Thursday, February 14th, 2013
Obama Early Education Plan To Be Detailed In Georgia Speech
President Barack Obama is traveling to Georgia today to press a plan he announced in his State of the Union address to dramatically expand preschool. The plan would include smaller class sizes, better-paid teachers, and exams for 4-year-olds. (via Huffington Post)
Girl Who Lost 90% of Skin After Allergic Reaction to Children’s Motrin Wins $63M Verdict
Samantha Reckis, who was only 7 when she took Children’s Motrin for a fever and subsequently went blind and suffering a horrifying allergic reaction, has won $63 million in compensation from Johnson & Johnson. (via NY Daily News)
Older Fathers Can Be Better Dads the 2nd Time Around
At 60, Arthur Schwartz sees many of his college friends talking about retirement and grandchildren, but he is energetically immersed in the busy lives of his two young daughters, aged 9 and 7. (via Yahoo News)
Do Good Grades Spread Like Measles?
Students surrounded by friends who earn better grades than they do tend to see their own grades rise over the next year, according to a new study. (via Live Science)
Study: Praise Children For What They Do, Not Who They Are
Toddlers develop a greater preparedness for future challenges when their parents celebrate their efforts instead of their innate qualities. (via The Atlantic)
More U.S. Women Using the “Morning-After” Pill: Report
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More U.S. women are taking the “morning-after” pill, but generally just once, according to the government’s first report on how the emergency contraception drug has been used since regulators eased access to it in 2006. (via Reuters)
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Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
This is a guest post from Ann O’Leary, the director of the Children and Families Program at the Center for the Next Generation. The Center has launched a campaign called Too Small to Fail, a national movement to raise awareness about the state of America’s children and how the country can come together to create a stronger future for the next generation; we at Parents are one of its partners. O’Leary focused on the part of President Obama’s address that most directly impacts parents of young children: universal preschool.
Last night, President Obama began his State of the Union by harkening back to President John F. Kennedy’s declaration that it is the President’s task “to report the State of the Union – to improve it is the task of us all.” Top among the list of President Obama’s “unfinished tasks”: to make sure that our government works “to open the door of opportunity to every child across this great nation.”
President Obama’s plan to open these doors includes making “high-quality preschool available to every child in America.” If that happens, this could mean a brighter future for millions of children’s lives. Today, nearly 5 million children in the United States, or roughly 36 percent of all children ages 3 to 5, receive no form of early childhood education –- even when we know that’s one of the fundamental building blocks for success later in life. According to a RAND study: “Scientiﬁcally rigorous studies show that well-designed preschool programs serving 3- and 4-year-olds can improve school readiness and raise performance on academic achievement tests in the early elementary grades.”
Investing in preschool education also means great economic prosperity for our country. As Nobel Laureate James Heckman has outlined time and again, early childhood education gives back to society in real economic terms, with a “7 to 10 percent per year return on investment.” President Obama highlighted this research in his speech, noting, “Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than $7 later on –- by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime.”
But the task of making high-quality preschool available to every child in America is not going to be easy. In 2011, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research, two-thirds of those states with state funded preschool programs made budget cuts to their preschool programs as states have felt the constraints of a weak economy. As the Center for American Progress outlined in their most recent proposal, it is going to take a partnership with federal and state investments leveraging local resources to truly create universal preschool and make sure that families’ income level is not the driving factor in deciding how much education their children can receive.
Despite the hard road to make these investments, they are critical to our future as an economic and global leader. Our competitors already have realized that investments in early learning are one of the keys to economic prosperity in the future.
In a study by the Center for the Next Generation and the Center for American progress called “The Competition that Really Matters,” we show that sustained competition from India and China are serious threats to our economic competitiveness. By 2020, China will provide 70 percent of all children with three years of early education and by 2030 China will have more college graduates than the entire American workforce.
I congratulate the President for making it clear that preschool for all should be a national priority. We need investments in early childhood education now; not only to nourish growing minds, but to set the foundations of a more efficient –- and internationally competitive –- economy for generations to come.
Photo: kindergarten, preschool classroom via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Nearsighted Kids May Get Worse in Winter
For nearsighted children in Denmark, vision deteriorated faster when days were shortest and more slowly during the summer months, according to a new study looking into whether daylight may slow kids’ vision loss. (via Reuters)
Education Content In State Of The Union Likely To Focus On Littlest Learners
President Barack Obama made K-12 education a major component of his 2012 State of the Union Address — so much so that the topic garnered the most traffic on sites like Twitter. But this year, education advocates are expecting something entirely different. (via Huffington Post)
Judge Overturns Arizona Law Barring Planned Parenthood Funding
A federal judge has overturned an Arizona law that sought to block funding through the state for Planned Parenthood’s healthcare clinics because the group also performs abortions. (via Reuters)
Hypertension in Pregnancy Can Predict Heart Disease Risk
A new study from the American Heart Association journal, Circulation, shows women who have high blood pressure during pregnancy may be at increased risk for developing heart disease, chronic kidney disease and diabetes. (via Fox News)
Governor Rick Snyder’s University Funding Plan Generates Criticism
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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is drawing fire for the way he allocates state education spending in his new budget. (via Huffington Post)
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