White House allies produce preschool-for-all plan

The first part of the proposal would cost the government $84.2 billion over the first decade.

Days before President Barack Obama outlines his agenda for the coming year, a think tank with close ties to the White House is outlining a plan that would provide preschool for all children within five years.

The Center for American Progress proposal, released Thursday, provides a road map for how the Obama administration could move forward with pre-kindergarten programs for all 3- and 4-year-olds. For families with younger children, federal subsidies for child care would increase to an average $7,200 per child and the number of students in Early Head Start programs would double.

“We’re trying to ensure all children are ready to learn when they get to school,” said Neera Tanden, the president and CEO of the think tank and a former top policy official in the Obama administration. “Investing in early learning and pre-K is the best investment that we can make. The return on investment is significant.”…Read More

Cutting and running on education again

Today Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, introduced the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act, a bill that would provide states and school districts greater flexibility to spend federal money, reports the Center for American Progress. Some autonomy and flexibility can improve the way schools are run, as work by the Center for American Progress has pointed out. But the House proposal pushes flexibility too far and would undermine the primary federal commitment to education: providing extra assistance for educationally disadvantaged students…

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What schools can learn from charters about teaching English language learners

Dual language learning is considered a unique characteristic for some charters.
Dual-language learning is considered a unique characteristic for some charters.

As charter schools become testing grounds for innovative approaches to education, many of these schools with high English language learner (ELL) and Latino enrollments are identifying best practices for how to achieve proficiency with these students. The most important advice: Involve the community and offer after-school activities.

“Next Generation Charter Schools: Meeting the Needs of Latinos and English Language Learners,” a new report released by the Center for American Progress (CAP), details how charter schools can become models for all schools that serve a high number of ELL and Latino students.

The report comes as the Obama administration has encouraged states to support the expansion of high-quality charter schools by giving states that lift caps on new charters a chance to win grants from its Race to the Top competition. But even as the administration pushes for more charter schools, many critics are questioning whether the schools really are any more effective than traditional public schools.…Read More