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Starting out right: pre-k and kindergarten: full report

February 1, 2012 Comments off

Starting out right: pre-k and kindergarten: full report
Source: Center for Public Education

What’s the best early childhood education combination communities can provide? Until now, research hasn’t had an answer. Although there is a wealth of research on pre-k and on kindergarten, they have been examined mainly in isolation. That research has shown that both high-quality pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten can have significant, often lasting, benefits for children. Therefore, students would benefit most from attending high-quality prekindergarten, and then going on to full-day kindergarten. However, these particular programs are not necessarily required or paid for by many states. Cash-strapped states and districts around the country are being forced to choose how to best spend their dollars, including allocations to publicly-funded pre-k and kindergarten that are both best for students and feasible within current budgets.

Prior to the economic downturn, state investments in early education were growing substantially, driven by research showing its powerful positive impact. That momentum has stopped with the recession, and school leaders are looking for ways to preserve their pre-k and kindergarten services. Around the country, school boards have been asking us:

Are our students better off with a combination of pre-k and half-day kindergarten?
or
Are our students better off with full-day kindergarten alone?

This report looks at the effect of various combinations of pre-k and kindergarten on third grade reading skills — a key predictor of future academic success — in order to provide important information to educators and policymakers as they consider how to get the most out of their early childhood programs.

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Back to school: How parent involvement affects student achievement (At a glance)

September 2, 2011 Comments off

Back to school: How parent involvement affects student achievement (At a glance)
Source: Center for Public Education

It may be one of the least controversial statements in American education: Parent involvement can make a difference in a child’s education. The conflict can come, though, on how to define that involvement. Do all the PTA meetings, take-home flyers and Back to School nights actually generate increases in student achievement? The Center for Public Education examined the research and found that creating a partnership between parents and schools focused on academics truly does have significant impact on student achievement.

The six types of parent involvement

Joyce Epstein of the Johns Hopkins University, Center on School, Family and Community Partnerships, one of the nation’s leading experts on parent involvement, divided school parent involvement programs into six broad categories:

  • Parenting, in which schools help families with their parenting skills by providing information on children’s developmental stages and offering advice on learning-friendly home environments;
  • Communicating, or working to educate families about their child’s progress and school services and providing opportunities for parents to communicate with the school;
  • Volunteering, which ranges from offering opportunities for parents to visit their child’s school to finding ways to recruit and train them to work in the school or classroom;
  • Learning at home, in which schools and educators share ideas to promote at-home learning through high expectations and strategies so parents can monitor and help with homework.
  • Decision-making, in which schools include families as partners in school organizations, advisory panels, and similar committees.
  • Community collaboration, a two-way outreach strategy in which community or business groups are involved in education and schools encourage family participation in the community.
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