Will preschool budget cuts damage a generation?

Three days before the end of pre-school, Ms. Sabrena and the children sit around the table playing Bingo on boards the size of placemats. Nawal only needs one more tile to win, the Huffington Post reports. Tiny and delicate, with dark, serious eyes, she has quietly assembled a dangerous arsenal. Ms. Sabrena notices and raises an eyebrow. “You have to watch out for the quiet ones,” she says. But a few moments later, when Nawal’s number comes up, Nawal won’t say the one word her teacher wants to hear. Ms. Sabrena encourages her: “What do you say?” Nawal places her tile on the board, looks straight ahead and says nothing. Ms. Sabrena—Sabrena Robinson to those over three feet tall—works at a childcare center in Raleigh, North Carolina, a state with one of the most acclaimed child care systems in the country. From the outside, the center looks like nothing special: a low, cinder-block building with a big backyard. What’s unusual is Ms. Sabrena’s classroom. Of the 100 or so children enrolled at the school, 18 of them—those in Ms. Sabrena’s care—are part of something called North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten, a free state program designed to ensure that every child in the state is ready for kindergarten by the age of five…

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Early education cuts would pull more than two million kids from public preschool

Even as a growing body of research attests to the importance of early childhood education as an antidote to poverty, the House is preparing to pass a Republican budget that would slash funding for Head Start, a federally funded program that provides a wide range of services to a million young children living in poverty and their families, the Huffington Post reports. The plan, proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who chairs the House Budget Committee, would eliminate slots for about 200,000 children in 2014, according to an analysis by the National Education Association. Over the next decade, the NEA estimates, more than two million children would lose opportunities to attend Head Start centers as a result of the cuts. As it stands, only 30 percent of eligible children participate in the program, but children’s advocates tend to argue that the program should be expanded, not diminished…

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