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Ed Policies Ignore Science on How/When Kids Learn

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • New America Foundation
August 2, 2010 |

Our education system starts at age 5, pays little attention to children’s development and achievement until third grade, and is strewn with remedial programs to get older children back on track.

Meanwhile, studies keep pouring forth that highlight the importance of children’s earliest years – birth to age 8 – in developing the mental capacity that enables life-long learning.

In short, our education policies don’t align with the latest science on how and when children learn. American public education is out of whack.

Comments on Revision of NAEYC's Position Statement on Children and Technology

July 30, 2010

On July 30, 2010, the Early Education Initiative submitted comments to the National Association for the Education of Young Children about revising the organization's statement on technology and children, which was last adopted in 1996.

The initiative made four recommendations for strengthening the position statement:

A Look At Proposed Federal FY 2011 Funding for Early Education: Part 2

July 29, 2010
The Early Learning Challenge Fund is still in play.

Chatter About the Not-Yet-Published (but Tantalizing) Kindergarten Study

July 28, 2010
David Leonhardt’s New York Times column about kindergarten is stirring up some great conversations about the importance of experienced early educators and the need to think beyond test scores.
Robert Pondiscio of Core Knowledge points out that this isn’t the first study to show that adult outcomes – holding down a job, staying out of trouble – can be linked to a high-quality early education program. (He singles out Perry Preschool, for example.) Pondiscio also warns that this study may, unfortunately, continue to feed the “simplistic determination to find the One True Factor upon which all others pivot.” 
Here are a few additional notes and cautions:

Engagement Matters

July 26, 2010
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It is clear that as children progress through school, they benefit greatly when their parents interact with their teachers and are engaged in what they are learning. But what does good family engagement really look like?

Fordham Report Hails the Common Core's Standards in Early Math

July 21, 2010
The Common Core standards are “clearly superior” to what most states are expecting of their students, according to a report released today by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute that gave an A- to the mathematics standards and a B+ to those in language arts.
The math standards for the elementary grades were called out for being particularly strong.
Given recent studies showing the need for more focus on math in the early years, the math review is good news, particularly for states that will be adopting the Core or changing their own standards in the next few years to align more closely with these expectations.

Really? Robots as Assistant Teachers for Young Kids?

July 13, 2010
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The New York Times is running a fascinating series on robotics and artificial intelligence this week. Yet there’s something spooky about it too:  According to the Times, the education ministry of South Korea is planning to put a robot in every one of its 8,400 kindergarten classrooms by 2013.
Part of the robot invasion is based on the country’s bid to ensure that all of its children learn to speak English.

Federal Teacher Programs: Are Pre-K Teachers Part of the Picture?

June 29, 2010
Our colleagues at the Federal Education Budget Project have just released a valuable resource – a one-stop-shop for information on the size, scope and purpose of federal programs that support teacher training and development programs. Their work helps provide clarity on the many different federal teacher programs.  It is titled Federal Programs for K-12 Teachers.
There’s a backstory to that title that highlights a key problem for early educators. Notice that the title says K-12 and not pre-K-12. Why? Because it is often unclear whether these programs can be used by pre-kindergarten teachers. This ambiguity is often raised as an issue by pre-kindergarten teachers who are interested in attending professional development programs but whose administrators lack any clear guidance on whether they would be permitted to use federal funds for their training and development.

Few States Track Children’s Readiness For School

June 29, 2010

Years of research point to the importance of developing the skills that children need to succeed in school and identifying the kindergartners who could have benefited from more learning opportunities before arriving. This is what kindergarten readiness assessments are all about. And yet while states have heeded the call to begin developing practices that support readiness, only a few are actually tracking readiness based on established statewide expectations.

A Place for Play

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • New America Foundation
June 13, 2010 |

When the latest scores of our country's national reading test arrived this spring, they were as depressing as usual: Two-thirds of American fourth-graders, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, cannot read at grade level. Among Hispanic and African American children, it's even higher.

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