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." 

Learning Blade Announces "Hack Attack" Computer Science Mission

Chattanooga-based Thinking Media’s Learning Blade announced the new “Hack Attack” Computer Science Mission to over 400 attending the Arkansas Public School Resource Center (APSRC) Annual Conference in Hot Springs this week. Arkansas has led the nation by the passage of Computer Science Education and Jobs Act of 2015, which provides computer coding classes to all Arkansas high ... (click for more)

Baylor Elects 2016-17 Honor Council

Members of Baylor's 101st Honor Council have been elected for the 2016-17 school year.  They are Trey Freeman '18, Annie Dethero '17, Alison Anderson '17, Lauren King '17, David Thompson '17, Ashton Jenne '17, Kristopher Kennedy '19, Connor Duffy '20, Chase Radpour '20, Jonyca Jiao '19, Sarah Talley '18, Matthew Davis '18, Alex Robinson '19 and Mats Pokela '18.  ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Lacie Stone Were At Swanky New York City Hotel While Bobby Stone Was Plying The River

Mayor Andy Berke's top advisor Lacie Stone accompanied him on a trip to New York City on April 12-13 and they ended up at a swanky spot where Ms. Stone's husband, Bobby, had taken her before. They sat at the Stones' favorite table.   Bobby Stone, who has accused his wife of having an affair with the mayor, has said that Lacie Stone told him that she and the mayor kissed ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Family Of 7; Blaze Ruled Accidental

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire on Saturday afternoon that displaced a family of seven. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 4:11 p.m. and responded to 3308 Dodson Ave. with five fire companies. Captain Wadie Suttles with Engine 4 said heavy fire was showing when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. As additional firefighters ... (click for more)

Please, No Short Term Vacation Rentals In My Neighborhood

Approval of the short term vacation rental item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday  will be the next step toward commercializing our residential properties and communities to benefit those more interested in making money than preserving an old, well-established, rich community of like-minded families.    Anything requiring a business license is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Vol Is Worth $521,854

The definition for the term “fair market value,” this from the IRS tax code, “is the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.” So a recent article in Business Insider has just revealed a University of Tennessee scholarship ... (click for more)