May 5th, 2013
Tina Rosenberg’s recent New York Times piece, via its Fixes series and Opinionator blog, was on “The Power of Talking to Your Baby” – after David Bornstein’s “Books for Low-Income Families” addressed related issues (and focused on First Book) in May 2011.
This spring’s Literacy Forum responded to such issues in the New Haven region.
May 4th, 2013
Citing “The State of Preschool” findings of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers, the New York Times reports that state funding for preschool fell last year.
Specifically, according to NIEER’s executive summary, “State funding for pre-K decreased by over half a billion dollars in 2011-2012, adjusted for inflation, the largest one year drop ever. The size of these unprecedented budget cuts can be attributed to the lingering effects of the recession on state budgets, especially as at least $127 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds from the previous year were no longer available. Although the recession is technically over, the recovery in state revenues has lagged the recovery of the general economy and has been slower and weaker than following prior recessions…. The consequences of this declining state support for pre-K is evident in two other historic ‘firsts.’ After a decade of growth, enrollment has stalled. This marks the first time we have seen no increase in the percentage of children served in state pre-K. And, despite stagnant enrollment, state funding per child fell by more than $400 compared to the previous year, bringing funding down to $3,841 per child. State spending per child has decreased by more than $1,100 since 2001-2002.”
Further, ”Sixteen states reduced enrollment, from 1 percent in Connecticut, Kansas, and New York to 19 percent in North Carolina.”
Connecticut ranks 29th in its “access for 4-year-olds” (roughly comparable to Massachusetts at 27, with Florida ranked 1st and New York 8th) and 8th in “access for 3-year-olds” (Illinois is 1st, New Jersey 2nd). In “resource rank based on state spending,” Connecticut comes out 3rd, trailing only New Jersey at 1 and Oregon at 2. By “resource rank based on all reported spending,” Connecticut is on top, with New Jersey at 2 and Rhode Island 3rd.
April 12th, 2013
A New Haven Independent article – “It’s about WORDS” — reported on a recent Literacy Forum on Early Learning.
A February New York Times article provides national context, along with a Times column by Gail Collins that cites the Comprehensive Child Development Act of 1971, bipartisan legislation that Richard Nixon vetoed. Another Times columnist, David Brooks, is cautiously optimistic about a greater federal role in supporting preschool innovation and evaluation among the states.
April 10th, 2013
An annual Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven benefit event, the Scrabble Challenge at Gateway Community College, is April 25. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 19th, 2013
Novelist David Toscana recently wrote a New York Times op-ed calling his home country, Mexico, “the country that stopped reading.”
A letter writer who teaches English contends that the United States, too, is becoming “a nation of non-readers.”
Times Book Review features and children’s books editor Pamela Paul then reflected on “Reading, Writing, and Video Games.” According to her:
“It’s important to realize early on that mastery often requires persevering through tedious, repetitive tasks and hard-to-grasp subject matter.”