Dear Friends:
 
Welcome to the next issue of EdSource's monthly online newsletter on early learning. Thanks for subscribing! 
 
In this issue, we're excited to announce the findings of our recently commissioned Field Poll, which asked 1,000 registered California voters their views on publicly funded preschool. We also bring you the latest news on the progress of the state Senate proposal to expand transitional kindergarten and take a look at the growing number of non-profits working with parents to read more with young children. 
 
If you know people who are interested in what is happening in early education, please send it on so they can sign up for this new EdSource publication! And, as always, feel free to contact us with suggestions for future coverage.    
 
Best regards,
 

Louis Freedberg
Executive Director

Lillian Mongeau
Early Education Reporter


 Subscribe Here                                                                                April 2014 Issue 4
Latest from EdSource
Majority of California voters support universal preschool
A girl takes a turn on the slide during recess at a transitional kindergarten program in Los Angeles. Credit: Lillian Mongeau, EdSource 

Most California voters think the state should increase the availability of preschool for the state's 4-year-olds, according to a Field Poll conducted in partnership with EdSource.

 

Of the 1,000 registered voters polled, 55 percent said increasing the availability of preschool to 4-year-olds in California was "very important," while 24 percent said it was "somewhat important." Among parents of children 5 or younger, 70 percent said increasing the availability of preschool was

"very important" and 20 percent said it was "somewhat important."

"I'm not surprised that 79 percent of Californians believe that providing early childhood education in preschool is ('very' or 'somewhat') important," Senate President Pro Tem Steinberg said.     

 

Read the full story on EdSource Today.

Pre-kindergarten bill passed by Sen. Education Committee
Children "race to kindergarten" on the grounds of the California State Capitol. Credit: EdSource
After several hours of testimony, the state Senate Education Committee on April 9 voted in favor of a bill that would expand transitional kindergarten to all 4-year-olds. 

 

The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where its lead author, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, will have to fight for the nearly $1.5 billion it will take to fully fund the new year of public education. Supporters of Senate Bill 837 outnumbered opponents by about 3-to-1, lining up along the far wall of the committee room and wrapping around the back.

 

 Read the full story on EdSource Today. 

Public housing authorities pilot education programs
Alani Jimenez, 3, works on an art project with her mom, Jennie, during a class at their public housing complex in Fresno. Credit: EdSource

In an effort to improve literacy rates among children from low-income families, public housing authorities across the state are piloting programs that help parents prepare their children for school and increase their access to books.

 

From building libraries on public housing grounds to providing parenting classes, housing authorities from Sacramento to Oceanside are providing more academic support for their youngest residents. 

 

"We're not just about bricks and mortar, a roof over a head," said Preston Prince, executive director of the Fresno Housing Authority and president of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. "To be successful, children need additional help and the environment of where a child lives has a pretty major impact on how they do in school."

 

Read the full story on EdSource Today. 

More non-profits teaching parents to read with children
Preschoolers in San Francisco listen to a story read by Michele Callwood of Raising A Reader, a non-profit focused on early literacy. Credit: EdSource

Uriel Torres, 4, wasn't sitting quietly as his tutor read him a book about Clifford, that irascible big red dog. He wasn't sitting at all. He leaned forward out of his high chair, almost laying his little body out on the kitchen table, to get a closer look at the illustrations.

 

A growing number of non-profits, including the one providing a tutor to Uriel free of charge, is hoping to harness the natural curiosity of young children and use it to encourage their parents to read them more books in preparation for starting kindergarten. 

 

Read the full story on EdSource Today.
Early learning in the spotlight 
California programs focused on parents awarded $2.7 million
Several California non-profits focused on teaching families to advocate for better educational opportunities were awarded large grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on April 16.

Programs based in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and Redwood City won a combined total of $2.7 million in new grant funding to increase parent engagement in families with young children. The annually awarded grants distributed $13.7 million among 30 organizations across the country.

Learn more about the two Los Angeles grantees on KPCC's site.
N.C. preschool program led to better health 42 years later

In 1972, researchers in North Carolina started following two groups of babies from poor families. In the first group, the children were given full-time day care up to age 5 that included most of their daily meals, talking, games and other stimulating activities. The other group, aside from baby formula, got nothing. The scientists were testing whether the special treatment would lead to better cognitive abilities in the long run.

 

Forty-two years later, the researchers found something that they had not expected to see: The group that got care was far healthier, with sharply lower rates of high blood pressure and obesity, and higher levels of so-called good cholesterol.


Read the full story on The New York Times.
Early Education News Briefs

Foster families share support and housing, with elders in Oregon
LAO recommends restructuring of California child care system
Maine one step closer to universal preschool
About 15 percent of seniors in the U.S. live below the poverty line and many struggle to find affordable housing. But a unique community in Oregon is offering low-income seniors reduced rents, in exchange for their time. There are 27 apartments at Bridge Meadows for low-income seniors who agree to volunteer about 10 hours a week with the adoptive families, in exchange for reduced rents.

Watch the full story on PBS Newshour.

A new report by the California Legislative Analyst's Office is suggesting significant changes to the state's child care and early education systems.

 

"In short, the system is complex, bifurcated, confusing and inconsistent," states the report, which was released on April 4. "We recommend undertaking a fundamental restructuring."  

 

 

 Read the full story on EdSource Today. 

A roll of the dice at one of Maine's two casinos would have a big payoff for pre-kindergarten children under a bill that passed by a wide margin (102 to 45) in the Maine House. The measure would use casino revenues to expand early childhood education to schools that don't currently offer such programs. The bill was supported by both parties and now moves to the Maine Senate. 

 

Read the full story on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network site.

Sneak Peek
Each month we share a photo to give you a sneak peek into upcoming EdSource Today reports. Destiny Guitterez and her daughter Avery Sanchez are one of thousands of families who receive regular visits from a nurse during the first year of a child's life. Next month, we take a look at how home visiting has evolved over the years in California and examine the effect it could have on the future academic success of the children involved.
Want a free online subscription to Eyes on the Early Years?  
Click on the button below.
Produced with support from the Heising-Simons Foundation.
Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.