January 10, 2002

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Vol. 21, Issue 17
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State interest in early learning is growing, but large gaps in access and quality remain.
Children’s experiences before kindergarten can help build a solid foundation for future learning.
Wherever children live in the United States, and whatever their families' incomes, public schools are available free of charge. The same is not true of early-childhood education.
More than a decade has passed since Ohio bolstered its involvement in Head Start by adding $4 million in state money to the federal dollars spent on the comprehensive preschool program for poor children.
When Rhode Island set out to improve the way it supports its neediest children, state policymakers decided not to reinvent the wheel.
Today in Sweden, the concept of combining learning and care for even young children is a given. With generous leave benefits for new parents and a nationwide system of government-supported child-care centers, Sweden is widely praised for its attention to the needs of its youngest citizens.
Although Americans continue to debate whether very young children should receive care and education outside the home, the reality is that most already are being cared for by people other than their parents for at least part of the day.
States are adding program standards that go beyond health and safety to focus on academic knowledge.
Once derided as the "ghetto" of child care, the system of early-childhood centers serving all branches of the U.S. military has become a national model after more than a decade of intensive reforms and unprecedented resources.
Riverway Early Learning Center in Lawrence, Mass., exemplifies the state's approach to providing high-quality care for its youngest children by encouraging collaboration at the local level.
What should children be expected to know and to learn before they arrive at school? Despite an increasing body of research suggesting that children's early experiences are important to their ability to succeed in school, the debate persists about just what adults should expect from very young children and when.
Young children develop in many different ways. But leaps in one area--a slew of new vocabulary words, perhaps--are often followed by frustratingly slow steps in others, such as shyness around new children or a refusal to be toilet trained.
Low pay, minimal training requirement, and high turnover characterize those who care for preschoolers.
Early-childhood experts in North Carolina were near desperation when they hitched their hopes to a tiny pilot project aimed at improving the training of child-care workers.
As a nation, the United States pays about as much to people who watch its cars as to those who take care of its children, according to the latest wage figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As interest in early-childhood education grows, states struggle to build upon a patchwork funding system.
While more states are offering full-day kindergarten, and some go so far as to make attendance compulsory, others don't require districts to offer the earliest grade at all.
New Jersey's expansive preschool program for needy children, which is the result of a school finance lawsuit, is changing the state's education landscape and may be a harbinger of things to come in other states where school aid is being litigated.
There’s a growing demand to assess the results of early-childhood programs, but what’s appropriate?
In the realm of early-childhood education, no program has more stringent accountability demands than Head Start.
Every fall, every kindergartner in Michigan sits down with his or her teacher to read a book. The child might not recognize the event as a test. But the teacher is trained to look for clues to the child's emerging literacy skills. Does he hold the book right-side up? Can he identify the front and back covers? Does he recognize letters and words that rhyme?
Data on state early-childhood policies and programs have large gaps.
States continued to forge ahead on a standards-based agenda in 2001.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CME Group Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations. Additional grants in support of Editorial Projects in Education’s data journalism and video capacity come from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. (Updated 1/1/2017)

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