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Early Education

Hillary Clinton, the 'Accelerator' and More

June 17, 2013
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Early childhood advocates received some big shots of energy last week. First,  former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared her dedication to early childhood, including her participation in a national initiative cleverly titled “Too Small to Fail.”  Second, the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, announced social impact bonds and $20 million in investments in the first phase of its public-private partnerships projects known as the  “Early Childhood Innovation Accelerator” project.

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.

Child Care Legislation Heightens Emphasis on Quality

June 13, 2013

Last week, amidst the release of multiple reauthorization bills for No Child Left Behind, key members of the Senate produced a draft bill for reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Introduced by a bipartisan group of senators, including Democratic Senators Mikulski (MD) and Harkin (IA) and Republican Senators Burr (NC) and Alexander (TN), S. 1086 is somewhat more prescriptive than the last version of CCDBG, and a lot more focused on quality.

English Language Learners in Sen. Alexander's Every Child Ready for College or Career Act

June 11, 2013

Last week was a big week for American education policy watchers—we received not one, not two, but three new ESEA reauthorization bills. We’ve already discussed Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) Strengthening America’s Schools Act (SASA), so it’s time to take a look at the Every Child Ready for College or Career Act, proposed by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN).* Like last time, we’ll be focusing on how the bill would affect English language learners (ELLs). (For a comprehensive view of the differences between the bills, check out this post from my colleague Anne Hyslop.)

Sen. Harkin’s Strengthening America’s Schools Act, Title III

June 10, 2013

Now that my colleagues Anne Hyslop and Clare McCann have dug into the changes that Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) Strengthening America’s Schools Act (SASA) proposes for Title I and Title II (here and here), it’s my turn to take a look at the bill’s potential effects on English language learners (ELLs).

Harkin Bill Reforms Teacher and Principal Programs

June 6, 2013

Earlier this week, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the Strengthening America’s Schools Act (SASA). We profiled its major changes here, and a few significant mentions for early childhood education here. Our sister blog, Ed Money Watch, wrote about the Title II teacher and principal provisions today (for more, click here). We’ve collected a few notes on the early education and early grade connections to the Title II reforms:

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:

New Report Explores Data-Driven Instruction in the Early Years

June 5, 2013
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We’ve written a lot about the particular needs of teachers in the early grades, including more comprehensive teacher evaluation systems, a curriculum that spans multiple domains of learning and better support from school leaders and classroom observers.

President's Plan Is More than Pre-K

June 5, 2013

As part of Early Learning Day of Action, we are running a post that originally appeared at the National Journal Education Experts blog. In addition to the post below on the President's pre-K plan, we've also written on the proposed quality standards; partnership with statespre-K momentum from business leaders and red states; proposed funding in the President's budgetdebates on the President's plan; the idea of a tobacco tax; the cost of funding universal pre-K; and for The Atlantic, Lisa Guernsey and I explained why preschool isn't enough.

The President’s early education plan is a step in the right direction. It puts forward a vision of learning along a continuum, starting with pregnant mothers gaining assistance from visiting nurses, moving to expanding families’ access to public programs for babies and toddlers, adding more emphasis on preschool for 4-year-olds and continuing up through the next year, with a recognition of the need for more full-day kindergarten seats.

President Obama’s proposal recognizes that while preschool is certainly an important investment, its impact on children’s long-term success could be greater if it were linked with the rest of the education pipeline. His plan gives weight to the idea that we should no longer think of education as a K-12 system, but instead as a PreK-12 system. This is where I would like to see his plan go even further, by encouraging states to find ways in kindergarten to build instructionally on the knowledge and skills children gain in pre-K, ensuring that those benefits are sustained.

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