Dear Friends:
 
Welcome to the latest issue of EdSource's monthly online newsletter on early learning. Thanks for subscribing! 
 
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Louis Freedberg
Executive Director

Lillian Mongeau
Early Education Reporter


 Subscribe Here                                                                                May 2014 Issue 5
Latest from EdSource
Significantly altered transitional kindergarten bill passes Senate
A transitional kindergarten student plays letter bingo at H.W. Harkness Elementary School in Sacramento. Credit: EdSource
A bill that would make public pre-kindergarten available at no charge to children from California's lowest-income families passed the state Senate on May 29 and heads to the Assembly for debate there.

Changes to the bill language announced last week and introduced yesterday would make transitional kindergarten a targeted program for children who qualify for free or reduced price lunch under the federal poverty guidelines (under $44,000 annual income for a family of four), rather than a universal program.

 

"This pared down version of the original bill would still cover one half of the 4-year-olds in California, because half of them are low-income," state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told the Senate during debate.

 

Read the full story on EdSource Today.
School librarians a rare find in California schools
School librarian Shannon Engelbrecht reminds Tori Reese, 8, that she has several books overdue. Credit: Lillian Mongeau, EdSource
Shannon Engelbrecht, who works for the San Francisco Unified School District, is poised to become one of a rare breed in California when her hours are increased next year: a full-time public school librarian.

California employed 804 school librarians in 2012-13, which translates to one certified school librarian for every 7,784 students in 2012-13, according to data from the California Department of Education. That is the lowest per-student ratio of any state in the country. The national average in the fall of 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, was one school librarian for every 1,022 students, according to The National Center for Education Statistics.

 

Research shows that children who aren't reading proficiently by 3rd grade are less likely to graduate high school. Library advocates say making high-quality books and other library services available to students and teachers in the first years of elementary school can be critical to early literacy. 

 

Read the full story on EdSource Today.
California legislators move to restore child care funding

Three proposals put forth today during budget subcommittee meetings in the Assembly and Senate would restore tens of thousands of publicly funded child care slots in the 2014-15 state budget.

 

The proposals would restore at least 40,000 child care slots for children from low-income families. Proposed costs range from $439.5 million to $650 million.   

 

Read the full story on EdSource Today.

 

Transitional kindergarten teachers say they need more training
Source: "California's Transitional Kindergarten Program: Report on the First Year of Implementation," American Institutes of Research, April 2014
Ninety-five percent of the first transitional kindergarten teachers in California had previously taught preschool, kindergarten or 1st grade, but said they could have used more training on how to teach 4-year-olds, according to a new report by the American Institutes for Research.

In the program's inaugural school year (2012-13), more than half of transitional kindergarten teachers reported receiving no training specifically aimed at this age group.

This report is the second in an ongoing study that will track the academic and social progress of California students who attended transitional kindergarten. The study will also continue to examine how schools and districts manage the daily details of running a publicly funded pre-kindergarten program.

Read the full story on EdSource Today.
Early learning in the spotlight 
Preschool for all in Seattle: Mayor's big plan starts small

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray believes that making preschool free or at least affordable for all families in Seattle would be his most important work in office.  

 

He recently proposed placing a four-year, $58 million property-tax levy on the November ballot that would focus first on boosting the quality of existing programs, then on ramping up enrollment. The "demonstration phase" would fund preschool for 2,000 children in 100 classrooms by 2018, according to the plan he submitted to the City Council.  

 

"Giving all of our children a fair and equal chance to thrive in school, to live productive and prosperous lives is, again, the most important thing that I will ever do as mayor," Murray said at a news conference.


 Read the full story on The Seattle Times.
Commencement address for the preschool class of 2014
Graduation season just wouldn't be complete without a commencement address for our favorite little learners. Even the most serious preschool advocates will get a laugh out of Cathy Lew's tongue in cheek "commencement speech" to the Excelsior Preschool for the Gifted and Talented graduating class.

"I'm honored to be your commencement speaker today," Lew writes. "Your teacher wanted me to read excerpts from "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" But I'm not going to do that--you're not babies anymore. If you're sitting here today, it's because your mountains aren't waiting for you--you've already been moving them."
Early Education News Briefs

When teachers are depressed, preschoolers may 'act out' more
Senate committee passes federal Strong Start for Children Act
California state preschool enrollment dropped in 2012-13
A teacher's state of mind may be key to preschoolers' behavior, a new study finds.

Researchers found that the students of teachers battling depression acted out more than preschoolers taught by other teachers. The study points to the importance of the mental health of teachers, the investigators said. Depression in teachers was associated with children's behavioral problems such as aggression, anger, lack of control, depression, anxiety, sadness and withdrawal.

 

Read the full story on U.S. News & World Report.

The federal Strong Start for Children Act, which would provide states with large grants to create or expand publicly funded preschool for 4-year-olds, passed along party lines in the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in May. Introduced last year, the bill also contains funding to expand care for infants and toddlers from low-income families. The legislation so far has gotten no traction in the House. 

 

   

Read the full story on EdSource Today. 

California's state funded preschool program enrolled about 15,000 fewer children in 2012-13 than it had the year before, according to the State Preschool Yearbook by the National Institute for Early Education Research. Steven Barnett, the institute's director, called California one of the country's "biggest losers" because of its declining enrollment and resulting decline in spending on early childhood programs.

 

 

 

Read the full story on EdSource Today.

Sneak Peek
Each month we share a photo to give you a sneak peek into upcoming EdSource Today reports. Last month we shared a photo of a mother and daughter enrolled in a home visiting program. That story did not run in time to include in this newsletter, but it will be in the next one!

And here's your second sneak peek for June: Common Core math is done in Spanish in this second grade classroom at a bilingual immersion program in Glendale. Pending legislation (SB 1174) could make public school programs like this one far easier to start.
 
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