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A monthly dissemination of research and policy updates about developments in the Pre-K–3 field

March 2015artwork-4

New from ECS

A look at governors' State of the State addresses
Governors in 37 states had presented State of the State addresses when ECS released this Education Trends paper in February. Safe, well-funded early childhood education was a big theme. Eleven governors talked about developing or expanding early learning which is at the center of state strategies to reduce the achievement gap and ensure long-term student success.

What's Happening in the States

Promise Community
Modeled on Harlem’s Children Zone and the federal Promise Neighborhood program, Vermont launched its own statewide initiative to improve outcomes for children and families in rural communities. Winning communities will develop an action plan in the first year, then get $200,000 grants to put those plans into action the second year.

Preschool suspensions
The Washington D.C. Committee on Education unanimously passed the "Pre-K Student Discipline Amendment Act of 2015" this week, which puts the brakes on preschool suspension and expulsion. Committee Chair David Grosso pointed out members were well aware that investments in early childhood paid dividends in closing and preventing achievement gaps, but children can’t benefit if they aren’t there. In November 2014, ECS released a brief on third-grade reading policies which sites state retention policies.

School immunization rates
Colorado passed a bill which took effect last July requiring that schools report immunization and exemption rates. In light of measles outbreaks, Chalkbeat compiled a list so parents could do a search on their child’s school and find out what those rates are. The threshold epidemiologists believe is necessary to prevent rapid spread of measles is 92 percent.

Good Reads

Federal budget proposal
Released last month, President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal 2015 was designed to help the middle class, and as such expands access to quality childcare, cuts taxes for families paying for it, increases the duration of Head Start, supports universal preschool and extends home visitation. Though the payoff in early childhood is widely acknowledged, the proposal points out that the last time sequestration took full effect in 2013, more than 57,000 children lost access to Head Start and Early Head Start, with enrollment falling to the lowest level since 2001.

Preschool saves the cost of special education
A Duke University study of two preschool initiatives in North Carolina found high-quality early childhood education can reduce the number of children diagnosed with learning disabilities by the end of the third grade. The study followed 871,000 preschoolers who were born between 1988 and 2000 and were enrolled in third grade between 1995 and 2010.

Preschool witnesses to violence
Though few preschools have mental health professionals on staff, the percentage of infants and children who have either witnessed violence or been victims themselves is alarming. This report calls for early intervention, which, like everything else in early childhood, saves money down the road in special ed, expulsion and corrections.

How federal home visiting funds support families
Soon to be reauthorized (or not), the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECV) program has helped expand home visitation for high-risk families in cities, hard-to-reach rural areas and tribes. Home visitation addresses such issues as maternal and newborn health, child injuries and abuse, neglect or maltreatment, school readiness and domestic violence.  Authors of this brief assert that MIECV funding levels must be kept current to ensure that grantees can maintain and increase service.

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