As state education leaders begin thinking about rebuilding after school shutdowns and the economic consequences of COVID-19, some state leaders are devoting attention to a policy area that is unlikely to appear in daily headlines: The 2020 census. The census directly influences education, as census counts impact the federal funds allocated for educational programs. Census data determines funding for special education, Head Start, school nutrition, after-school programming and classroom technology, as well as maternal and child health programs.
For the past 10 years, Portland Public Schools in Oregon has been one of several districts in Multnomah County to offer the Early Kindergarten Transition program for children entering Title I schools. The three-week summer session targets incoming students who have little to no experience in an early-childhood education program. The model has been found to have ongoing positive impacts, such as higher attendance rates and a greater likelihood of reaching early literacy benchmarks. It gives students a “step up on learning,” said Emily Glasgow, the district’s director of early learner programs, and provides a “community-building” experience for parents, who often become leaders in their children’s classrooms.
Interrupted partly by the battle against COVID-19, Chicago will slow the pace of its free preschool expansion, spokespeople for the mayor’s office and Chicago Public Schools confirm. But Mayor Lori Lightfoot is not abandoning her predecessor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to ultimately offer free preschool to every 4-year-old. “We are on track for full universal pre-K implementation by 2022,” school district spokeswoman Emily Bolton said. Chicago Public Schools said it will spend $18 million to add new classrooms next year — 44 more across 27 schools — but that is fewer than what the city’s original plans envisioned and what leaders had forecast.