July 4th Reading: WA Parents Support Their Kids, Pre-K Progress & the Achievement Gap

Parent engagement is vital to a child’s early development, and Washington parents are doing a relatively good job, with a majority of moms and dads reading and singing to their kids, a new report says.


In our state, roughly two-thirds of parents (67 percent) with kids age 5 and younger tell stories and sing every day; 58 percent read to their children. These are higher than the national averages of 59 percent and 48 percent respectively, according to Zero to Three’s latest State Baby Facts.


Since a parent is a child’s first and most important teacher, this type of engagement supports key aspects of a child’s development, and sets the stage for families to engage teachers and schools throughout their child’s education, an important factor in long-term success.


Washington has a range of programs that support parent engagement, including Thrive Washington’s Love. Talk. Play. campaign, which helps give parents and caregivers the knowledge, confidence and skills they need to be their child’s first and most important teachers.


Progress on Pre-K, but Plenty of Work Left: Across the country, states are focused on pre-kindergarten, improving its quality and expanding access to classrooms. New America explains what’s happening in two states, Texas and Minnesota, which highlight challenges and potential of the work.


While students around the country are enjoying summer vacation, legislators in numerous states are still working to determine how education funding and access might be different come fall. Increasingly, policymakers at all levels are acknowledging the important role that early education, including high-quality pre-K, can play in strengthening student outcomes and closing achievement gaps. – “Recent Developments in State Pre-K: A Look at Minnesota and Texas.” EdCentral, 7/25/15.


What’s Behind the Early Achievement Gap? Social and economic class are main drivers of the achievement gap that begins before children start school, a new report from the Economic Policy Institute found.


In fact, socioeconomic status is the single largest factor influencing children’s school readiness, according to Inequalities at the Starting Gate: Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills Gaps between 2010–2011 Kindergarten Classmates. In the report, EPI economist Emma García uses national data from a group of students who entered kindergarten in 2010 to show the link between children’s school readiness and children’s race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. — Media summary, Economic Policy Institute, 6/17/15.


The report is a bit dense, but it digs into the data and makes recommendations on how to close the gap. Check it out.