At a time when all eyes in Washington are focused on health care reform and the Obama administration has proposed revamping the No Child Left Behind law, it’s the right time to wonder what will happen to the president’s promising early childhood agenda. There has been very little press coverage on what a re-write of the law will mean for the early years, so it was refreshing to see our colleagues over at Early Education Watch raise such good questions.
“There is no section about improving the early grades,” Lisa Guernsey at Early Education Watch writes. “There is no mention of pre-K, preschool or other educational settings for 3- or 4-year-olds. There is but one reference to the need for better transitions and authentic coordination between early childhood settings and schools.”
Early education experts have been enthusiastic about Obama’s “birth to five,” agenda, and his emphasis on giving young children the best possible start at an early age, so naturally they wonder what the overhaul of federal education policies will hold. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, meanwhile, has his hands full today as he prepares to deliver remarks to Congress about the new law amidst some formidable opposition.
Teachers unions, for one, are opposed to the administration’s proposals for rewriting the the law, as the New York Times noted.
With so many objections and roadblocks, those who cover and care about early childhood education have to keep a focus on the president’s priorities and pledges for the critical early years.