Early Education

Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge

May 26, 2011

In 2011, the Obama Administration announced that $500 million will be dedicated to a competition between states to improve early education. The Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) was designed to spur states to create holistic, coordinated early care and education systems (including players like childcare centers, Head Start, state-funded pre-k programs, and home-visiting programs) to close the school-readiness gap.

States Invited to Compete for $500 Million via Early Learning Challenge

May 25, 2011

This morning Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced that $500 million will be directed toward early education in the next six months. The money will be awarded through the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge, a new state-level competition that Duncan and Sebelius hope will spur states to create holistic, coordinated early care and education systems (including players like childcare centers, Head Start, state-funded pre-k programs, and home-visiting programs) to close the school-readiness gap.

Ed.Gov’s Blog Takes Place of Traditional Public Input on New Competition

May 25, 2011

Typically when the federal government announces a competition for funding, it is required to publish a proposal in the Federal Register, give the public at least 30 days to comment, and use those comments to inform its final guidelines. But given that Congress was six months late in setting a budget for this fiscal year, nothing has been running according to plan in Washington, D.C. these days.  Time is tight.

So federal officials decided they had no choice but to request a waiver from those requirements and take a new approach for gathering input on today’s announcement about the new competition for early learning grants.

Webcast at 10 a.m.: Feds to Announce New Grant Competition for Early Learning

May 25, 2011

Long awaited details on how the new Race to the Top dollars will be used to support early learning will come this morning when U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announce a new competition.  Early Ed Watch will be there to hear the latest. The announcement will be streamed live and you can watch it here at 10:00 a.m.

Study Links 5-Year-Olds' Brain Skills to Mothers' Warmth During Infancy

May 24, 2011
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This is the first of two posts exploring new research presented at the bi-annual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development. In April, blog readers voted on which studies they would like to learn more about. The research described below received the most votes. Next month we’ll report on the research that ranked No. 2 in our poll.

A new analysis of data from a cognitive science laboratory at Virginia Tech adds more fuel to the idea that children’s ability to listen and follow directions in school is connected to the way caregivers responded to them as infants. Using data on babies’ brain development as well as their mothers’ interactions with them at five months old, the lab has found that maternal warmth is connected to a child’s “executive functioning” five years later.

Comments Due this Month on NAEYC Tech Statement

May 20, 2011

Every year or so, the National Association for the Education of Young Children writes or revises formal statements on controversial or timely topics in an attempt to provide sound advice to teachers, principals and directors. The subject on the table for discussion this year is the association's revised statement on the use of technology with young children. Comments are due to TechandYC@naeyc.org by May 31.

Ever since the association embarked on its update, the issue of screen time among young children has provoked heated debate among NAEYC members, some of which was on display during a packed and tense meeting during NAEYC's November conference. Some people in the early childhood community want to keep screen-based technology like video players and computers away from preschoolers and kindergartners, arguing that they distract children from hands-on play. Others see potential in video screens and digital technology when used appropriately under adult supervision.

Why Ignoring the Immigrant Youth Population is a Mistake

May 19, 2011
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When President Obama chose to focus on immigration reform in El Paso last week, minds turned to new policies that could address the rapidly rising Hispanic population in the United States.

But politicians say little about policy for immigrant kids in our public schools—despite current research indicating that the future of our workforce may depend on it. According to a recent study by Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, immigrants and their children will provide virtually all growth in the labor force over the next 40 years.

Heard in the Forum: QRIS, Title I, and More

May 13, 2011
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This week in our Early Ed Forum, we have posted links to three new resources for community-based providers and school districts who are seeking to implement PreK-3rd reforms:

Your Baby Can... Memorize the Shape of Printed Words?

May 13, 2011

Infomercials for a questionable video series called Your Baby Can Read have been running on cable television for years, but they had not entered into debates about early literacy in any serious way until recently, when the Federal Trade Commission received a complaint arguing that they amount to deceptive marketing.

Budget FY12: House Committee Decides on $18 Billion Cut to Labor, ED, HHS

May 12, 2011

This is the time of year when the U.S. Congress should be starting to work on the federal budget for fiscal year 2012, which starts on October 1st. The Senate has been silent so far, but the House recently voted, 235-189, to design a budget that spent no more than $1.019 trillion, or about $31 billion less than fiscal year 2011.

Yesterday, a few more details came to light after the House's appropriations committee decided how to divvy up those billions among several buckets of federal programs in different agencies.

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