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House Education Committee Discusses Early Childhood Education
posted by: Tim | February 08, 2014, 12:17 AM   

The Committee itself has jurisdiction over seven of these programs, which received $11.4 billion in federal funding in fiscal year 2012. Additionally, 40 states have developed and/or implemented their own early childhood systems. Committee members made it clear that greater accountability, oversight, and in some cases overhaul, is needed with many existing programs.

Panelist and Director for Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues at GAO, Ms. Kay E. Brown , referenced the difficulties in monitoring early childhood education programs. Insuring programs aren’t duplicative, as well as difficulties in mitigating the likelihood of gaps in services for children are top priorities. She recommended a more strategic use of funds, renewed focus on coordination, and evaluation to ensure programs are more effectively serving children and taxpayers.

Dr. Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst, senior fellow & director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution asserted that Americans are not getting results for the money on federal head start programs. He cited the impact not lasting past kindergarten, and argued that the positive effects of early childhood learning programs are relegated to a minority of children. Additionally, he expressed concern that pre-k is seen as a magic bullet, and not examined carefully.

According to the 2014 AAE Member Survey, teachers are also split on the merits of universal pre-K. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed support universal pre-k programs, while 48% believe the program benefits are not worth the cost.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Chairman Kline said, “No one denies the importance of early childhood education and care. But we simply do not have unlimited resources, so we must focus on ensuring our existing federal investments are getting maximum results.” He continued, “As the committee continues to discuss the early childhood programs in its jurisdiction, such as Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant, we will focus on exploring opportunities to strengthen the programs through enhanced coordination and transparency, while also taking steps to ensure the programs prioritize serving children and families most in need.”

Click here
to watch the full hearing.

What do you think of effectiveness of pre-k programs in your state?
Comment below.

>>> Originally posted to the AAE Blog

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