Ask Bruce Atchison, director of the Early Childhood Institute at the Education Commission of the States, if college- and career-readiness begins in preschool and he answers with a resounding yes.

Executive function and self-regulation—the ability to hold onto and work with information—are key components of workforce readiness, Atchison said.

To be successful in today’s world, every student must graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills needed for success in college, the workforce and life. Experts agree instruction to put students on track for college- and career-readiness can’t wait to begin until kindergarten. This session focused on policies and program solutions to ensure successful and expanded access to preschool education.

In order for the U.S. to maintain its global economic competitiveness, each student must graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills needed for success in college, the workforce and life. But many experts agree high-quality educational programs can’t wait to begin until kindergarten....

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill yesterday that will provide funding for universal prekindergarten in the state. In accordance with the law, three- and four-year-olds will have access to at least ten hours per week of publicly funded pre-k at either public or private schools, including schools outside of their district.

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In North Dakota, the parents of many soon-to-be kindergarten students in the state are getting some early education of their own — up to 16 weeks of programming on child development and the importance of school readiness.
In Minnesota, meanwhile, nearly 113,000 children and their families took part last school year in the state’s Early Childhood Family Education program, which offers everything from local parent-discussion groups and learning activities for children, to home visits and health and child-development screenings.
And this year, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn highlighted a new Birth-to-5 Initiative for his state, an early-childhood program that focuses in part on improving families’ access to community services and training opportunities.

While there may be three Rs in education, policymakers looking to create more high-paying jobs in their states are looking at the two Es—education and economic development. Patrice Cromwell, director of strategic initiatives for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said education and economic development are a natural fit.

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When it comes to offering 4-year-olds the chance to take part in early-childhood education, few states can boast a program as far-reaching as Wisconsin’s. And the state’s 4K program keeps on growing, according to new Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction data.

The 2011-12 school year was a difficult one for pre-K advocates as state funding fell and after a decade of growth, pre-K enrollment stalled.

It is clear we need American students to be more than warehouses of knowledge and information as the expectation has been in the past.  As a nation we must bring our educational system up-to date so students also can apply knowledge and solve complex problems. This begins with high-quality early learning, continues through K-12 then continues until college completion and careers.  Students must be able to work not only independently, but also with each other; they also need to be able to communicate ideas effectively. In short, to be successful in today’s world, every student must graduate from high school college- and career-ready.  In order to ensure student success from early education through college completion and careers policymakers must address these 5 issues as legislatures begin this year.

CSG Director of Education Policy Pam Goins outlines the top five issues in education policy for 2014, including high quality early childhood education and funding, college- and career-readiness, K-12 assessment and accountability systems, the growing use of technology and digital learning, and degree attainment and college completion. 

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