Research demonstrates that quality pre-Kindergarten experiences prepare children socially and academically for school and that these experiences have lasting benefits.
April 30, 2013: The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIERR) releases annual report, The State of Preschool 2012, demonstrating that, "The 2011-2012 school year was the worst in a decade for progress in access to high-quality pre-K for American children... State funding for pre-K decreased by over half a billion dollars... the largest one year drop ever." Here is a succinct summary from the Education Law Center.
February 13, 2013: In his State of the Union message, President Obama proposed expanding government subsidized pre-Kindergarten for children in poor and moderate-income families. Expanding access to early education should be a priority, as it is known that the achievement gap widens well before children enter Kindergarten.
- Here is the NY Times report on the President's proposal.
- Here is a very moving commentary on the history of the debate on federally subsidized pre-school.
- And here is a commentary by Harvard's David Deming on why expanding access to pre-school must be the priority: our society serves far too few children.
State Budget Crises Endanger Efforts to Expand Early Education
November 2012: William Mathis, at the National Education Policy Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, briefly summarizes the research and makes a strong case for expanding Preschool Education to make it universally available across the states. Mathis warns, "However, in inflation adjusted dollars, overall funding per child served is lower than a decade ago."
June 2012: Pre-Kindergarten for All? Not By a Longshot explores the impact of the end of the economic stimulus and the crisis in state budgets.
Enriched early education programs are extremely dependent on state budgets, many of which have been threatened during 2009 because of the economic crisis that has reduced property, income, and sales tax revenues. In October 2009, the PEW Center on the States reported on the fate of enriched pre-Kindergarten programs across the states.
National Institute for Early Eduation Research is the go-to site supporting early education.
The National Women's Law Center devotes a full page of its website to "Child Care and Early Education." Here you can find up-to-date resources about child care, early education and Head Start policy.
The National Head Start Association is an advocate for excellent Head Start programs and a clearinghouse for information about Head Start. Head Start programs support social and intellectual development as well as supporting parenting skills. Nutrition and medical care are addressed. Parents are encouraged to understand themselves as citizens with a responsibility for supporting children rather than as consumer parents seeking to purchase child care as a commodity.
Finding quality child care is a significant dilemma for all parents no matter their economic level. Parents who are poor struggle to be able to locate quality child care, to find accessible child care that accommodates their work schedule and transportation constraints, and to be able to pay for child care despite subsidies. The Center for Law and Social Policy is an advocate for affordable, accessible, quality child care.
The Children's Defense Fund posts materials from its Early Childhood Development Division on issues around Head Start, early education and child care.
Advancing Quality Pre-K for All Children is a priority of the Pew Charitable Trust.
On its website, the Annie E. Casey Foundation posts all the data on a mass of child indicators, state by state, in the annual Kids Count Data Book, an essential resource for child advocacy.
Here is a link to the "Early Care and Education" page of the website of Voices for America's Children.