Pressure : 29.65 in
Dewpoint : 57.9 °
Wind : North
Lincoln summit illustrates importance of early childhood education
As Nebraska lawmakers return to the capitol for the 103rd legislative session, one of the big issues they'll have to tackle is the budget.
But it's a better scenario than they faced two years ago.
Which means the Legislature is expected to look to expand or create new state programs. One of those efforts could be in early childhood education.
"The fact that we can show that this is actually happening in Nebraska is going to be huge," said Rene Franklin, The Learning Community, Omaha.
New research being done by the University of Nebraska Lincoln shows some alarming facts when it comes to early education.
"Nearly 40% of Nebraska's young children are at risk of school failure," said Dr. Lisa Knoche, UNL.
The study by UNL began in August and is expected to be completed later this year.
This study coincides with new data released on early and the economy.
"There are three groups, children and families where the parents are both college educated, children and families where neither the parents had a high school diploma and were kind of working poor and the third group are families where neither parent graduated high school and the families are on public assistance," Dr. Jack Shonkoff.
This first of its kind data was conducted by Harvard researchers and released to Nebraska educators here at the Cornhusker Hotel for the second annual early childhood data summit.
But the data released, doesn't surprise some educators.
"In terms of the brain development that the children go through, I mean, that's something we've always known about, but nobody's been able to explain why or how to intervene," said Franklin.
Doctor Jack Shonkoff, Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University spoke at the summit, and explained why the early years are so important.
"When children have positive experiences the brain builds healthy strong circuitry and when children either don't have the kind of experiences they need or when they face significant adversity it can disrupt that circuit," said Shonkoff.
Over a dozen state senators attended the presentation including Senator Kate Sullivan, chairperson of the education committee.
A strong emphasis on early education could come out of this year's session.
"Early childhood education and programming when implemented well, can support the development of such a workforce," said Knoche.
KHASTV on Facebook