A report written by the New America Foundation, Beyond Subprime Learning: Accelerating Progress in Early Education, outlines a system for children birth through eight. The system describes the unique roles for everyone interacting with children in order to promote education and positive learning experiences.
The following eight actions are necessary to achieve a seamless birth through eight system:
1. Bridge the Continuum: In order for children to be lifelong learners, they need access to aligned, high-quality education. Pre-K should begin at age three and include research-based learning experiences.
2. Upgrade Educators: Because early educators play such strong roles in contributing to students’ academic success, the early education workforce should be improved. For example, states should invest in principal preparation programs that include early childhood education.
3. Emphasize Families: Children’s success is linked to the success of their parents. Federal programs should promote families’ opportunities to succeed by creating common eligibility floors across federal programs.
4. Intentionally Support Dual-Language Learners: Policies should embrace bilingualism while at the same time supporting their growth in their home languages.
5. Rethink Standards & Assessment: Create comprehensive standards for Kindergarten through third grade that outline what key concepts all children should understand at each grade level.
6. Strengthen and Improve Accountability Systems: States should use metrics in teacher evaluation systems that account for dual-language learners and recognize their unique educational needs.
7. Collect and Use Data Responsibly: States should include early childhood data in their statewide longitudinal data systems and create an additional round of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing at the end of first grade.
8. Bring Research Closer to Policy and Practice: To apply findings on how children learn, open publicly funded research to the public.
The report concludes that policymakers must be willing to adopt new ideas and plans in order for early education policies to evolve and promote success. Read more about these eight actions to create a seamless birth-through-eight system.