Archive for the ‘Early childhood/pre-k’ Category

Nearly one in five high school boys diagnosed with ADHD. Is it big problem or Big Pharm?

grabarart0920Mining CDC data, The New York Times is reporting today nearly one in five high school age boys and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Are we over-diagnosing attention deficit hyperactivity, especially in boys, because we have less tolerance of what were once understood and accepted as normal kid behaviors?

Have we become a nation that spots a fidgety 5-year-old and thinks a pill is the answer?

Are these behaviors more troubling in an era where even kindergarten has an academic focus and where children are measured by test scores? Are parents buying the pharmaceutical industry’s promise that it can turn a restless student into a focused scholar?

A child with ADHD is easily distracted, hyperactive and impulsive. More than overactive, these children often can’t sit still long enough to respond to a question or listen to a story. Some can’t slow down between idea and action, leaving them …

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Did Obama learn anything at the Decatur pre-k program or was it a just one long photo op?

Did Obama learn anything from his visit today to a Decatur pre-k? A pre-k teacher says he did. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Did Obama learn anything from his visit today to a Decatur pre-k? A pre-k teacher says he did. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

The crowds have left the Decatur Recreation Center, and the camera crews are dismantling their equipment. The President is en route to Dobbins.

So, what was today about? Was it a photo op with which to promote the President’s new pre-k proposal?

Yes, but did Obama learn anything useful?

After the speech, I chatted with the Decatur pre-k teacher who was with Obama today at the College Heights Early Learning Center. Mary McMahon also introduced Obama at the Decatur Recreation Center.

A pre-k intervention teacher, McMahon is College Heights’ Teacher of the Year and spent time with President Obama in the pre-k classroom of teacher Lauren Parks.

Was this all for show, I asked her, or did the President learn something new?

McMahon felt that Obama learned something from the inclusive model that Decatur uses in its pre-k. She said that Decatur is unique in that its …

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Obama in Decatur on pre-k: ‘Give all of our kids that chance.’

Here is the text of the Obama speech. The President deviated now and then but this is essentially what he said today in Decatur:

Hello, everybody!  Well, it is great to be in Georgia!  Great to be in Decatur!

I can’t imagine a more romantic way to spend Valentine’s Day — (laughter) — than with all of you, with all the press here.  Actually, Michelle says hello.  She made me promise to get back in time for our date tonight.  r.)  That’s important.  That’s important.  I’ve already got a gift, got the flowers. I was telling folks the flowers are a little easier, though, because I’ve got this Rose Garden.   Lot of people keeping flowers around.

I want to acknowledge a few people who are here — first of all, Congressman Hank Johnson is here.  Where’s Hank?  Your Mayor, Jim Baskett, is here.   Another Mayor you may know — Kasim Reed snuck in here.  I want to acknowledge the Decatur School Board, who I had a chance to meet and has helped to do so …

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White House releases Obama early childhood proposal: Expand pre-k for low and moderate income families

The White House released an outline of the ambitious early childhood initiative that President Obama will announce today in Decatur after a visit to a pre-k there:

The President’s proposal will improve quality and expand access to preschool, through a cost sharing partnership with all 50 states, to extend federal funds to expand high-quality public preschool to reach all low- and moderate-income 4-year olds from families at or below 200 percent of poverty.

The U.S. Department of Education will allocate dollars to states based their share of 4-year olds from low- and moderate-income families and funds would be distributed to local school districts and other partner providers to implement the program. The proposal would include an incentive for states to broaden participation in their public preschool program for additional middle-class families, which states may choose to reach and serve in a variety of ways, such as a sliding-scale arrangement.

Funds will support states as …

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Obama visits Decatur pre-k today: A teacher suggests what else he should see

President Obama visits a Decatur pre-k today. (AJC photo)

President Obama visits a Decatur pre-k today. (AJC photo)

Here is a piece by Robyn Tedder, who taught kindergarten as a Teach For America corps member in Metro Atlanta. She now works on TFA staff to support pre-k and kindergarten and teachers throughout the region.

By Robyn Tedder

On Tuesday, President Obama called the nation’s attention to the need for high-quality early education – highlighting the gap between the long-term success we envision for our kids, and the foundations we lay in their young lives.

For those of us in the world of early education, these words felt like a breath of fresh air – validation of the deep urgency and almost overwhelming opportunity we see in classrooms day in and day out. And here in Georgia, they made us proud to be named an exemplar – one of just a few states to have prioritized our youngest learners.

Today, the President visits Decatur’s College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center to see our commitment to pre-K in action. …

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Pre-k paying off for Georgia according to study

Pre-k pays off, according to the early results of a new study. (AJC photo)

Pre-k pays off, according to the early results of a new study. (AJC photo)

There is near universal agreement in the research community that early childhood education benefits disadvantaged children despite the contention of skeptics that Georgia pre-k is just free daycare.

To address that skepticism, Georgia commissioned a study to look at the impact of its pre-k program.

According to the AJC:

A first-of-its kind study of Georgia pre-kindergarten program is nearly complete, and early reports indicate it shows largely good news about the program that has enrolled about 1.2 million youngsters in 20 years.

The study, which cost $1.5 million in lottery dollars, not tax dollars, was launched at the request of lawmakers two years ago amid dire predictions about the long-term viability of the lottery-funded pre-k and HOPE scholarship programs, arguably the state’s two most popular initiatives.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina’s Frank Porter Graham Child …

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An invitation from the AJC editor to a pre-k forum Thursday. It’s a great panel. Hope to see you there.

downeyart (Medium)On behalf of Kevin Riley, the editor of the AJC:

Dear Friends:

• Georgia’s Pre-K early childhood education program has been a national model in its 20 years of existence.

• “Where does it go from here?” is a question many are pondering today.

To help answer that question, the AJC is inviting metro Atlantans to an Atlanta Forward community forum on Pre-K sponsored by PNC Bank. Attendance and parking are free, but registration’s required.

PRE-K TURNS 20: WHAT’S NEXT?” takes place Thursday, Oct. 25, from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at Georgia Public Broadcasting studios in Midtown. Please join us there.

I’ll be moderating a panel discussion by local and national experts who will discuss in-depth the issues around early childhood learning in this state. For more information and to register, please click here.

This is Maureen again. I just want to add that we have a fantastic panel assembled, including Bright from the Start commissioner Bobby Cagle, noted …

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