Early education work is already off to a fast start in 2015, with a strong show of bipartisan support in Seattle, a new initiative for dual language learners, and a report on quality in early learning getting things rolling.
In Seattle, King County hosted an Early Learning Symposium that drew some of the nation’s leading voices, and they had plenty of good things to say about what’s happening around here.
— Thrive by Five WA (@ThrivebyFiveWA) January 7, 2015
A movement can’t become a cultural shift unless everyone’s a player. – Jackie Bezos closing the morning session at #kcearlylearning
— Bezos Family Fdn (@BezosFoundation) January 7, 2015
Across the country in the other Washington, the New America Foundation launched The Dual Language Learners National Work Group to focus on work to improve access, quality, and alignment in early education programs for DLLs, according to one of its leaders, Connor Williams, a senior researcher at New America’s Early Education Initiative. I will let Williams explain:
While the DLL National Work Group is officially housed at New America, we’ll be working with as many organizations and individuals as we can to improve the conversation around dual language learners.
And goodness knows that conversation is pretty shabby at the moment. Too often, DLLs’ needs are considered solely as afterthoughts in other education policy discussions.
Perhaps worse, when DLLs make it into public education discourse, they often get treated as a problem, as students who are difficult to educate. Here at the Work Group, we reject that as a concept and as a substantive claim. That is, we think that it’s the wrong way for educators and policymakers to approach any student, and furthermore, we think it’s flatly false as far as DLLs are concerned.
—“New America’s Dual Language Learners National Work Group Sets Up Shop.” EdCentral, 1/5/14.
Here at home, the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) will continue building on its deep foundation of research on how babies and toddlers learn.
“On the outreach side, we will launch more online training tools that help early learning educators and parents put child development research into practice. We already have a handful of these tools, which we call “outreach modules”, available on topics including imitation and emotional development,” Molly McElroy, head of communications at the University of Washington lab, wrote in an email.
And if you want to check out the state of quality in early learning around the country, read Education Week’s new Quality Counts report.
Quality early-childhood education has been on the top of the policy agenda around the country, and Education Week is using this year’s Quality Counts report — “Preparing to Launch: Early Childhood’s Academic Countdown” — to explore just how states are measuring up against each other, and to tell the stories behind the numbers.
—“Quality Counts Report Surveys Early-Learning Landscape.” Early Years, 1/8/15.
There is limited access to the stories, though you can register to read them. You can also read U.S. News & World Report’s take, “Most States Mediocre in Preschool Participation: Preschool enrollment is low nationwide, while racial and socioeconomic gaps persist.”
It could be a good year.