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Federal Early Learning Updates

August 2, 2013

New Leadership in the Office of Early Learning

Libby Doggett has been named the new deputy assistant secretary for policy and early learning at the U.S. Department of Education. Jacqueline Jones, the first appointee to this position, left the department in December 2012.

New Data Demonstrate Poverty Trends, Outcomes of Early Childhood Education

August 1, 2013
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Children have been hit especially hard by the economic recession that gripped the United States in late 2007. Many young children went hungry, homeless and without the educational opportunities and health care they needed as their parents struggled to find jobs and put food on the table. A new report from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, bolstered by new data released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), looks at how children and families are doing today, amid the financial recovery.

Kindergarten's Leap Into the Virtual Classroom

July 12, 2013
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Technology has vastly altered the way students can attend schools- and many people may be surprised to learn that virtual schooling extends even to kindergartners. In fact, online offerings for kindergarten have been around for more than a decade, though early childhood experts continue to question whether these programs meet young children’s early developmental needs.
Online K-12 schools have provided students with alternative schooling options since the early 2000s. Each year, enrollment in such programs has grown by at least 20 to 25 percent.

Significant Diversity – and Inequality – in State Kindergarten Policy

June 20, 2013
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Children’s kindergarten experiences vary greatly depending on where they live. Some public school kindergartners, for example, attend school for six hours each day. Others attend for only two hours. A full day of state-funded kindergarten, as is the case for grades 1-12, is not available everywhere.

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.

Sen. Harkin’s New ESEA Bill Includes Provisions for the Primary Grades, PreK-3rd

June 5, 2013

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), the chair of the Senate committee on education, introduced legislation yesterday to update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known for years as No Child Left Behind.  Since 2007, there have been attempts to reauthorize the law, but none have made it very far.  Here are a few measures in the Senate Democrats’ bill – called the Strengthening America’s Schools Act – that focus on the early childhood field and the primary grades of elementary school:

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.

Mapping Access to Full-Day Kindergarten

March 25, 2013
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Here at Early Ed Watch, we’ve written about the importance of full-day kindergarten, especially in helping children keep up with the more rigorous demands set forth by the new Common Core State Standards. Yet kindergarten remains vulnerable to annual budgeting processes. Most states do not guarantee by law that children will have access to a full day of kindergarten, and six states don’t require districts to offer any type of kindergarten.

Early Learning Legislation in the 113th Congress

March 20, 2013

Building on the momentum of President Obama’s call to expand preschool access, the first months of the 113th Congress have seen the reintroduction of a number of bills addressing early education.

Podcast: What Common Standards Mean for Teachers and Their Youngest Students

March 15, 2013
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Last week, Early Ed Watch described two surveys that shed light on what teachers are thinking about the Common Core State Standards, which will soon affect what and how teachers teach in K-12 classrooms throughout country. This week's education podcast -- available through iTunes and the In the Tank blog -- discusses those survey results with Lindsey Tepe, our program associate at the Education Policy Program and a former elementary school teacher. Tepe dug into the results and found several surprises. Listen in to learn more.

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