early learning

universal pre-k

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universal pre-k

(Very) early education

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Littlest learners

Unified Vision

Achievement Gap

Pre-K

New York

City's early childhood overhaul moves forward, draws criticism

An overhaul of the city's child-care offerings that has concerned providers and advocates for nearly a year took a major step forward today, when the city announced which centers would receive new contracts for next year. The city awarded contracts to 149 child-care providers on the basis of quality and experience. But providers that together currently offer more than 6,500 spots did not get contracts. On top of the proposed cuts to after school programs included in Mayor Bloomberg's budget proposal, more than 14,000 city children could go without care next year. The overhaul, called EarlyLearn, is meant to improve the quality of city-funded programs and allocate seats more efficiently across neighborhoods. Last fall, providers had to reapply for contracts with the city — and the requirements were steep. Here's what we wrote about the reauthorization process last summer: The new standards are steep: Programs must show how they provide support to parents, create a challenging curriculum that prepares students for kindergarten and instruct children in health and safety. They need to find more time for staff development, guarantee service for children with special needs and be assessed annually according to a new grading program. Children will need to be screened for health, social and hygienic needs and assessed for academic gains. Some programs will have to expand their hours of operation. And for the first time, centers will need to pay for a portion of this themselves. Resistance to the overhaul has grown as its implications have grown clearer.
New York

Council members ask Bloomberg to delay child care overhaul

The vast majority of City Council members are sounding the alarm over the city's plans for overhauling its child care system. We wrote about the initiative, called Early Learn, last month. Reporter Chris Arp found that child care center directors and advocates were deeply concerned about being able to prove by the Sept. 12 deadline that they would be able to meet steep new standards — and foot more of the bill themselves. “It’s going to put us all out of business,” Larry Provett, the director of a Williamsburg child care center, told Arp. “All programs are at risk, very much so.” Now 42 of the City Council's 51 members have signed on to a letter to Mayor Bloomberg asking him to delay Early Learn's rollout. They say they are concerned that Early Learn, as it is currently constituted, would shrink the city's child care system, eliminate jobs, and disproportionately burden some centers that serve poor students. The funding structure would make it harder for centers located in some housing projects to receive funding, Arp reported in a second article about Early Learn. Earlier this summer, the city restored funding to several child care centers on the brink of closure, a move that the council members praised in a press release about their letter to the mayor. "Quite frankly, it is disheartening that only two months later, we’re once again being faced with a series of devastating cuts to child care, this time nicely packaged in an [Request for Proposals] meant to strengthen the very system it would gut,” said City Councilwoman Annabel Palma, chair of the council's general welfare committee, in the press release.