With all the talk about budget cuts and other ways early childhood education is being hurt in the recession, it was refreshing to read a piece that looks at other obstacles and ways to improve the quality of early learning.
Education Week points out that elementary school principals in the U.S. don’t get sufficient professional development that might help close the achievement gap even before children start school. Kindergarten has changed, as have our expectations of young learners.
And programs that help principals develop the expertise they need to manage all these new expectations are rare, Gail Connelly, the executive director of the Alexandria, Va.-based National Association of Elementary School Principals, told Education Week.
“We believe through the right kind of focused, targeted professional development for principals,” Connelly said, “we can level that playing field and close that gap for more of those children.”
It will be interesting to follow up and see if there will be some federal help, which the story notes is coming. There’s a bill in the works sponsored by U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., which would create a grant program to support both mentoring and professional learning about early-childhood education, Education Week noted.
In the meantime, it’s worth thinking about just how prepared school leaders are — or are not — for the new standards and expectations young children must meet.