Lawmakers Are Listening: Our Legislative Recap
As the first half of the state legislature came to a close this week, one thing was clear: They heard us loud and clear. Universal pre-K is gaining support in Legislative Hall and the community. It is no longer a matter of "if," but "when" and "how,” which is progress to celebrate. Many lawmakers indicated their support for universal pre-K, including those who introduced Senate Bill 173 this session—a bill that will create a Universal Pre-K Consortium to ultimately recommend a comprehensive plan for the implementation of a mixed-delivery, non-compulsory public pre-kindergarten program for all Delaware four-year-olds. The bill passed through the Senate and is ready for action with the House of Representatives. We look forward to working with legislators again when session resumes in January.Read more.
Early childhood education is the smartest investment we can make in Delaware kids
By Stuart Comstock-Gay, president and CEO of the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF), and Lynn Adams Kokjohn, chair of the Fund for Women at the DCF.
How can we really expand opportunity for kids in Delaware? Plain and simple, invest in high-quality early childhood education, said Robert Putnam, author of New York Times bestseller “Our Kids.” Putnam has investigated decades of data on the factors that influence kids’ lives, in school and throughout their future. When Putnam visited Delaware this fall for a Delaware Community Foundation event, his presentation made clear that early learning is one of the best – and highest yielding – investments a society can make. Experts equate a $4 to $9 return for every dollar spent on high-quality early learning programs for low-income children. Read more.
Delaware still lags behind in state-supported pre-K
By Madeleine Bayard, chairwoman of the Delaware Early Childhood Council. She leads the Rodel Foundation’s policy, programmatic, government affairs, and communications initiatives.
According to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), Delaware ranks 35th among states for pre-K enrollment, with only seven percent (845) of 4-year olds enrolled in state-sponsored pre-K. Despite Delaware’s laudable progress in early childhood education, the fact remains that we’re below most other states when it comes to state-sponsored pre-K. Why is that figure important? As we’ve noted before, as we continue to align the pre-K and K-12 systems, we need to ensure as many kids as possible are coming to kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed. Right now, Delaware pre-K offerings are scattershot: Some providers are funded through the state, some are private businesses, while others receive a mix of private and public funding. There is little coordination or alignment between various programs. Read more.
Reversing a poor pre-K showing
By Dan Linehan, Special to Delaware Business Times
No two states fund K-12 education the same, but there are even bigger differences when it comes to support for preschool. Three states plus the District of Columbia have universal pre-K and six more pay for preschool the same way they pay for grade school. In recent state rankings of pre-K enrollment, Delaware landed at 36th place with fewer than 10 percent of its 4-year-olds enrolled in state-sponsored preschool. The words “scattershot” and “hodgepodge” are often used to describe the state’s pre-K system, as some districts offer services but they’re not available to most kids. Read more.