Trump Wanted a Bigger Tax Cut for the Rich, Ivanka Went Elsewhere

Thursday, November 30, 2017

(New York Times) - President Trump urged senators this month to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most Americans have health insurance and use the proceeds to slash the top tax rate paid by the richest Americans, a suggestion that pitted his priorities against his daughter and Republican senators intent on helping the middle class.  

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Marco Rubio's Criminally Negligent Child Credit Amendment to Tax Reform

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Last evening, the U.S. Senate voted along party lines to proceed to consideration of fundamental tax reform. This kicked off the filing of dozens of amendments by senators to make changes to the bill reported out of the Senate Finance Committee.

One of those amendments (two, actually) were filed by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida). They each bolster the child tax credit expansion already present in the base bill. In addition to doubling the child credit to $2000, the Rubio amendment(s) make the credit more defensibly refundable by tying it to the payroll tax, removing the marriage penalty in the credit's phase-out, and indexing the credit to inflation. As a policy matter, I agree with these changes and they are perfectly sound, conservative, pro-family tax policy. So what's the problem? Continue This Op-Ed From Forbes Here... (Ryan Ellis , Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own).


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Colorado Republicans choose replacement for state lawmaker who left her post to join Trump administration

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

(Denver Post) - Colorado Republicans have chosen who will replace former state Rep. Clarice Navarro of Pueblo at the legislature after she stepped down from her post earlier this month to take a job in the Trump administration.

Judy Reyher, of Swink, was appointed Monday night to fill the House District 47 seat, which spans Pueblo, Otero and Fremont counties.

Reyher served as chair of the Otero County Republican Party for 10 years before stepping down earlier this year.

“My big issues are agriculture, water, small business and education,” she told The Denver Post on Monday. “We’re pouring lots of money into education, and we are still turning out kids that aren’t learning very much. There are exceptions, but for the most part we are turning them out like pancakes instead of educated young people.”

Reyher, a fifth-generation Coloradan, will take over the rest of Navarro’s term.

Navarro, who last year advised then-candidate Donald Trump on how to reach out to Latino voters, was first elected to the legislature in 2012.


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When Degree Programs For Pre-K Teachers Go Online

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

(New America) - Please join us for a presentation and panel discussion of New America’s new report, When Degree Programs for Pre-K Teachers Go Online: Challenges and Opportunities. The report highlights the policy and practice changes needed to make high-quality online bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education or a related major accessible to all lead pre-K teachers across the United States. CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE & VIDEO...


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Progress and Challenges in Developing Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (TQRIS) in the Round 1 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) States

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

(NCEE) - The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant program promoted the development of rating systems to document the quality of early childhood education programs. This evaluation report describes progress made by states that received the Round 1 grants in developing and implementing Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (TQRIS). The report is based on interviews with TQRIS administrators in the nine Round 1 states in 2015. It found substantial differences in the ways that states structured and implemented, promoted participation in, and rated and monitored programs in their systems.

PDF File View, download, and print the report as a PDF file (1.7 MB)



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A New National Collaboration on Early Childhood, Backed by Pritzker Wealth

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

(Inside Philanthropy) - There’s been a lot of movement in the early childhood learning space in the last few years. While some funders have scaled national initiatives, most projects still happen on the local level, like the work the Kenneth Rainin Foundation does in Oakland and the William Penn Foundation does in Philadelphia. Even some funders with national profiles will often take a local focus, like the Detroit-based project the W.K. Kellogg and Kresge foundations recently announced.

So when a funder does back an ambitious early childhood project at the national level, it’s worth paying attention—especially when we're talking about a billionaire donor who's lately been ramping up his giving.

J.B. Pritzker and his wife M.K. are the philanthropists behind the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, which has a keen focus on research and policy and has been expanding its activities lately to "promote high quality early learning and development." Now, this outfit is partnering with several national organizations that have strong community ties to enhance local support for young children from birth to age three and their families. The Pritzkers, longtime champions of early childhood learning, put up $6.5 million to support a one-year pilot.

J.B. Pritzker is one of a number of Pritzker philanthropists that we keep tabs on. But he stands out for his intense focus on early childhood, talking fervently about the issue and becoming an activist mega-donor in this area. Like many proponents of early childhood learning, he sees interventions focused on the first several years of a child's life as the best possible investment a society can make. He also sees such investments as the best way to level the playing field for low-income kids and children of color.

Pritzker believes the space has been overlooked by philanthropists, and plenty of his giving has the goal of changing that. Back in 2013, he donated $20 million to the Early Childhood Innovation Accelerator to increase the number of programs operating in the space. He's been a supporter of the Chicago-based Ounce of Prevention Fund and one of the founding supporters of the First Five Years Fund, a national organization advocating for early care and learning programs. He's also funded research at the Pritzker Consortium on Early Childhood Development at the University of Chicago.

The organizations partnering on this new Pritzker-backed project include the National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, Center for the Study of Social Policy, National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) and StriveTogether. The partnership plans to make sure kids are ready for kindergarten by focusing on healthy births, supporting families and providing high-quality care and learning environments.

Just how do they plan to accomplish this?

One major way is through supporting city and county officials interested in prioritizing early childhood education and connecting them with like-minded leaders in other jurisdictions to share experiences and best practices. That’s one reason for the inclusion of the city and county associations, which have ties to local leaders across the country.

“While growing numbers of mayors and other city leaders are pursuing early childhood strategies designed to put young children and their families on the path to success, they urgently need promising practices and practical guidance on how to ensure that all children thrive by age three,” said Clifford Johnson, the executive director of the Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, an entity housed within the National League of Cities.

The idea is to build systems locally, and scale them nationally.

Jennifer Blatz, the interim CEO at StriveTogether, another partner, spoke to this, saying, “Through cohort learning and data-driven tools, we will help communities reduce disparities, improve developmental outcomes and identify strategies that can be scaled as national best practices to ultimately support the success of every child in the country.”

It’s worth noting StriveTogether’s involvement in the project. The organization has attracted a lot of philanthropic attention—including a recent $60 million commitment from the Ballmer Group—for its work uniting education leaders from across sectors. Its Cradle to Career Network aimed at improving education outcomes through cross-sector collaboration received support from from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Ballmer Group, the Chan Zuckerberg Institute, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and others. StriveTogether also partnered with the Chan Zuckerberg, the Ford Foundation and several other organizations for the Student at the Center Challenge earlier this month, as we reported.

Lots of grantmaking is going on right now to connect the dots across sectors and change systems with the goal of helping low-income kids of all ages. But the action around early childhood is especially striking, and this new collaboration brought together by the Pritzer's Children Initiative is one more sign that this space is really heating up.


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Another shakeup for Gov. John Hickenlooper as his chief of staff heads for private sector

Monday, November 27, 2017

(The Denver Post) - Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is facing another shakeup in his administration as his chief of staff, Doug Friednash, leaves for a job in the private sector. 

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Without recovery funds, more than 50 Texas day cares close after Harvey

Monday, November 27, 2017

ORANGE — With her husband incarcerated on a murder charge, Jacquene Fontenot single-handedly wakes and dresses five kids under the age of 5 every morning, drops them off at a local child care center and drives two hours to her job as a custodian in central Louisiana. 

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How an Online Personalized Preschool Experiment Could Change the Way Rural America Does Early Education

Monday, November 27, 2017

(The 74) - Garfield County, Utah, is about 5,200 square miles, and has just about as many people.  

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School districts find creative ways to fund pre-K

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

(District Administration) - Big city districts are taking the lead in funding pre-K programs as states work more slowly to expand access.

“While states continue to make progress in expanding access to early education, cities have increasingly taken it upon themselves to supplement those resources with local contributions,” says Albert Wat, senior policy director at the Alliance for Early Success.

Usually, city preschool measures get funded through a dedicated city tax. For example, Denver and San Antonio have expanded access to pre-K through revenues from sales tax. Seattle does so through a property tax, while Philadelphia uses a tax on sodas.

In San Francisco and Wake County, North Carolina, local leaders dedicated funding from the city or county’s general revenues to pre-K programs.

While administrators cannot control tax revenue, they do have control over the use of federal funds, particularly Title I and Title II. ESSA also makes it clear that districts can use Title II funding to support professional development for early childhood educators.

In about a dozen states and the District of Columbia, pre-K is financed through the state’s school funding formula, which means districts are operated as pre-K through 12.

“It’s tremendously successful—it’s built into the K12 formula and is treated like any other grade,” says Megan Carolan, director of policy research at the Institute for Child Success, an independent, nonprofit education research organization.

If a district receives funding to serve preschool students with disabilities, it can use “reverse mainstreaming” to bring in non-special needs students to serve as models in the classroom, says W. Steven Barnett, senior co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

“Essentially you have a lot of infrastructure supported by the preschool special ed program,” Barnett says. “You have a need for integration with non-special needs kids. The marginal cost of adding those kids is very close to zero.”

Early childhood education programs significantly boost students’ chances of educational and economic achievement over the course of their lives, according to a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. And administrators have much to gain from championing preschool, Wat says.

Whether funding comes from local, state or federal sources, administrators who have access to such resources can ensure more children start kindergarten on a stronger footing and ready to engage intellectually and socially.

If a district does not offer pre-K, administrators should learn more about existing early education programs in the community, which may already receive local, state or federal resources. Administrators can also connect with local leaders—including mayors, council members, business leaders and parents—to develop a local financing strategy.

“By partnering with these organizations and pooling resources, district leaders may be able to serve more children, extend the length of the day or provide more services even with limited new dollars,” Wat says.


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