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Head Start

New Research Shows Social Skills and Mixed-Language Play Help ELLs Learn English

June 24, 2013

A new study provides evidence of the direct link between social and academic skill building during early childhood. The article, “Understanding Influences of Play on Second Language Learning,” is by Ruth Piker of California State University – Long Beach, and was published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Early Childhood Research. Piker uses developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky’s “concept of play as rule driven” to analyze how non-native English speakers develop skills in English through structured play with both native speakers and other dual-language learners.

What Obama's Pre-K Proposal Could Mean for Head Start

June 24, 2013

This guest post was written by J.M. Holland, a Head Start teacher in Richmond, Va., and adjunct faculty in the school of education at Virginia Commonwealth University. He writes about education at The Collaborateurs,  formerly The Future of Teaching

To be honest, President Obama’s recent re-commitment to improving quality and increasing access to early childhood education was a surprise to me. I knew that he had an interest in early childhood, because as a Head Start educator I have experienced first hand his interest in early childhood through the Designation Renewal of Early Head Start and Head Start grantees.  And when the Obama administration set accountability as a priority in its efforts to strengthen Head Start it made sense to me. There have been calls for revisions of Head Start funding for years. I am not sure if there will be unintentional negative consequences down the line but any effort toward change takes that risk.

Storify: Senate HELP Committee ESEA Markup

June 13, 2013

Tuesday and Wednesday, the Senate HELP Committee convened to mark up Chairman Tom Harkin's (D-IA) bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. @NewAmericaEd's Anne Hyslop and Conor Williams live-Tweeted, and we've collected some of the main takeaways here, ICYMI.

Recaps and Highlights from Eight PreK-3rd Webinars

June 6, 2013
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Since February 2012, we’ve been tracking (and live-tweeting) the PreK-3rd Grade National Work Group’s series of webinars on reducing the achievement gap by fourth grade. Today  the work group, of which New America is a part, released a four-page brief with webinar highlights. The group's site also includes PDFs of press coverage from Ed Daily, which reported on each session.

Four Years Later, Progress and Pitfalls for State Advisory Councils on Early Childhood

May 28, 2013
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This guest post was written by Christina Satkowski, a former program associate for the Early Education Initiative and author of the 2009 New America paper, The Next Step in Systems-Building: Early Childhood Advisory Councils and Federal Efforts to Promote Policy Alignment in Early Childhood. Christina recently received a foreign policy graduate degree from Georgetown University and spent a year in Jordan as a Fullbright Research Scholar exploring education issues in the Mideast.

Back in 2009, states were given a promising opportunity to address a chronic problem in early childhood policy. The stove-piped and uncoordinated nature of programs like Head Start, state pre-K and federally-funded special education programs meant that some children and their families were unable to access valuable services and the programs themselves do not reach their full potential. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the “stimulus”), Congress approved a $100 million grant program to support the work of state-level advisory councils designed to lead the effort to build comprehensive and effective systems of early childhood programs in their state.

Growing Research Consensus on Effective Strategies for Dual Language Instruction in Early Childhood

May 22, 2013

While there is little doubt that excellent early education sets students up for long-term academic success, the definition of “excellent” varies along with communities’ diverse needs. This is nowhere truer than with dual language learners.

Questions About How the Sequester Is Affecting Low-Income Children

May 13, 2013

On March 1, 2013, federal agencies were directed by the White House budget office to cut spending for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year, through Sept. 30. The cuts, known as “sequestration” in Washington parlance, apply evenly to almost every program, so agencies do not have much leeway to protect certain programs at the cost of others. Now, two-and-a-half months later, the big question is how the cuts are affecting people on the ground. The answer: We have anecdotes, but no firm numbers.

Head Start Exceeds Requirement That Half of Teachers Earn BA in Early Childhood

May 9, 2013

According to recent budget documents from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Head Start program has surpassed a statutory requirement that half of Head Start teachers have bachelor’s degrees in early childhood by September 30, 2013. In fact, according to the Department, 62 percent of teachers had earned the degree by fiscal year 2012.

New Head Start Findings and Updated Background Pages on Early Learning

April 25, 2013
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Correction: An earlier version of this post erroneously reported the total number of Head Start teachers with bachelor's degrees as 44 percent. Of the Head Start teachers subject to a 2007 requirement that half earn bachelor's degrees, 62 percent of Head Start teachers have bachelor's degrees as of 2013.

In addition to the president’s fiscal year 2014 budget request, released earlier this month, information on the administration’s education agenda can be gleaned from the new Congressional Justifications documents from the Departments of Education and Health & Human Services.

The Congressional Justifications typically contain details on the president’s latest proposals, but they also include a wealth of information about existing programs. According to the documents, Head Start and Early Head Start declined in enrollment between 2012 and 2013, before an across-the-board budgetary cut resulted in the elimination of seats in some centers around the country. Meanwhile, funding for each program increased slightly before the implementation of this year’s federal sequester.

Head Start Winners Include Very Few Brand-New Providers

April 18, 2013

This guest post was written by J.M. Holland, a Head Start teacher in Richmond, Va., recent graduate of the educational leadership doctoral program at Virginia Commonwealth University, and blogger at The Future of Teaching

At the start of this month, the Office of Head Start named 160 preliminary winners in the Obama’s administration’s new “re-competition” process for determining which institutions deserve continued funding to run Head Start and Early Head Start programs. These winners were a combination of 100 providers who had already been administering Head Start and Early Head Start grants and 60 “new” providers. Of those new grantees, only a handful -- three, by my calculation -- are organizations not involved in Head Start services before.

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