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Jacqueline Jones -- Former New Jersey Early Childhood Head -- to Advise Duncan on Early Learning

Earlier this week Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced his appointment of several key Department of Education officials, including the selection of Jacqueline Jones as senior adviser to the secretary for early learning. Jones previously served in the New Jersey Department of Education as assistant commissioner for the Division of Early Care and Education.

The Department of Education has never had an assistant secretary or office of early childhood education — the early childhood programs it runs are scattered throughout different offices of the Department. Given the Obama administration’s expressed interest in beefing up the Department’s early childhood role and strengthening coordination amongst existing programs, many early education stakeholders have been curious to see how Duncan would staff the Department on early education, as well as who he would select for key roles. Since late last year, Barbara Bowman, who served as chief early education officer in the Chicago Public Schools under Duncan, has been serving as an adviser to the secretary on early childhood issues, but most observers did not expect her to remain in that role permanently. With legislation now moving in Congress to create a major new early childhood program within the Department of Education, Duncan’s selection of Jones comes just in time.

We think Jones is a strong choice for this role. New Jersey’s Abbott pre-k program is one of the highest quality state pre-k programs in the country, and as we’ve noted previously has contributed to helping improve educational outcomes and narrow achievement gaps for children in several high-poverty New Jersey school districts. More important, New Jersey built a very strong state-level infrastructure of assessment, monitoring, professionally development and support to help districts ensure high quality implementation of Abbott across a range of diverse providers. As the administration’s early childhood agenda focuses on helping states build the infrastructure and systems to support and improve quality across a range of early childhood providers, Jones’ experience in New Jersey should be especially valuable.

Most exciting to us, New Jersey has done more than any state in the country to advance PreK-3rd reforms that include not just high-quality pre-k but also fundamental changes in the early elementary grades and efforts to strengthen alignment between pre-k programs and elementary schools, so that they can build on and sustain the gains children make in high-quality pre-k programs. The Division of Early Care and Education that Jones oversaw in New Jersey is the only one in the country that explicitly has responsibility for PreK-3rd programs, not just preschool. And both during and following Jones’ tenure the Division has taken a number of steps to strengthen PreK-3rd alignment and improve quality in the early grades, especially kindergarten. We hope that Jones will bring that PreK-3rd focus with her to her new position and will work to thoroughly integrate birth to five efforts, such as the Early Learning Challenge Fund, as a key component of the Obama administration’s broader vision for P-20 education reform and improvement.

Early age education via parenting

Sorry...I keep waiting and waiting for Arne Duncan or some other "educator" to really get into birth through three parenting, which without doubt is the most important education sector.

When 85% of a child's brain is formatted once and for all during the first three years, where are the programs? Where is the promotion? Where is the discussion? Where are the believers?

We evidently think it alright to send our children through life with 486 brains instead of pentium brains.

Oh yes... there is behind the scenes talk and some programs such as those prompted by Rob Reiner (he deserves a medal) but I just never see any early education article...or forum...devoted to parenting of birth through three children.

I am a publisher (Rezoom in La Crosse, WI) of parenting materials which we have sold to some Head Starts and parent groups. Funding for parenting information such as ours has all but disappeared.

Parenting, it appears, is of little consequence to educators. What happens at home is far more important in the early years. Better parenting (more insightful) makes all of a child's future education easier and cheaper.

I want to hear Governors and State Education Directors demand funding for parenting education for new parents...and in high schools. After 15 years of writing thousands of letters and sending information to these legislators...none of them voice any interest in programs to emphasize early age parenting.

It's pretty damn sad.

Sorry...I keep waiting and

Sorry...I keep waiting and waiting for Arne Duncan or some other "educator" to really get into birth through three parenting, which without doubt is the most important, but most neglected education sector.

When 85% of a child's brain is formatted once and for all during the first three years, where are the programs? Where is the promotion? Where is the discussion? Where are the believers? Is that fact simply unimportant? Is the word "parenting" ever found in articles such as the one I am responding to? No.

We evidently think it alright to send our children through life with 386 or 486 brains instead of pentium IV brains.

Oh yes... there is behind the scenes talk and some programs such as those prompted by Rob Reiner (he deserves a medal) but I just never see any early education article...or forum...devoted to parenting of birth through three children.

I am a publisher (Rezoom .. in La Crosse, WI) of parenting materials which we have sold to some Head Starts and parent groups for 15 years. Funding for parenting information such as ours has all but disappeared.

Parenting, it appears, is of little consequence to educators. What happens at home is far more important in the early years. Better parenting (more insightful) makes all of a child's future education easier and cheaper. With a Pentium brain, children are self learners.
Just stay out of their way.

I want to hear Governors and State Education Directors demand funding for parenting education for new parents...and in high schools for all students. After 15 years of writing thousands of letters and sending information to these legislators...none of them voice any interest in programs to emphasize early age parenting. When I some day hear a legislator or educator mention the parenting word, with power and soul...I'll roll over in my grave.

It's pretty damn sad.