Tennessee Cut Funding For State Pre-K In 2012 Says National Report

Monday, April 29, 2013
Across the country, state funding for pre-K decreased by more than half a billion dollars in 2011-2012, the largest one-year drop ever, says a new study from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), which has tracked state pre-K since 2002.
 
The State of Preschool 2012 yearbook cited two other “firsts”: After a decade of growth, enrollment in state pre-K has stalled. And despite stagnant enrollment, state funding per child fell to $3,841 — well below the $5,020 (inflation-adjusted) national average in 2001-2002.
 
Tennessee spent $240 less per child in 2011 – 2012 than the previous year when adjusted for inflation. Even so, its ranking nationally improved from 15th to 13th, largely due to larger funding declines in other states. There was a slight improvement in access ranking as the state moved from 20th to 19th due to a small increase in enrollment of 4-year-olds in 2011-2012.
 
The quality of Tennessee’s pre-K program is high, achieving nine of NIEER’s 10 benchmarks for quality standards. Research from Vanderbilt University shows that the program has substantial positive effects on children’s language, literacy and math skills. NIEER director Steve Barnett said the $1.2 million increase in the state’s 2013 budget for state pre-K is barely adequate to keep pace with inflation.
 
“Even though the nation is emerging from the Great Recession, it is clear that the nation’s youngest learners are still bearing the brunt of the budget cuts,” Mr. Barnett said. Reductions were widespread with 27 of 40 states with pre-K programs reporting funding per child declined in 2011-2012.
 
The adverse consequences of declining funding were manifested in a retrenchment in program quality as well. Seven programs lost ground against benchmarks for quality standards while only three gained. Only 15 states plus the District of Columbia provided enough funding per-child to meet all 10 benchmarks for quality standards. And, only 20 percent of all children enrolled in state-funded pre-K attend those programs. More than half a million children, or 42 percent of nationwide enrollment, were served by programs that met fewer than half of NIEER’s quality standards benchmarks.
 

Officials said, "Education in the years before kindergarten plays an important role in preparing our youngest citizens for productive lives in the global economy. Yet, our nation’s public investment in their future through pre-K declined during the recent economic downturn at the very time that parents’ financial capacity to invest in their children was hardest hit. America will pay the price of that lapse for decades to come." 

Mr. Barnett also noted that “while the recession greatly exacerbated the decline in funding, there was already a general trend in the states toward declining funding for quality.” He said in this respect, President Obama’s new universal pre-K proposal is especially timely. “We have studied the President’s plan and find it provides states with strong incentives to raise quality while expanding access to pre-K. The plan will assist states already leading the way, states that lost ground during the recession, and the 10 states that still have no state-funded pre-K." 


Hiwassee College Says New Program Provides Safety Net For Students, Helping Graduates Repay Student Loans

Hiwassee College officials said they are so confident in the preparedness of their graduates to enter the workforce that they are further supporting student success after graduation. Beginning in the Fall of 2016, Hiwassee College will provide their new loan repayment assistance program, the Hiwassee College Advantage, to all incoming freshmen students. "Hiwassee College is ... (click for more)

Dr. Chute Named Dalton State's Vice President For Academic Affairs

Dr. Patricia Chute, dean of the School of Health Professions at New York Institute of Technology, has been named vice president for Academic Affairs at Dalton State College effective July 25. Dr. Chute was chosen following a nationwide search and succeeds Dr. Sandra Stone who left the position in October 2014 to serve as regional chancellor of the University of South Florida ... (click for more)

County Commission Told To Fully Fund County Schools Improvement Request Would Take 28 1/2-Cent Property Tax Increase; 78 School Personnel Would Be Added

County Mayor Jim Coppinger told members of the County Commission at a budget workshop on Tuesday that it would take a 28 1/2-cent property tax increase to fully fund the county school budget request. The county schools are asking for $24,218,919 in new money for a focus on workforce readiness, literacy and low-performing schools. County Mayor Coppinger did not say whether ... (click for more)

Judge Poole Rules In Favor Of State On Billy Hawk Murder Cold Case Motions

Criminal Court Judge Don Poole has ruled that the state can introduce at the murder trial of Billy Hawk testimony about his alleged drug involvement with the victim in the case, Johnny Mack Salyer. Hawk is charged in the 1981 murder of Salyer, whose body was found in a 55-gallon drum in the Tennessee River. The witnesses indicated that Salyer was cooperating in the drug case ... (click for more)

Marvelous News From Central High School

To Roy Exum:     With all the recent news of major dysfunctions within our educational system, I thought I might alert you to something better. About a year ago you ventured up Highway 58 to Central High School to represent your late grandfather, Roy McDonald, as he was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus during the annual Senior Day festivities. I sort of expected ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Yes, A Social Experiment

JoeySalads, his screen name, is widely known for his funny pranks except for the fact he calls them “social experiments.” So while we are still on the transgender-restroom issue, our boy JoeySalads got a transgender friend to approve his attire before he tried his luck at entering women’s restrooms. I don’t think you’ll be real surprised at what really happened in this video. Click ... (click for more)