Here at the Early Education Initiative, we have just released our bi-annual issue brief with recommendations for the U.S. Congress. This year's installment is titled "12 Ideas for Early Education in the 112th Congress."
The brief includes several fresh ideas, including a call for research on digital technology, improvements in the professional development of principals, and changes to the "adequate yearly progress" provisions under No Child Left Behind. It also provides updates to some of the ideas that the Early Education Initiative put forth in 2009.
The topic headings of our 12 ideas are below. Please see the full text of the issue brief for explanations, and let us know what you think.
- Think PreK-12, not K-12.
- In grant competitions, favor states with effective early learning strategies.
- Use School Improvement Grants to expand full-day kindergarten and high-quality pre-k.
- Build stronger links between principals and early childhood programs.
- Encourage the use of valid and reliable observation tools to measure teacher effectiveness throughout the PreK-12 system.
- Promote high-quality traditional and alternative teaching programs to recruit talented individuals in STEM to become pre-k and early elementary school teachers.
- Fund research on young children and digital technology.
- In rewriting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) sanctions, give credit to elementary schools that show evidence of using student data to improve instruction in the early grades.
- Target elementary absenteeism.
- Support the ability of effective charter schools to offer high-quality pre-k programs.
- Recognize the connection between the prosperity of families with young children and the economic future of our country.
- Channel funding to effective programs.