As cities in states as politically diverse as New York, Massachusetts, Georgia, Texas and Washington seek to expand their preschool programs with an eye toward universal access, early childhood education continues to gain traction in policy discussions. At the same time, ... Policymakers must address factors far beyond classrooms and schools, improving the family and home circumstances in which our children spend the early years when growth and development is most critical. ... Educare – an intensive birth-to-five early childhood system  offers lessons that can guide early childhood policymaking at this critical juncture.
It should be clear, on its face, that “miracles” have no place in education policy. Websters defines a miracle as “an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God.” No one seeking to improve education would rely on God or on “an unusual or wonderful event,” right? Wrong. High-profile policymakers not only have proclaimed to have produced or witnessed “miracles,” but have suggested that these other-worldly happenings ought to be the basis for widespread policy change. We have subsequently watched as each proved to be less than miraculous and, often, a disaster.
Both state governments and the federal government need to step up our investments in high-quality pre-K. As they do so, looking to Boston can help demonstrate the wisdom of investing in teacher training and curriculum support, and in ensuring access for all children. It can also demonstrate why the most effective pre-K programs will be part of a comprehensive strategy for America's children.
This year's release of District of Columbia Public Schools standardized test scores came with much less fanfare than in 2013 -- growth in "proficiency" is smaller, and district leaders were recently called out for lack of transparency ... using averages to hide growing gaps. Ironically, given NCLB's goal of illuminating race- and income-based gaps, districts like DCPS feel pushed to create the appearance that reforms have worked by hiding growing disparities....Transparency, paired with comprehensive, whole-child strategies that can help produce meaningful gains for all students, would represent the real reform we have long sought.
In contrast to education "reformers" such as Joel Klein who support increased spending on charter schools, testing, and performance-based rewards, the BBA calls for a redirection of funds towards early-childhood education, health care, and other social supports.
Data suggests that better schools do not address the problem of under achievement. Instead, resources should be directed towards a broader, bolder approach, incorporating childcare, parental support, and community involvement.
There are no announcements at this time.
Rich Hill: Three Boys in Small Town America (April 29, 2014)
Ready for Kindergarten (February 27, 2014 and March 8, 2014)
The New Public (November 7, 2013)
American Winter (March 14, 2013)
Release Event: Noncognitive Skills: What are they, Why do they matter, and How can we better incorporate them into education policy?
ECE Webinar: Domains of Brain Development and Early Childhood Brain Science with Todd Grindal
Part I | Part II
ECE Webinar: Economic Benefits of Early Childhood Investments, K-12 Impacts with Robert G. Lynch
ECE Webinar: Paid Early Childhood Caregivers and Educators with Robert C. Pianta