Helping Poor Communities
As part of its effort to improve the quality of preschool education programs, the U.S. Department of Education is releasing $14.6 million in grants to help improve the knowledge and skills of early- childhood educators in communities with high concentrations of low-income families.
Teachers at nine sites across the country will participate in professional-development activities intended to improve young children's literacy skills and to prevent reading and behavior problems.
The grants are part of the Bush administration's "Good Start, Grow Smart" initiative, which was highlighted last year when first lady Laura Bush held a White House summit on the learning and development of young children from birth through age 5.
"Too many young children begin their education without the critical skills they must have for later success," U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige said this month regarding the release of the grants. "Regrettably, many of these youngsters have not been exposed to extensive vocabulary sounds, letters, print concepts and books."
The recipients, which will receive awards ranging from $762,000 to $2.7 million, include universities and school districts located in areas where children are enrolled in programs such as Title I preschool, Head Start, and the Even Start family literacy program.
The nine recipients are San Diego State University; Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif.; Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; the Kansas City (Kan.) Public Schools; Mississippi State University; Bank Street College of Education in New York City; Western Oregon University in Monmouth; the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga; and Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas.
The Department of Education is holding four regional Early Childhood Educator Academies over the next few months to share research and practical ideas about early cognitive development with preschool teachers and child-care providers.
Planned in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Head Start and Child Care bureaus, the sessions, which were scheduled to begin last week in Los Angeles, will also be held in St. Louis and Miami in December, and Lowell, Mass., in April.
—Linda Jacobson [email protected]
Vol. 22, Issue 13, Page 6