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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: pre-K

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October 15, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Your voices: Readers’ opinions, concerns on expanded pre-K

As part of our three-part series on early learning, Education Lab recently asked readers to share their thoughts on the idea of expanded pre-K and whether a city-sponsored program would meet the needs of their families.

We received dozens of thoughtful responses to our call out. What follows is the two questions that appeared on the questionnaire, and a selection of reader answers. Some responses have been edited for length or clarity.

Q: Do you agree preschool should be a universal offering, available to all families regardless of income? Why or why not?

Yes, as long as it is actually universal. I do not believe in the middle class subsidizing the poor while still having to pay full or marginally reduced price for my own children. I have 3-year-old twins, and this is of great interest and importance to me. I will most likely vote against the subsidized pre-K initiative.

 Scott Jeffries, Seattle

No. I think we should spend our taxpayer money on boosting the quality of our elementary through high-school education instead. We need smaller classrooms and more individual help for students who need it  too many are falling through the cracks. We should still keep Head Start for the under-privileged.

 Lisa Stultz, Anacortes

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September 25, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Pre-K researcher offers answer to ‘Show me the money’

When debating bang-for-the-buck in early childhood education, most people focus on academic results. That is, improving the ability of kids to absorb what their teachers want them to learn. But the real prize is life outcomes, and on this, convincing evidence is harder to find.

As reported in the Times, a handful of preschool programs  in Michigan, North Carolina and Illinois — have tracked children through adulthood and found encouraging long-term benefits, particularly around decreased criminal involvement when students grow up. But those studies are decades old.

In 2011, however, researcher William Gormley published a paper projecting the future earnings of 4-year-olds in Tulsa, Okla., preschools and forecast that each would make an extra $27,179 to $30,148 over the course of their working lives. (Defined here as the time between age 22 and 66.)

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September 22, 2014 at 7:53 AM

Round-up: Our three-part series on early learning

Kennedy Daniels, left, and Stevie Jones, enrolled in the 3-year-old class at Tulsa Educare, build their burritos during lunchtime. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

Kennedy Daniels, left, and Stevie Jones, enrolled in the 3-year-old class at Tulsa Educare, build their burritos during lunchtime. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

Boosting the quality of preschool in Seattle could help children, and the city as a whole. A number of studies, including one from the ’60s, establish that potential. But there is no guarantee of success.

On Sunday and Monday, Education Lab published a series of three stories examining the merits and potential pitfalls of expanding subsidized pre-K in Seattle.

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September 20, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Tell us: Do you support universal pre-K? Would you sign up?

Juan Martinez, left, and Katherine Gaytan, enrolled in Community Action Project's Disney School, play with magnetic building pieces in Tulsa, Okla. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

Juan Martinez, left, and Katherine Gaytan, enrolled in Community Action Project’s Disney School, play with magnetic building pieces in Tulsa, Okla. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

This fall, Seattle voters will consider two ballot measures that seek to improve early education programs in the city, and make them affordable to all families.

One measure sponsored by the mayor and city council would focus on 3- and 4-year-olds, and include free tuition for families who earn less than 300 percent of federal poverty level. A competing plan, backed by two child-care unions, would cover children from infancy through age 5.

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September 20, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Chat replay: What does ‘high-quality’ preschool look like?

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The proposals to expand and improve early education in Seattle raise many questions about what effective preschool looks like. And what does “high quality” mean, anyway?

The Education Lab team hosted a Google+ hangout on all things early education this on Sept. 23. The discussion was facilitated by reporter John Higgins.

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September 18, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Coming Sunday: The promise and pitfalls of universal preschool

Starting Sunday, Education Lab presents a three-part series on early education. The stories will dive into the latest research on the benefits of preschool and offer an in-depth look at pre-K programs in Tulsa, Okla.  one of the few places in the country that provides universal preschool.

Look for the stories in print and online this coming Sunday and Monday. In the meantime, here is a video highlighting Tulsa’s approach to pre-K.

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July 29, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Preschool for all kids? Business leaders get campaign preview

Anh Tuan Ta, 4, second from right, and Jimwel Pelaez, 3, far right, lay out plans before they construct their "spiky space needle" during an open-ended activity session at the Denise Louie Education Center in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle. Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times.

Children participate in an open-ended activity session at the Denise Louie Education Center in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle. Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times.

In a preview of what’s to come this fall, three high-level speakers debated Seattle’s proposal to pay for universal preschool in front of a roomful of business leaders.

Voters will weigh in Nov. 4 on whether to fund a four-year pilot providing high-quality pre-K education to 2,000 4-year-olds. Total cost: $58 million, to be paid through property-tax increases.

The effort would align Seattle with numerous cities and states funding early-learning initiatives, from San Francisco to Florida. All are responding to compelling evidence about the benefits of preschool for young children. But many are also wrestling with significant questions about the staying power of those gains.

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May 28, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Hot topics on Thursday’s agenda: pre-K education, school funding

Two events on Thursday will focus on big issues for public education:

At 5:30 p.m., a Seattle City Council committee will hold a public hearing on a proposal to phase in a universal pre-K program in the city. The council is considering asking Seattle voters to pay for a voluntary pre-K program that would be available for all residents on a sliding fee scale, based on their income.

Public comment sign-up sheets will be available at 5 p.m., with each speaker  allotted up to two minutes.  The hearing will be held at the Jefferson Community Center gym at 3801 Beacon Ave. S.

At 7 p.m., groups led by the Washington State Budget & Policy Center are sponsoring a conversation about the landmark McCleary school funding case, in which the State Supreme Court ruled that legislators are failing their constitutional duty to fund a basic education for all the state’s children.

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