Dear Friends:
 
Welcome to the next issue of EdSource's monthly online newsletter on early learning. Thanks for subscribing! 
 
In this issue we focus on the ongoing calls for universal preschool for 4-year-olds statewide and nationally, along with growing efforts to make sure that teachers of elementary age children are prepared to teach the Common Core state standards -- especially math. 
 
If you know people who are interested in what is happening in the early education space, please send it own so they can sign up for this new EdSource publication!   
 
Best regards,
 

Louis Freedberg
Executive Director

Lillian Mongeau
Early Education Reporter


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Latest from EdSource
Cost grows for proposal to expand transitional kindergarten
Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, introduces a bill that would expand transitional kindergarten. Credit: Lillian Mongeau, EdSource
A Senate proposal to expand transitional kindergarten to all 4-year-olds would be more expensive than originally predicted, according to a new analysis.

At full roll-out in 2019-20, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's proposal would cost $1.46 billion in addition to the $901 million already being spent on the current transitional kindergarten program, according to a recent analysis by the California Department of Education. Steinberg, D-Sacramento, had said the expansion would cost an additional $990 million when he introduced legislation to create the program in January. 

 

Read the full story in EdSource Today. 
Effective teacher training critical for Common Core math
Teacher Mark McKinley is enrolled in a Shasta County program to train teachers in Common Core math. Credit: Lillian Mongeau, EdSource
The quality of teacher training will be crucial to the success of the new Common Core State Standards in math, educators say, and the pressure is on districts to give elementary school teachers the skills they'll need to provide students with a firm foundation in early arithmetic.

 

"My big worry is that we're not going support (teachers) and then we're going to say, 'See, the Common Core doesn't work,'" said UCLA education professor Megan Franke, who focuses on mathematics education.

 

Franke said the teachers she's met in her trainings are unevenly prepared to take on the challenge of instructing students in the dramatically different fashion needed to reach the more comprehensive standards.

 

Read the full EdSource Today story here. 

Three early education bills featured in EdSource's EdTracker
The state Legislature will consider three measures that would change the early education landscape in California. A bill that would increase oversight of publicly funded child care centers and one that would make kindergarten mandatory have been introduced in the Assembly. A bill that would expand transitional kindergarten to all 4-year-olds has been introduced in the Senate.
Pre-kindergarten in the spotlight 
Need for full-day kindergarten lost in pre-k debate, critics say
California requires schools to offer a half day of kindergarten for eligible 5- and 6-year-olds, but offering a full day is optional. As Al Baker, of The New York Times reports, critics worry that the need for a longer day of kindergarten is lost amid the debate about whether or not to offer publicly funded pre-kindergarten.

Baker's story focuses on New York, but many of the same issues are relevant in California and are being debated right now in Sacramento as lawmakers consider the bill to expand transitional kindergarten to all 4-year-olds.

Read the full New York Times story
President Obama highlights early education in his 2015 budget
Federal early childhood care and education programs would receive a $2.2 billion boost under President Obama's proposed 2015 budget. Though the new spending would help, the overall total spending would still be below sequester levels, according to a report by First Focus, a non-profit working on federal policy and spending affecting young children.

The the budget is more an Obama administration wish list than something that will be enacted by Congress, according to the report.

For details on how administration would spend the funds if they received them, read the full First Focus report.
Early Education News Briefs

The overprotected kid -- and how American parents got here
Reduced child welfare services in Florida mean innocents lost
Obesity rate for young children dropped in past decade
A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery-without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution. The Land is a Welsh "adventure playground." If a 10-year-old lit a fire at an American playground, a common occurrence at The Land, someone would call the police and the kid would be taken for counseling.

After Florida cut down on protections for children in troubled homes, deaths soared. The children were not just casualties of bad parenting, but of a deliberate shift in Florida child welfare policy. The state's Department of Children and Families leaders made a decision, nearly 10 years ago, to reduce by as much as half the number of children taken into state care.

 

Explore The Miami Herald's investigative report. 

News that the obesity rate for U.S. children between the ages of 2 and 5 plunged 43 percent over the past decade, to just over 8 percent, was welcome news for child health advocates. The finding was based on new data, published online February 26, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Journal of the American Medical Association.   

 

 

Read the full story in Education Week.

Sneak Peek
Each month we share a photo to give you a sneak peek into upcoming EdSource Today reports. Next month we take a look at growing efforts by non-profit organizations working directly with parents to encourage reading at home. Here, Uriel Torres, 4, works at his kitchen table with a volunteer from the East Palo Alto-based 10 Books A Home so that he's ready to start kindergarten.
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Produced with support from the Heising-Simons Foundation.
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