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A Push for Better Early Education in Nevada
A Push for Better Early Education in Nevada

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AIR DATE: January 25, 2012

In Nevada there are a number of early education programs that have shown success. The problem state officials are finding however, is that while some programs show significant progress there isn't enough being done to reach more kids across the state who need Pre-kindergarten education. In Nevada, less than two percent of kids get state funded Pre-kindergarten education. And more than half of Pre-kindergarten kids in Nevada aren't in any kind of program.

Meantime, many researchers are finding that Hispanic students stand to benefit the most from Pre-K education but nationally access for Latinos students lags behind Black and White students. We discuss how to create stronger Pre-k programs and create better access in Nevada.

GUESTS
Jude Joffe-Block, reporter, Fronteras: The Changing Americas Desk
Lucy Flores, Nevada Assemblywoman, District 28
Ellen Friede, Sr VP of Education and Research, Acelero Learning
Margot Chappell, Dir, Head Start Collaboration and Early Childhood Systems Office, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services

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    COMMENTS:
    When my son was small we lived in Georgia. Public television provided educational programs for children all day. We started the day with Sesame Street and ended with Mr. Rogers. In between there were programs about learning Spanish, music, art, exercise, etc. If there are resources like that in Nevada, I'm not aware of them. It seems like a cost effective way to provide quality learning opportunities to existing pre-school facilities.
    Carolyn S.Jan 24, 2012 07:53:21 AM
    This is my 6th year as a teacher in the State Grant Pre-K Program here in Las Vegas. I teach in a program like the one described in the reporter's visit to the Rundle Elementary School. Briefly, personal experience and professional evidence gained during my 31 years as a teacher of young children supports both the pedagogic and economic reasons to support and promote early education. Anecdotal evidence from parents and teacher peers in our elementary school continues to affirm the success of our Pre-K program in promoting our Pre-K student's acquisition of academic skills, in particular for the ELL students, Indeed, longitudinal studies of elementary school students, who have had a Pre-K Program experience confirm the parents and teachers anecdotal evidence.

    In addition, some years ago, I was the Preschool coordinator and also a pre-school teacher at the highly regarded Singapore American School; and I can attest to the Republic of Singapore's reliance on early education, as a cornerstone in their unrivaled economic development over time.

    Moreover, the Nobel Prize winning Economist, James Heckman, confirms Singapore's sound vision. Mr. Heckman was quoted in an article as saying, skills beget skills. This brief article,  The 5 Best Reasons to Invest In Early childhood Education.

    Thank you,

    Joe Dirvin
    Pre-K Teacher
    JT McWilliams E.S.

    Joe DirvinJan 23, 2012 20:53:35 PM
    Great Segment KNPR! Heavy stuff - vital if the US is going to remain globally competitive. On a lighter note, I loved when Jude Joffe-Block said this was one of the most enjoyable stories she's worked on. Cute kids are the only thing that keeps my cynicism in check.
    aunty palinJan 23, 2012 11:23:38 AM
    I currently work at United Way of Southern Nevada as an Education Development Manager and was previously a preschool teacher at Acelero Learning. I really appreciate NPR's "State of Nevada" for including this as a topic that needs more attention and discussion.

    As one of the guests mentioned, United Way of Southern Nevada has garnered private funds to help improve access to quality early childhood education. Parents can apply for the Tuition Assistance Preschool Scholarship (TAPS) to attend one of our partner child development centers. Teachers at these schools are trained on an assessment tool, provided mentoring and have an opportunity to take a 120-hour Preschool Curriculum Course.

    Our donors have funded these programs with the recognition that early childhood education must be a priority in the pursuit of a better academic outlook in Nevada and we continuously strive to strengthen this initiative for the Las Vegas community.

    http://uwsn.org/sup.php?id=20

    Amanda SalazarJan 23, 2012 11:05:46 AM
    At Family to Family Connection, we believe that providing all parents with the education and emotional support they need will lead to an empowered parent and a stronger family. For the past 13 years, Family to Family has been educating parents about what it takes to build a healthy family. We offer classes on infant development, toddler motor skill development, family nutrition, communication with children, breast feeding and much more. Many of our classes are taught in both English and Spanish and are designed to prepare children for school. We were partially funded by the State for the past 13 years, and last year our budget was deleted. We are a community based non-profit dependent on community support.
    Dianne Farkas Jan 23, 2012 10:35:49 AM
    One of the best programs I have read about is Geoffrey Canada's programs in Harlem. He has developed a "conveyor belt" idea for early childhood education where parents attend baby college when they are pregnant. Then they attend parenting classes when the baby is born. Then the child attends early childhood classes at around 3 yrs. to prepare the child for kinder. The goal is to follow children and give their parents the tools to support them in their education. Hopefully after the preschool the children enters Canada's charter schools until they graduate and go on to college.
    SamJan 23, 2012 10:03:29 AM
    As the former President of the Nevada State Board of Education I understand the challenges of language and early learning success for all students. While I agree that more funds are important, the models of interventions are more so. Pre-service education in early childhood education is paramount- but the actual use of funds to these programs we already fund requires continued diligence and more effective evaluation. We must stop "waiting for Ginot" and assume and promote that the most effective answer is always more revenue. What we know from other programs is that just is not so. I beleive that if we get better, the money will follow.
    Gary WatersJan 23, 2012 09:46:22 AM
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