The Right Kind of Universal Pre-K

Despite the nation’s dismal ranking for early childhood education, there are signs that it is increasing in importance for American families. Just a decade ago, only 65 percent of four-year-olds were enrolled in preschool; today that number is 78 percent. It is a subject that has become politicized as well, with President Obama championing the cause a number of times during his presidency, most notably in his 2013 State of the Union Address. After that speech, the White House offered details of the president’s plan to greatly expand the availability and quality of pre-k programs, which include:

 

  • Expanding Early Head Start, which provides educational and health services to low-income and vulnerable children birth to three years of age;
  • Developing a cooperative effort between state and federal agencies to guarantee pre-k enrollment for children at or below 200 percent of the poverty line;
  • Build a corps of pre-k teachers that have the same level of credentials as those that teach K-12 students;
  • Extending the Nurse Family Partnership Program, which provides home visits from nurses to low-income families. Nurses help promote health and positive parenting strategies from the child’s birth through their second birthday.

 

Many state legislatures have enacted sweeping pre-k programs with great success – Georgia and Oklahoma among them. But the oddity of many state-based pre-k programs is that their success is far higher in states that generally have poorer performing public schools. Additionally, support for pre-k education seems to be much more robust in Republican-leaning states, especially those in the Deep . . . read more

It is no secret that youth of color, particularly black boys, face a mountain of obstacles to success. Black boys are more likely than their white peers to be suspended or expelled from school, more likely to drop out, less likely to graduate from high school, more likely to be unemployed, in prison, and die at an early age. These are problems that school districts, cities, and states have sought to fix for years and years, but with only pockets of success. It is a bleak outlook, but one that the Obama administration seeks to change with the most comprehensive reform and aid effort yet.

About the Initiative

The overarching purpose of My Brother’s Keeper is to address gaps in educational and related services that persist for young men of color. The initiative is a cooperation between local, state, and federal agencies, private business, and non-profits to bring essential services to the nation’s neediest youth. In total, the initiative includes five primary goals:

 

  • Prepare Children to Learn – Provide support programs that foster intellectual, physical, social, and emotional growth so children are prepared to begin school.
  • Boost Literacy – Support early learning initiatives that get children reading at grade level by age 8.
  • Help Kids Graduate from High School Prepared for College – Promote educational programs that prepare students for success in postsecondary environments and facilitate training for in-demand jobs.
  • Facilitate Workforce Readiness – Assist youth in finding quality jobs that allow them to support themselves and their . . . read more

Districts across the nation have raised questions about their responsibilities in providing educational services to the most recent wave of immigrant children, specifically those from the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Many of these children have arrived unaccompanied, countless numbers have done so illegally, and the vast majority have little or no knowledge or understanding of English.

Children who arrive in the United States without an accompanying adult are cared for at one of approximately 150 shelters whose operation is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services. While at the shelter, all expenses for caring for the children, from food and clothing to immunizations and other medical care, are paid for by the federal government. Although children in these shelters receive educational services, they are not allowed to attend school offsite. Only after they are released to a sponsor – a parent, other relative, or family friend – are children allowed to enroll in public school. It is these children, who in the past year alone number nearly 63,000, that school districts aren’t sure what to do with.

Source: USA Today for the number of unaccompanied children released to sponsors by state

 

Part of the problem districts are facing is that they have difficulty determining the child’s educational background when their sponsor brings them in to enroll. Oftentimes the sponsor is unaware of the child’s history, and language barriers can prevent the child from conveying their . . . read more

It’s back-to-school time, are your kids ready? One of the most stressful parts of back-to-school season is making sure your children get everything they need, without breaking the bank.

Teachers today seem to request more and more supplies than ever before. Whether physical or electronic, it’s a tall task to find and purchase the items at a reasonable cost. We’ve paneled some school, retail, and savings experts to get the best tips and strategies so you can get the best supplies on a smart budget.

Here are 10 expert back-to-school shopping tips.

1. Use supplies from last year

Before you do anything else, check last year’s school supplies to see if they are still in useable condition. Don’t purchase new supplies if the old ones can be made to last a while longer. Lunchboxes, backpacks, clothes, sports equipment, and other school paraphernalia can often make a return appearance. Sometimes, you’ll find unopened packs of pens, pencils, and other items that you may have forgotten about.

2. Make a list – and stick to it

Make a list before leaving the house. According to Dr. Deborah Gilboa, also known as parenting expert “Doctor G,” says a list is vital to staying on budget. “We tend to shop more responsibly when a list is guiding our purchases… [It] helps cut down impulse buying.” Many teachers also hand out supply sheets for their students and it is a good idea to bring this document along on shopping trips so that children get . . . read more
Knowledge is power. It is a phrase that countless schoolchildren have heard from the lips of countless teachers through the years. While for some it’s just meaningless words, for others it is a mantra by which they approach education. The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) takes that mantra to heart, and after 20 years, has changed the manner in which public school children are taught.
 
KIPP began as the brainchild of two Teach for America workers in 1994. After recognizing that their low-income students were not receiving the support they needed in order to achieve success in school, and later in life, Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg devised a new way to teach middle school students. After convincing the Houston Independent School District to green light their experimental program, Levin and Feinberg built a curriculum that harnessed the power of values held dear by their community – hard work, accountability, high expectations, and a sense of togetherness. From their initial class of 47 students, KIPP has since grown into a network of 162 schools across the nation.
 
KIPP In a Nutshell
 
KIPP was formed in order to bring opportunity to underserved populations through education. KIPP schools, which are public charter schools, are founded on the belief that any child – regardless of his or her socioeconomic status, racial heritage, or other demographic factors – can and will learn if given the appropriate opportunity. And with that opportunity, poverty-stricken children can develop the knowledge and skills they need to graduate from . . . read more
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The Right Kind of Universal Pre-K
The Right Kind of Universal Pre-K
For years there has been a push to universalize preschool in this country in order to provide all children with the leg up they will need in order to compete in a globalized economy. While approximately three-fourths of four year olds in America are involved in some kind of educational program, the United States still ranks only 25th out of the 34 most wealthy and upcoming nations in the world in terms of early childhood education, lagging behind the likes of Portugal and Mexico.
‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Seeks to Give African-American Boys a Boost
President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative aims to improve academic opportunities for students of color, especially African-American boys.
10 Money-Saving Tips for Back-to-School Shopping
One of the most stressful parts of back-to-school season is making sure your children get everything they need, without breaking the bank. Here are 10 expert back-to-school shopping tips to get what you need on a budget.