‘Godfather' of Head Start Decries Poor Quality in Pre-K Programs
The average quality of child care programs in private settings is "somewhere between mediocre and poor," says Edward Zigler, who served as one of the founding directors of Head Start in the 1970s. Publicly funded programs - including Head Start - aren't doing much better. In a recent talk at Louisiana State University, Zigler says that Head Start has too often been more a jobs program than an education program and complained that there have been no fundamental improvements to early education and childcare since the Clinton administration. He stressed that it is important for pre-k programs to start small with a focus on quality and then scale up to a universal pre-kindergarten program, which he says is a more "pragmatic" alternative to targeted pre-k.
DC Council Moves to Expand Pre-K
A District of Columbia City Council Committee approved a legislation last week to expand the city's pre-k program to include 2,000 eligible children who are currently not being served. 12,000 four-year olds are currently enrolled in DC pre-k programs. Some council members, however, worry that pre-k expansion will come at the cost of program quality. The final committee report includes changes to a requirement that pre-k teachers hold a B.A. degree in early ed, moving the date this goes into effect from 2014 to 2017. Some charter schools that run pre-k programs worry that the legislation's curriculum requirements prevent flexibility to use alternative teaching methods.
English-Only Pre-K Enrollment Forms Prompt Complaints in NYC
We have already written about how pre-k can help English Language Learners (ELL) boost their language skills and integrate them into English - speaking classrooms, but what about the steps to getting them into pre-k? Critics say English-only enrollment forms for New York City Pre-K programs are a barrier to enrolling ELL students. The City does provide translation services, but immigrant advocates say that parents will not have the time to seek them out. NYC pre-k informational flyers are printed in nine languages, including Urdu and Haitian Creole.