early childhood education

Early learning programs in Indiana are improving in quality, but according to an annual report nearly two-thirds of children who might need care aren’t enrolled in them, and the state lacks a unified data system to help reach the most vulnerable children.

The Indiana Department of Education says Indiana’s teacher shortage is counterproductive to its priorities.

Indiana is getting millions of dollars in federal funding for early childhood education, and officials say it will help the state strategize to improve early learning programs and access.

Teacher pay is a key part of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s agenda for 2019, but he says significant raises might not happen for another two years.

Gov. Holcomb’s education plans for 2019 align with what state leaders have already said: Indiana’s budget session will be tight. So when it comes to getting more money in the hands of educators, he says actual raises might have to wait for the 2021 budget.

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/2602826152

A downtrodden portion of Indianapolis has been granted more than $8 million from the Obama Administration for revitalization.

The Circle City’s near-eastside neighborhood – just east of downtown – is one of eight areas designated by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture as “Promise Zones.” Also on the list are parts of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Sacramento, California and St. Louis County, Missouri.

SPL / https://www.flickr.com/photos/skokiepl/

More than 500,000 children ages five and younger have parents on active military duty for the United States.

The Department of Defense wants to make sure they have access to quality early childhood education.

Purdue is helping the DoD identify any gaps in services and develop a universal curriculum for all of its preschool programs.

The Department of Defense maintains the largest employer-sponsored child care system in the world.

David Shank / Shank Public Relations Counselors

Proposed legislation this General Assembly sought to make kindergarten mandatory for Hoosier children by lowering the compulsory school age from seven to five.  It’s an issue that has lawmakers and educators split -- even as the state focuses on funding early education initiatives.

Count to 100 by ones.

Solve real-world problems that involve addition and subtraction.

Understand how a nonfiction book is organized.

Those are the some of the more than 60 skills five-year-olds are expected to learn now in Indiana’s public kindergartens.

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

As Indiana’s “On My Way Pre-K” pilot program launches this month, lawmakers are discussing the potential to expand the initiative.

Legislation waiting for consideration proposes including 13 other counties originally selected as finalists in the program. That would add Tippecanoe County to the mix before most other counties.

House Bill 1129 and Senate Bill 344 suggest funding the extension through the state lottery administrative fund.

Education Commission of the States

The new year brings a fresh start, and nobody is more aware of impending changes than families in Allen, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties.

Indiana’s first preschool pilot program begins in those four communities in January, when an anticipated 450 low-income four-year-olds will head off to school for the first time.

Indiana Youth Institute

Next month, the state will begin its pre-kindergarten pilot in four counties. It’ll add a fifth pilot county later in the year.

Indiana Youth Institute President Bill Stanczykiewicz says the term “pilot” is a bit of a misnomer, though.

He sat down with WBAA News Director Stan Jastrzebski to talk about advocating for early childhood education, but says it’ll likely be decades before the state can truly know if pre-k is making a difference.