Early Childhood

Quality Counts Finds Uneven Early-Childhood Policies

By Lynn Olson — January 09, 2002 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

While 39 states and the District of Columbia together spend more than $1.9 billion a year on prekindergarten for at least some children, states’ efforts to finance and monitor the quality of early-childhood education vary greatly, an Education Week report to be released this week concludes.

Quality Counts 2002: Building Blocks for Success, the sixth annual edition of the newspaper’s 50-state report card on public education, focuses on state efforts in early-childhood education and care. The 169-page report, which was supported with a grant from the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, was scheduled for release Jan. 7 at a press conference in Washington.

Read the report, Quality Counts 2002: Building Blocks for Success. Includes an executive summary and an interactive data search.

The report examines what all 50 states and the District of Columbia are doing to provide early-learning experiences for young children; ensure that those experiences are of high quality; prepare and pay early-childhood educators adequately; and measure the results of early-childhood programs. In addition, the report examines states’ commitment to kindergarten.

The newspaper found that, at best, great unevenness exists in the quality of early-childhood settings—especially when the standards and expectations for prekindergarten and child-care providers are stacked up against those for kindergarten.

Teacher Qualifications

Although every state requires kindergarten teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree and a certificate in elementary or early-childhood education, for example, only 20 states and the District of Columbia require teachers in state-financed prekindergartens to meet similar requirements. In 30 states, teachers in child-care centers can begin work without having any preservice training.

“Studies show that the quality of early care and education that young children receive lays the groundwork for future academic success,” said Virginia B. Edwards, the editor of Quality Counts 2002 and Education Week. “States are getting that message and investing in early-learning experiences for their youngest residents.”

Still, she noted, states have a long way to go in ensuring that all families who want it have access to high-quality early care and education.

Quality Counts 2002 also includes Education Week‘s report cards on education in the 50 states and, for the first time, the District of Columbia. Among the findings of the state-by-state review: Only 16 states and the District of Columbia test all 3rd through 8th graders in English and mathematics annually. In only nine states are those tests based on state standards, as required by the newly revised federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The report provides updated information for most of the more than 80 indicators used to gauge the health of each state’s education system.

Education Week subscribers will receive their copies of the report, dated Jan. 10, by mail. The full report, with extra data, is also available on Education Week‘s Web site, at www.edweek.org/qc.

A version of this article appeared in the January 09, 2002 edition of Education Week as Quality Counts Finds Uneven Early-Childhood Policies

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
Special Education Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table - Special Education: Proven Interventions for Academic Success
Special education should be a launchpad, not a label. Join the conversation on how schools can better support ALL students.
Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special education.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Early Childhood Without New Money, Biden Admin. Urges States to Use Existing Funds to Expand Preschool
There's no new infusion of federal funds for preschool, so the Biden administration is pointing out funding sources that are already there.
4 min read
Close cropped photo of a young child putting silver coins in a pink piggy bank.
iStock/Getty
Early Childhood Preschool Studies Show Lagging Results. Why?
Researchers try to figure out why modern preschool programs are less effective than the landmark projects in the 1960s and 70s.
7 min read
Black female teacher and group of kids coloring during art class at preschool.
iStock / Getty Images Plus
Early Childhood What the Research Says A New Study Shows How Schools Can Maximize Full-Day Pre-K's Benefits
Researchers said principals played a key role in students' academic success through 3rd grade.
6 min read
Teacher Honi Allen, right, supervises as children test how far they can jump at the St. John's Preschool in American Falls, Idaho, on Sept. 28, 2023.
Teacher Honi Allen, right, supervises as children test how far they can jump at the St. John's Preschool in American Falls, Idaho, on Sept. 28, 2023.
Kyle Green/AP
Early Childhood What's Behind the Gaps in Early Intervention Services—And What It Means for K-12 Schools
The GAO says better data could help remove barriers to accessing early intervention services.
3 min read
Close crop of the back of a pre-school girl's head showing her playing with foam puzzle pieces of shapes and numbers.
iStock/Getty