21c News: Early Childhood Issues
This report from the Southern Education Foundation summarizes documentation that high-quality preschool programs help children develop the skills (intellectual, social, and practical) that lead to later success in life, both at school and work. Research that supports the importance of preK to future economic and educational success is presented. The report also indicates the need to expand preK in Arkansas to be more inclusive and universally available and presents the associated challenges in reaching this goal. This report acknowledges the AR21C Network, which ‘has joined schools together across the state to promote coordinated planning, evaluation and implementation of innovative methods of teaching and learning.’
This report can be downloaded at: http://www.southerneducation.org
National Recognition of Arkansas Early Childhood Quality: NIEER
For the past three years, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has published a report entitled The State of Preschool . These annual State Preschool Yearbooks describe state-funded prekindergarten programs from 2001 through 2005. School data, collected from an intensive survey of the states, is presented on three key characteristics of prekindergarten programs: access, quality standards, and resources.
Each year, Arkansas has received the highest score given to any program in the country in the quality assessment. In addition, rankings for access and resources have made steady improvement. In 2003, Arkansas was rated 12 th in the country for three-year old access and 24 th for four year olds. In 2005, this rose to 5 th and 18 th, respectively. For funding, Arkansas was rated 30 th in 2003 and 8 th by 2005 – a marked increase, especially considering that per capita income in Arkansas is 49 th in our country.
The most recent report is available on-line at: http://nieer.org/yearbook/pdf/yearbook.pdf
Ladders of Learning: Fighting Fade-Out by Advancing PK-3 Alignment
An issue brief published by the New America Foundation Education Policy Program, and funded through the Foundation for Child Development, presents information that suggests that fade-out can be reduced and academic achievement improved by aligning standards, curriculum and assessment from preK through 3rd grade. The brief discusses three types of alignment: horizontal, vertical and temporal and the need for federal funding to support this effort. The report can be downloaded at: http://www.ffcd.org/
Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education
The Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education has information available on-line for many of their programs. Check out their services at: http://www.state.ar.us/childcare/DCCECE_serv.html
The Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education has produced a Kindergarten Readiness Calendar , with family activities for each month. Free copies may be obtained at: http://www.state.ar.us/childcare/kindcal.html
The Arkansas School Readiness Committee has identified indicators to help get a child’s educational experiences off to a good start. This Kindergarten Readiness Checklist can be found at:http://arkedu.state.ar.us
Arkansas ’ energy company, Entergy, has put together a well-researched report entitled The Economics of Education: Public Benefits of High Quality Preschool Education for Low-Income Children. It can be downloaded at: http://www.state.ar.us/childcare