Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The "Real" Bailout Plan of the United States of America: Quality Early Education

Early Stories mentions the Fortune Magazine article revealing President Obama's support for Early Education is directly related to the research and talk that educational achievement=economic progress.

Hmm......We knew that.....

26% of States Are Tied for LAST in Report Measuring "Quality" of Preschool Programs

I hadn't yet been able to take a look at NIEER's State of Preschool 2008 report. However, I did see the NACCRRA the New York Times articles which both recently offered details related to it, including which states the report has placed at the bottom of the barrel.

However, while it's important to see where we may need improvement--it's also important to recognize how far we have come....so in an effort to recognize both--here are a few stats (from NIEER's State of Preschool 2008 report):

  • More than 80 percent of all 4-year-olds attend some kind of preschool program (approxiametly half public and half private)
  • Oklahoma is OK! In Oklahoma nearly 90 percent of the 4-year-olds receive a free public education. This is opposed to the as few as 10 percent which are enrolled in public programs in some other states.
  • Thirty-three of the 38 states with state preschool programs increased enrollment. The 12 states with no state programs still don't (they are: Indiana, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Alaska, and Hawaii).
  • Twelve states improved on NIEER’s Quality Standards Checklist. Only two states fell back.
  • The states at the "top" serving 4 year olds include: Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Vermont, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, and South Carolina. Those at the "top" for serving 3 year olds include: Illinois, Arkansas, Vermont, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Where do we go from here?
Even the best (and definetly the worst) could still use more state mandated quality control with access to support and education for their teachers, directors and staff.

Additionally, I think we still need to work on how we communicate the importance of early childhood education and the impact a child's development during the early years has on their later years---socially, emotionally and then academically.

We are still climbing the mountain, but at least we've got a good strong, solid start and more support than we've ever had before.