Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dem candidates

Wow - what a nailbiter on Tuesday, with the 2 or 3-way primary tie for the gubernatorial candidate for the Democrats. I'm happy that all three support investments in early education. Let's see who becomes the candidate in the next few days. Good luck!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

state resource allocation principles

With limited resources state lawmakers should review all expenditures against the same set of criteria - proven benchmarks that will ensure smart spending. These criteria are suggested by the Partnership for America's Economic Success.

1. Human capital - In order to achieve economic growth and fiscal sustainability, government should emphasize strengthening the skills and capacities of America’s workforce.
2. Early childhood - In developing human capital, our nation should focus especially on children, from before birth to five years of age, and their families.
3. Evaluation - Return on investment should be a key consideration in public resource allocation decisions, and all programs must be subject to evaluation to prove their worth.
4. Transparency - Government should enable citizens to understand and participate in the assessment of revenue and spending decisions.
5. Sustainability - State and federal budgets should be viable and sustainable over the long term.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Maine -- early ed and reading results

Our friends in Maine clearly understand what we've been similarly experiencing in Vermont -- preparing kids for school helps limit remediation. Here's an article on reading and early ed.

http://www.pressherald.com/opinion/reading-success-depends-greatly-on-what-happens-before-school_2010-07-14.html

Thursday, July 15, 2010

VBR's pre-k page

The Vermont Business Roundtable has a page on their website to showcase research on early childhood investments. It's meant to provide business leaders with background information, but hopefully political candidates will take a look as they prepare their position papers on education.

http://vtroundtable.org/pre-k-vermont/

2010 Wins

That's Steve Voigt, CEO of King Arthur Flour, above, testifying before the House Education committee on lifting the pre-k enrollment cap for towns with underperforming schools. Thank you to the Legislature for passing this new law, and to the Governor for signing it.

Towns with schools identified as underperforming by the DOE will now be allowed to accomodate and report the count of all the children they have capacity to serve. It is heartening that the Legislature clearly recognizes that early education is an important way to support achievement of young children.

Thanks to Dave Finney, President of Champlain College, and to Steve Voigt for coming to testify. Also to Lisa Ventriss, President of the Vermont Business Roundtable for helping make early childhood investments a significant focus of the RT's policy work this year.

Business leader commentary in support of early childhood

Bill Stritzler, President of Smuggler's Notch Resort, has a great commentary on VPR on the value of early childhood investments.

http://www.vpr.net/episode/48995/

Monday, May 24, 2010

new pre-k language on the cap.

The new pre-k law will allow towns with underperforming schools to expand pre-k enrollment to capacity. Here's the wording, highlighted at the end in bold type.



Sec. E.500.1 16 V.S.A. § 4001(1) is amended to read:

§ 4001. DEFINITIONS

For the purpose of this chapter:

(1) “Average daily membership” of a school district, or if needed in order to calculate the appropriate homestead tax rate, of the municipality as defined in 32 V.S.A. § 5401(9), in any year means:

* * *

(C) The full-time equivalent enrollment for each prekindergarten child as follows: If a child is enrolled in 10 or more hours of prekindergarten education per week or receives 10 or more hours of essential early education services per week, the child shall be counted as one full-time equivalent pupil. If a child is enrolled in six or more but fewer than 10 hours of prekindergarten education per week or if a child receives fewer than 10 hours of essential early education services per week, the child shall be counted as a percentage of one full-time equivalent pupil, calculated as one multiplied by the number of hours per week divided by ten. A child enrolled in prekindergarten education for fewer than six hours per week shall not be included in the district's average daily membership. Although there is no limit on the total number of children who may be enrolled in prekindergarten education or who receive essential early education services, the total number of prekindergarten children that a district may include within its average daily membership shall be limited determined as follows:



(i) All children receiving essential early education services may be included.



(ii) Of the children enrolled in prekindergarten education offered by or through a school district who are not receiving essential early education services, the greater of the following may be included:

(I) ten children; or

(II) the number resulting from: (aa) one plus the average annual percentage increase or decrease in the district's first grade average daily membership as counted in the census period of the previous five years; multiplied by (bb) the most immediately previous year's first grade average daily membership; or

(III) the total number of children residing in the district who are enrolled in the prekindergarten program or programs and who are eligible to enter kindergarten in the district in the following academic year; or

(IV) one-fifth of the total number of children in grades 1-5 who were included in the district's average daily membership for the previous year.



(iii) Notwithstanding subdivision (ii) of this subdivision or any other provision limiting the number of prekindergarten children a district may include within its average daily membership, if the commissioner determines that a school district or a school within the district has made insufficient progress in improving student performance as required by subsection 165(b) of this title or federal law, then until the commissioner determines that sufficient progress is being made, the school district may include within its average daily membership the total number of children enrolled in prekindergarten education offered by or through a school district

; provided, however, that the number included in the average daily membership shall not exceed the maximum number of children who can be accommodated in all qualified prekindergarten education programs, as defined in state board rule, that are offered by or through the school district and by private providers within the district as of:

(I) June 30, 2010 if the commissioner’s determination of insufficient progress is made on or before that date; or

(II) June 30 of the year the commissioner’s determination of insufficient progress is made for districts added to the list after June 30, 2010