A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n
FY 1999 Annual Plan - Volume 1. Objective Performance Plans and Data Quality - February 27, 1998
Objective 2.1. All children enter school ready to learn.
Context: Research on early brain development reveals that learning experiences introduced to children at an early age are directly linked to successful learning as children mature. Furthermore, children who enter school ready to learn are more likely to achieve to high standards than children who are inadequately prepared. High-quality early childhood programs are particularly important for children from families with limited education and for children with disabilities.
Key strategies for FY 1999
- Financial support for children who are educationally disadvantaged or have disabilities.
- The Department's $115 million request for the Even Start program would support projects providing early childhood education, adult education, and parenting instruction that helps prepare low-income children to enter school.
- The $374 million request for Special Education Preschool Grants program is intended to help ensure that 3 to 5-year-old children with disabilities are ready to enter first grade on an equal footing with their peers without disabilities.
- The Department is requesting $370 million for Special Education Infants and Families program to expand the numbers of children served, improve the scope and quality of services, and meet the rising costs of administering statewide systems of early intervention services for all children with disabilities, from birth through age 2, and their families.
- The budget includes $35 million for new Transition to School Demonstration grants that would test promising approaches for ensuring that the educational gains disadvantaged children make in Head Start and other preschool programs are sustained once those children enter the elementary grades.
Research, development, and technical assistance. Provide support based on new knowledge of brain development, early intervention, and high quality nurturing.
- Synthesize models of effective early intervention and share with Even Start, Title I preschool, and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) preschool projects and with states, local districts, and community-based organizations.
- Continue to improve the knowledge base on early intervention programs through the interagency Early Childhood Research Working Group convened by the National Institute on Early Childhood Development and Education. In addition to Department of Education members, this group includes members from the National Institutes of Health, Head Start, the Department of Agriculture, the Child Care Bureau, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
- Request $7.4 million to fund the research and development activities of the National Institute on Early Childhood Development and Education, which include supporting the National Center for Early Development and Learning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Improvement of Even Start.
- Encourage agreements between Even Start participating parents and Even Start projects that would establish developmentally appropriate outcomes for children and provide for mutual responsibility for achievement of those outcomes.
- Provide for pilot testing of developmentally appropriate materials that enable children to progress through preschool, enter school ready to learn, and sustain success in school by supporting the linkage between learning activities in Even Start projects and in the home.
- Help Even Start projects to set appropriate performance goals and measure progress accordingly. Provide assistance to projects to conceptualize progress indicators for the entire Even Start age range.
Tutor training. Work with the Partnership for Family Involvement, Read*Write*Now, and the America Reads Challenge initiative to provide training for tutors to work with special populations, such as children from low-income families, or children with limited English proficiency or disabilities.
Coordination with Health and Human Services
- Indicators coordination. Work with the Head Start Bureau to more closely align indicators of progress and quality between the Even Start program and the Head Start program.
- New HHS initiative. Work with HHS to coordinate EDUs preschool programs with the efforts of the proposed "Early Learning Fund," which would support programs that improve early learning and the quality and safety of child care.
- "Communities Can" initiative. Support HHS' "Communities Can" initiative to promote school-linked services for young children and their families.
- Indicators coordination. Work with HHS to incorporate the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics' indicators of child well-being into all programs; including Even Start.
- Information exchange, research coordination. Use the interagency Early Childhood Research Working Group convened by the National Institute on Early Childhood Development and Education to exchange and share current research-based information about young children and their families and to provide opportunities for interagency research collaboration. Use the findings from this exchange, such as the information provided by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development on language and literacy development, to improve programs across federal departments.
Programs supporting this objective
|Grants for services
- Head Start
- Title I Preschool
- IDEA Grants for Infants and Families ( Part C)
- IDEA Preschool Grants (Part B)
- IDEA state grants (Part B)
- Even Start
- Inexpensive Book Distribution (Reading is Fundamental)
- Ready to Learn Television
- Goals 2000 Parental Assistance
- National Research Institute for Early Childhood Education
- IDEA: Research and Innovation
- Statistics and Assessment
Technical assistance and dissemination
- Comprehensive Regional Assistance Centers
- IDEA Parent Information Centers
- IDEA: Technical Assistance and Dissemination
Selected performance indicators and charts
Performance indicators in the Strategic Plan for objective 2.1 focus on indicators that track the access to learning activities for children prior to kindergarten.
The percentage of 3-to-5-year-olds whose parents read to them or tell them stories regularly will continuously increase. (Goal 2, indicator 3)
Indicator background and context. Reading to children helps them build their vocabularies, an important factor in school success. Thus, frequent reading by parents to their children is an important activity in preparing children for school. Only two-thirds of preschoolers were read to or told stories regularly in 1993. By 1996, the proportion of preschoolers whose parents read to them or told them stories regularly had increased to 72 percent.
Data source. National Center for Education Statistics, National Household Education Survey, 1993, 1996.
The disparity in preschool participation rates between children from high-income families and children from low-income families will become increasingly smaller. (Goal 2, indicator 2)
Indicator background and context. In 1991, 45 percent of 3-to-5-year-olds from low-income families were enrolled in preschool programs, compared to 73 percent of those from high-income families. Despite the importance of improving preschool participation rates for at-risk children, the disparity in preschool participation rates had not improved by 1996.
Data source. National Center for Education Statistics, National Household Education Survey, 1991 - 1996.
Verification/validation of performance measures: Data from independent evaluations of Even Start and other federal programs, as well as statistical surveys of the early childhood education and households conducted by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES "Early Childhood Longitudinal Study"). The Planning and Evaluation Service monitors the Even Start program through the Even Start Program Information Reporting System information system.