and perseverance in children.

Tough is now focused on the role of the early years in setting the stage for school success. He told EdSource, "We spend 94 percent of our [early education] public dollars on 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds, and 6 percent on 0- to 3-year-olds. This despite the fact that we now understand that 0 to 3 is when the most important brain development is going on, and especially in this non-cognitive realm."

  Click here to read the interview.

Preschool-aged foster kids face special challenges

Michael Collier: EdSource

Starting a new school can be a stressful experience for just about any young child--we've all seen the tears welling up when it's time for drop-off on the first day. So imagine the impact of frequently changing schools on the youngest foster children, who are already dealing with disruptions in their homes.
In a blog post entitled, "Growing Up in Foster Care: Our Littlest Ones" Patricia Campie of American Institutes for Research provides a picture of the data available on preschool-aged foster kids, and lists state programs that can help, including California's provision that all school-age children in foster care must be enrolled in and attend school, including preschool.


State education budget includes pre-K spots for Los Angeles
KPCC reports that the state budget that Governor Jerry Brown signed this week could provide many new preschool seats in the Los Angeles area and prompt the re-opening of an early education center - but the slots represent just a fraction of the high need that remains as many parents scramble to find seats for their children.  

NPR: Training for preschool teachers needs an upgrade
A new report from The National Council on Teacher Quality suggests that as preschool programs expand, more attention needs to be paid to how early education teachers are being prepared.  According to the report, teachers are getting insufficient training in meeting the specific needs of young children and offering age-appropriate instruction. 

Erin Brownfield, editor