It would not be a surprise to hear that the education system in the United States is in a bit of a crisis. While reform continues to try to find ways to make public education more inclusive and more accessible, results are not consistent across the country. However, new data does seem to indicate that when quality early childhood education is in place, it can have monumentally positive results.
Indeed, the study says that federally sponsored programs presently at work in 20 states have been effective at boosting the ability to improve ECE options. According to the United States Department of Education, the study shows that those 20 states—which had received a combined $1 billion in federal aid—were able to improve access to quality early childhood education programs and high-needs preschool programs, particularly for those children in low-income households or who have special needs. This includes, of course, children with disabilities or other developmental obstacles.
The study appears to rapidly improve the quality of learning available for these students while also making it possible to enroll more students in top-tier programs. The researchers also attest that this funding has helped to improve access to health screenings for thousands of preschoolers which has helped to identify as well as treat medical and developmental issues earlier; this includes issues that would have otherwise affected ability to learn in the following years.
“The individual and collective progress of the 20 Early Learning Challenge States is changing the early childhood landscape for the better,” explains Linda Smith, who is the deputy assistant secretary for early childhood development with US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. “It is exciting to watch these states make meaningful improvements as they tackle common and state-specific challenges and share lessons learned.”
In addition, US Secretary of Education John B. King notes, “Because of historic investments from the Obama Administration, states and cities, more children — particularly those who have been historically underserved — now have access to high-quality early learning. We must continue our collective work so that all children have the foundation they need to thrive in school and beyond.”
Colorado and Delaware are among the 20 states receiving this supplemental funding and King goes on to dictate the success. He says, “One of the promising things Colorado is doing … is helping folks get the credit hours they need so (they) can see a path toward eventually having a bachelor’s degree and earning a little bit more.”