And They’re Off!: Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Details Announced

Last week, in conference calls with stakeholders and reporters, officials from the Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) provided further details on the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) program. The Obama administration announced $500 million for the competitive grants in late May, and will accept feedback on the draft guidelines until July 11 before finalizing the regulations.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Child’s Play: Should Preschoolers Engage with Technology or Good-Old Fashioned Fun?

As Alice tumbles down the rabbit hole in children’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, she grabs at a jar of orange marmalade and, having no place to put it when she is done, watches it fall. With the touch of a fingertip, a child reading pulls the jar of orange marmalade back to the top of the page and lets it plummet back down again. The child can also dangle the white rabbit’s pocket watch, stretch Alice taller when she partakes from the bottle labeled “Drink Me,” and so on.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Resources: State Pre-K on the Chopping Block?

In our annual report of state-funded preschool programs, we examine three key features of each state pre-K initiative: access, quality standards, and resources. Here we provide a big picture look at the last of these features, resources, in an effort to analyze the nation’s commitment to financing prekindergarten at the state level. (See our previous posts in this series for analyses of access and quality standards.)

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Quality Standards: Gains and Losses in Tough Times

In our annual report of state-funded preschool programs, we examine three key features of each state pre-K initiative: access, quality standards, and resources. Here we provide a big picture look at the one of these features, quality standards, in an effort to analyze the nation’s commitment to offering high-quality preschool experiences at the state level. (For an analysis of pre-K access, see part one of this series.)

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Preschool Access: With Tough Budget Choices Ahead, Will Enrollment Stagnate?

In our annual report of state-funded preschool programs, we examine three key features of each state pre-K initiative: access, quality standards, and resources. Here we provide a big picture look at the first of these three features, access, in an effort to analyze the nation’s commitment to providing preschool education at the state level.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

The Bottom Ten: A Closer Look at No-Program States

The State of Preschool 2010 provided some good news regarding two new pilot programs in Alaska and Rhode Island, meaning there is no longer a “dirty dozen” of states without preschool education programs. However, 10 states still have not made preschool a priority and lack such programs for young learners. These “Bottom Ten” states do provide some services to their youngest learners through federal special education and Head Start programs, though enrollment is limited only to those most “at-risk,” whether due to disability or meeting a low-income threshold.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Winning the Future: Early Learning, Race to the Top, and Federal Funding

After more than a month of tweaking and planning, today Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced the details of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RttT-ELC). Both departments will co-administer the $500 million state-level grant competition, which has the goal of rewarding states that develop comprehensive plans for early learning system with coordination, clear learning standards, and “meaningful workforce development.” The most exciting aspect of this new initiative is that it puts quality front and center, incentivizing states to improve the educational effectiveness of all programs from birth to five, including state and local pre-K, Head Start, and subsidized child care.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

This Memorial Day: A Time to Reflect on the Past … and the Future of Armed Forces

As Memorial Day approaches and Americans collectively prepare for the start of summer it is easy to lose track of the purpose of this day — to honor and remember those Americans in uniform who have died in the service of their country. Unfortunately, recent reports indicate that the American education system may be doing too little to honor their sacrifice by failing to adequately prepare the next generation of men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces. The military relies on a well-trained force of capable individuals who must meet certain requirements to enter the service. However, a combination of low educational attainment, health concerns, and criminal convictions disqualifies a large number of young adults who wish to enter the service.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Are Hispanic Children Losing Out in Preschool?

As revealed in The State of Preschool 2010, enrollment in state-funded pre-K programs nationwide has been negatively impacted by these bad budget years. Enrollment of 4-year-olds nationwide grew by only 3.9 percent, and 3-year-old enrolled actuallydeclined by about 4 percent from 2008-2009 to 2009-2010. Both per-child and overall funding were down as well. These changes appear to be affecting young Hispanic learners worse than other groups.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.