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April 22, 2019
Chicago will start taking universal pre-K applications on April 30
Even as universal pre-K expands the number of free seats, Chicago families still encounter a complex menu of options depending on where they live.
March 22, 2019
Big day for preschool: Illinois governor says state universal pre-K coming in 4 years; Chicago invests $77 million in early learning
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he expects Illinois would have universal preschool for 4-year-olds in 4 years. Next year, Chicago will add more than 100 pre-kindergarten classes
January 16, 2019
State school board asks new Illinois governor to quintuple early childhood spending
The state board of education is putting Illinois’ new governor to the test with a $2.4 billion-plus request to fund a universal preschool system for 3- and 4-year-olds.
August 2, 2018
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is on a high-speed timeline for his universal pre-K rollout
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has clearly articulated his vision for a free, universal prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds in Chicago, staging events throughout the…
(Very) early education
May 16, 2017
With a major but little-noticed move, New York City signals that learning starts at birth
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans last month to extend pre-K to 3-year-olds, a massive expansion of his popular Pre-K for All program. But…
February 1, 2017
Denver’s citywide effort to help poor children read better — explained
Lisa Roy recently became Denver Public Schools’ executive director of early education. We sat down with her to talk about a new effort called the Birth to Eight Roadmap.
August 22, 2016
Tennessee preschool selected as national model for fixing racial discipline gap
A Nashville preschool is one of two schools nationwide selected for $1 million grants, the U.S. Department of Education announced last week.
October 15, 2015
McQueen prioritizes literacy, early learning, teacher prep in five-year strategic plan
Tennessee's education chief announces a strategic plan to elevate Tennessee academically from one of the nation's lowest performing states to the top half in five years.
September 28, 2015
Landmark Tennessee study contradicts conventional wisdom about the power of pre-K
Although a Vanderbilt study suggests that Tennessee's pre-kindergarten program may negatively impact students by third grade, researchers caution against scrapping it.
September 4, 2014
Tennessee’s largest districts expand focus on pre-K despite Haslam’s hesitancy
Both of Tennessee's largest school districts, in Nashville and Memphis, are pushing not only to expand pre-K, but to make it more effective by increasing standards in Memphis and creating model centers in Nashville.
February 13, 2014
Rise & Shine: Former state board member takes over for scandal-plagued superintendent
May 4, 2012
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.
December 16, 2011
New York not among Race to the Top early-learning winners
When the Obama administration announces winners of the second Race to the Top competition later today, New York will not be on the list. That's according to the Associated Press, which reports that nine states are sharing the $500 million in funding for early childhood programs. Those states are California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington, a source at the U.S. Department of Education told the AP. Being shut out means New York will not get federal funding to build a "kindergarten readiness measurement tool" — or a test that all children would take when they enter school. The state had been eligible to receive as much as $100 million. The nine winners are culled from 35 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, that applied for the federal funds this fall.
August 18, 2011
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.
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