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Program — Early Learning Sessions

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

2:00 PM -- 3:30 PM


Standards, Assessments and School Readiness: Who's Measuring? Who's Tested? And Who Cares?
Plaza B
Standards detailing what young children should know and be able to do have become a hot topic. Many states not only are developing early learning standards but also assessments that document children's readiness for school. At the same time, educators and policymakers are concerned that high-stakes accountability, often associated with standards and assessment, is being "pushed down" onto our youngest children. This session will discuss the nature of this controversy and look at state efforts to develop early learning standards and school readiness indicators. Participants will leave with an understanding of the important role of, and promising practices in, standards and assessment in early childhood education.


4:00 PM -- 5:00 PM


Roundtable 12 -- NCLB's Impact on Early Learning
Many policymakers are struggling with the effects of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on K-12 schools, but few have asked what implications the legislation has for early learning (pre-K and kindergarten). This roundtable will discuss the adequate yearly progress, highly qualified teachers and literacy provisions of NCLB and how they impact programs and policies for young children. The roundtable will discuss what, if any, specific mandates the law holds for early learning and how state policymakers are leveraging NCLB to strengthen and move early learning agendas forward. Join ECS Distinguished Senior Fellow, Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan, and ECS' program director for early learning, Kristie Kauerz, to discuss NCLB's implications -- both challenges and opportunities -- for early learning policy.

Facilitators: Sharon Lynn Kagan, ECS Distinguished Senior Fellow and Kristie Kauerz, Education Commission of the States


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Thursday, July 15, 2004

10:15 AM -- 11:45 AM


Full-day Kindergarten: A Key Strategy for Closing the Achievement Gap
Plaza B
A growing body of research indicates that as children enter kindergarten, a profound achievement gap exists between poor children and their middle- and upper-class counterparts. To address these inequities, more states are focusing on the importance of full-day kindergarten as a means of raising student achievement. This session will highlight how full-day kindergarten helps to close the achievement gap and will provide state-based strategies for implementing full-day kindergarten. Participants will leave with an understanding of the reforms needed to strengthen kindergarten and with an overview of how some states and districts are tackling the challenge.




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