Burdened by demands to show outcomes and achievement, early education classrooms are often reduced to scripted lessons and meaningless craft work that imparts little learning, Yale early childhood education lecturer Erika Christakis says in her book The Importance of Being Little.
Total state funding for preschool programs rose by $767 million, to a total of nearly $7 billion. In the 2015-16 budget year, 32 states and the District of Columbia raised funding levels of preschool programs—ans support stemmed from both sides of the political aisle.
Submitted by Matthew Zalaznick on Fri, 02/26/2016 - 2:00am
Eighty-five percent of students starting kindergarten in Erie’s Public Schools are classified as economically disadvantaged, with many showing significant deficits in early learning as measured by a standard literacy-skills assessment.
Facing challenging budgetary constraints, the urban district partnered with local Mercyhurst University in the 2014-15 school year to develop seven school-based, full-day preschool classrooms taught by Mercyhurst graduate students certified in early childhood education.
For the third year in a row, policymakers are making significant investments in state-funded preschool programs. Nationwide, state funding for preschool increased by $672 million this year, to a total of $6.3 billion.
High-quality preschools in a Utah district began receiving funds from a first-of-its-kind, $4.6 million social impact bond from investment banking firm Goldman Sachs last fall. The goal is to improve instruction in order to prevent students from needing special education or remedial services.
As New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio neared his 100th day in office, he could already boast of an achievement that may not only shape his legacy, but also take part in transforming the nation’s largest school system: universal prekindergarten.
De Blasio, who entered office promising to make full-day pre-K available for all 4-year-olds in the city, pressured the state legislature to allocate funding for programs statewide.
After much tussling, New York lawmakers approved $300 million for the city, some $40 million shy of what de Blasio estimated pre-K programs would cost.
Bruce Burger has been the superintendent of the Gibraltar School District in Michigan for the past five years, which serves 3,700 students and includes four elementary schools, one middle school, one high school and one alternative school. When Burger first came to the district as superintendent, one of his most serious concerns was the state of the preschool program already in place. “We had an early childhood program housed in one building, which was losing a considerable amount of money each year,” says Burger.
This free, research-based program is designed to develop language, math, and social skills in children up to age 5, who are preparing for kindergarten. The READY! for Kindergarten tool kit includes age-appropriate learning materials, floor puzzles, colorful wooden shapes, blocks, magnetic letters and numbers, and audio CDs.
Head Start programs across the nation have eliminated services for over 57,000 children this school year due to across-the-board sequester cuts, according to reduction plans submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 18,000 Head Start employees will be laid off or receive pay cuts, and 1.3 million days will be cut nationally from the program’s school calendar, the plans state.