Summer Learning, Budgets, PreK and More!
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Children Don’t Come Preassembled

Kate Gallagher, a scientist with FPG Child Development Institute at UNC, gives an amazing TED Talk about the groundbreaking Abecedarian Study, what children need for optimal development and how investments in high quality early childhood programs benefits every one of us. It’s a must watch video.

Inside this issue . . .

Choice Matters! Maintaining Achievement Over the Summer

When children from low-income families selected 15 appropriate-level books for summer reading their reading scores significantly improved when they returned to school in the fall. The research, by the University of Rochester, replicated results found by previous studies.
Wake County’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, WAKE Up and Read, has embraced this evidence-based strategy. During the 2014-15 school year, the initiative collected over 115,000 books.  Children in nine high-needs elementary schools and 19 surrounding child care centers will select 10 books before summer break.
Allowing young children to choose books for summer reading is an evidence-based approach to combat what is commonly known as “summer slide.” Research shows that students lose academic ground during the summer – an average of one month behind where they ended the previous school year. The problem is more pronounced for children from low-income families. (1)
WAKE Up and Read was recognized as a 2014 Pacesetter by the National Campaign for their work. The effort is convened by the Wake County Public Schools with a coalition that includes:
  • Bonnie’s Book Foundation
  • Books Are Magic
  • El Pueblo
  • Flood Group
  • Great Schools in Wake
  • Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
  • HELPS Foundation
  • Marbles Kids Museum
  • MetaMetrics
  • North Carolina State University
  • Motheread
  • Reach Out and Read
  • Read and Feed
  • SAS
  • United Way of the Greater Triangle
  • Univision 40 and Teletutura 40.2
  • Communities in Schools
  • Wake County Libraries
  • Wake County PTA
  • Wake County SmartStart
  • Wake Education Partnership
  • Women’s Club of Raleigh
  • YMCA of the Triangle
 Learn more about summer learning loss. 

1. Sloan McCombs, Jennifer, Catherine H. Augustine, Heather L. Schwartz, Susan J. Bodilly, Brian McInnis, Dahlia S. Lichter, and Amanda Brown Cross. Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning. Rep. Santa Monica: Rand Corporation, 2011. Print.

NC House Finalizing Budget

The House Health and Human Services (HHS) Appropriation Committee plans to introduce its budget on May 14th with the goal of having the budget passed by the House by May 21st.
Funding for Smart Start, the Child Care Subsidy Program and NC Pre-K is included in the HHS budget. Together, these three programs form the infrastructure to deliver evidence-based programs in all 100 North Carolina counties, ensure that children living in low-income working families have access to high quality child care programs and provide at-risk four-year-olds with the opportunity to start school on an even playing field with their higher income peers.
These initiatives are funded through a combination of state general funds, state lottery funds and federal funds. Over the past several years – under both Democrats and Republicans – the state’s approach to funding these initiatives has undergone significant change. Three trends have emerged:
  • After several years of decreasing total (state and federal) dollars, the rate of decline for the Child Care Subsidy Program and Smart Start has slowed and funding for NC-PreK has increased over the past three years.
  • State funding has not returned to its pre-recession levels.
  • As state investment has decreased, North Carolina has increased its reliance on federal funding.
There is broad voter support for early childhood programs. A bipartisan poll found that North Carolina voters view early childhood education as a critical issue in the state. Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents support investments in early childhood programs in the state – including expanding access to Smart Start, Pre-K, teacher training and home visiting programs. 

Read our report on Early Childhood Funding Trends in NC.

National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Names NC Early Childhood Foundation Lead Organization

As the state lead, NCECF will support North Carolina’s existing local campaigns to improve third- grade reading outcomes and work with new communities to join the effort.  It also will convene state leaders to develop a coordinated strategy based on research, data and identified best practices to define, fund and implement policies to ensure that North Carolina’s children are reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
“We are grateful that NCECF is stepping up to provide leadership and support for the Campaign in North Carolina,” said Ron Fairchild, Director of the Network Communities Support Center for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.  “NCECF will play a pivotal role in helping ensure that more low-income children in North Carolina read proficiently by the end of third grade.”
Read more.

NC Pre-K One of Six State Programs in Nation to Meet All NIEER Quality Benchmarks

North Carolina’s NC Pre-K is once again rated among the highest in the nation. It is one of only six state programs to meet all 10 NIEER quality preschool benchmarks, according to the State of Preschool 2014 report released yesterday.
Other North Carolina highlights:
  • NC ranks 24th in the percentage of four-year-olds enrolled (21.2%). The District of Columbia (98.6%) leads the nation, followed by Vermont (90.6%) and Florida (79.5%).
  • State spending per child rose by $166 in 2013-2014, and the state now ranks 14th nationally on this measure. The District of Columbia leads the nation followed by New Jersey.
Read more.
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