Early Childhood Education News Roundup

Early Childhood Education News Roundup

In our early education news roundup, here are three highlights from around the web:

U.S. News & World Report: Teachers Are the Key to Quality Education

Contributor Cindy Cisneros writes that “Paying early childhood education teachers more would help ensure a high quality program.”

“A child’s first five years are the most critical for neurological development, with their brains forming more than one million neural connections per second. This is the time when the foundation is built for future success – brain wiring for social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. Genetics and experiences both play a role in a child’s early development. And that is why access to early childhood education programs and to quality early educators matters so much.”

“Having high-quality programs hinges on having a high-quality workforce. But the field suffers from low wages, which leads to high turnover. Poor pay also leaves little incentive for early childhood teachers to return to college and earn degrees or other certifications to deepen their competencies and knowledge about how best to foster early learning.”

“Solutions abound for promoting healthy development and school readiness among our young children – to better prepare the next generation of workers. At the core of these initiatives is building a strong early childhood workforce – both in knowledge and competencies and also in pay. All we need now is the will power to implement them more broadly.”

Northern Illinois University: NIU team wins two grants to study early childhood education outcomes in Illinois

“The first of the team’s two projects will study Illinois’ return on investment for early childhood education, examining both early childhood programming offered in K-12 schools through the state board of education as well programs supported by the Illinois Department of Human Services.”

“’This project is the first big test of Illinois’ new longitudinal data system, which links many data sets to allow researchers to track the impacts of early childhood education on a person’s school, career and outcomes later in life,’ says [Amy Jo Clemens, director of the NIU Center for P-20 Engagement and the lead investigator on the grants]. ‘The goal is to create a cost-benefit analysis that says, ‘With this type of investment, you’ll get this type of outcome.’”

“The team’s second project will evaluate the effectiveness of a federal Preschool Development Expansion Grant that the state of Illinois was awarded in December of 2014. This four-year grant allowed the state to enhance its infrastructure to provide high-quality preschool programs for four-year-olds, especially in high-need communities. For this study, the NIU team will use a mix of quantitative and qualitative data to get a complete picture of the child, family and even community impacts of the early childhood programming supported by the grant.”

Chicago Tribune: IL education report presents early learning opportunity

Trish Rooney, director of SPARK Aurora Early Childhood Collaboration, writes in a guest column: “Recently the Illinois School Board of Education released the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) report: Readiness Matters.”

“For the first time in Illinois, we have a statewide snapshot of children’s developmental skills and competencies as they enter kindergarten. As soon as the report was released, dozens of news articles were published sounding the alarm that statewide only 25 percent of children entering kindergarten are ready.”

“While the fact that only 25 percent of children entering kindergarten are ready is a concern, I also see it as an opportunity. This report provides valuable data and a call for action among early childhood professionals, parents, educators, policymakers and the funding community to be purposeful and intentional in the ways we can come together to support our families and children to succeed not only in school but also in life.”