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Doing the Math: The Cost of Publicly Funded ‘Universal’ Pre-K

March 14, 2013

During the media frenzy that followed President Obama’s unprecedented call for expanding pre-K to all four-year-olds in the United States, we estimated that the additional cost to states and the federal government, combined, to be somewhere between $10-15 billion per year. We estimate that the feds and the states currently spend about $9 billion on pre-K for four-year-olds.

We wanted to explain exactly how we came to that conclusion.

NAESP: Principals Need to Know about Early Childhood Development

March 7, 2013

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has released new policy proposals to better recruit, prepare and build the capacity of effective principals. One of these new proposals is to strengthen elementary principals’ knowledge about early childhood development, which is an important step in helping principals know what to expect when they walk into kindergarten through third grade classrooms.

At National Journal: President's Plan is More than Pre-K

March 1, 2013
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Last week's National Journal Education Experts blog asks whether the president’s plan to expand all 4-year-olds access to high quality pre-K is a step in the right direction.

I say yes. His plan gives weight to the idea that we should no longer think of education as a K-12 system, but instead as a PreK-12 system.

Podcast: Connecting Obama's Preschool Proposal to School 'Turnarounds'

March 1, 2013
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In January, we held an event called Turnaround 2.0 to draw attention to the challenge of turning around elementary schools without improving the early years – including the early grades of elementary school – when children are building their foundational skills for academic success. Now that we have seen the outlines of President Obama's preschool proposal, these questions are hotter than ever. Depending on how and if Obama's plan moves forward, improvements to elementary schools may come more easily (though, no doubt, much work would still be required to improve instruction across the PreK-3rd grades.)

Why Preschool Isn't Enough

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • Laura Bornfreund,
  • New America Foundation
February 25, 2013 |

At a Georgia preschool last week, President Obama sat in a tiny wooden chair and played a science game with a group of four-year-olds. He held up a magnifying glass and peered playfully at the little boy next to him. For a second it looked as if he was trying to figure him out. It is an apt metaphor of where our country stands on education these days. Obama's preschool plan builds on a decade's fascination with studies on brain growth.

Facing Up to Fade-Out: About Preschool and the Birth-to-Third-Grade Continuum

February 25, 2013

This morning, The Atlantic published a commentary I wrote with my colleague Laura Bornfreund about facing up to "fade-out." The article describes why, if Obama's preschool plan is to gain momentum, it would be smart to proceed with a two-pronged approach: give children deep learning experiences in their birth-to-five years and make improvements to the K-3 grades of elementary school.

Don’t Forget Full-Day Kindergarten

February 21, 2013

An under-examined aspect of President Obama’s new early childhood education plan is his proposal to encourage states to create more full-day kindergarten seats – though only after states are able to guarantee access to pre-K for all 4-year olds from low and moderate-income families.

Federal Report Finds Educational Inequities, Pushes for Access to Early Learning

February 20, 2013
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The Equity and Excellence Commission, a board established by Congress in 2010 to study school finance issues, released its final report this week, For Each and Every Child.

New Details: Obama’s Pre-K Proposal Stresses Birth through Five Continuum, Presents Political Challenges

February 14, 2013

In President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday, he called on Congress to expand high-quality early learning opportunities to low- and moderate-income children. Today, with the release of a White House document and a speech at a Decatur, Ga. pre-K center, Obama sketched more of the plan’s details.

Question 1 on Obama’s Pre-K Plan: How Will It Be Financed?

February 13, 2013

President Obama’s State of the Union call to expand access to pre-K for low and middle-income four-year olds leaves the early childhood world excited, but with many questions. The biggest: How does the president plan on funding this ambitious proposal? What might he be able to do using just the executive branch, and what would require cooperation from an often-recalcitrant Congress?

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