early education

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wants the United States to commit $775 billion to expand access for and lower the cost of caregiving.

The proposal, which Biden outlined in a speech Tuesday afternoon, would emphasize tax credits and state funding subsidies to make child care more affordable and accessible, and make prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds universal.

The Osage Nation will close their 41-year-old Head Start program at the end of June due to budget constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear said the Nation could face a $16 million budget shortfall after casinos were closed for two months.

A photo of a child playing with car toys.
Sandy Millar / Unsplash

Childcare centers across Oklahoma are slowly starting to reopen after the coronavirus forced many to close.

More than 650 out of almost 3,000 childcare centers statewide are temporarily closed because of challenges created by the coronavirus.

A Department of Human Services spokeswoman says those shuttered centers could serve as many as 35,000 children.

Aaron Burden / Unsplash

A national report shows Oklahoma pre-kindergarten programs have strong enrollment numbers and are some of the most accessible in the country. However, preschool funding still hasn’t recovered to pre-recession levels, and coronavirus further threatens one of the few education areas of which Oklahoma is a leader.

Lenora LaVictoire / StateImpact Oklahoma

A controversial proposal in the Oklahoma state legislature would delay the age kids would be eligible to start kindergarten and put Oklahoma on-trend with dozens of other states. But some childhood experts say the trend may not serve Oklahoma kids well.

LLUDO / FLICKR (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

With a huge freshman class and a promise for less gridlock, Oklahoma lawmakers filed more than 2,800 bills this legislative session. With a third of the session now over, the StateImpact team has an update on some bills we’re following.

 

Health

 

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

A bill that would raise the age children can start pre-K and kindergarten is moving through the Oklahoma State Senate.

Right now, a child must turn four-years-old before September 1st to enroll in pre-K or five-years-old to enroll in kindergarten. Senate Bill 11, authored by Greg McCortney (R-Ada), would change that to August 1st, meaning the youngest kids would have to wait a year to enroll.

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Some cities and states have tried implementing universal pre-K. But the idea’s struggled to find a nationwide platform. Could that be changing?


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Our Take A Number series is exploring problems around the world, and people solving them, through the lens of a single number.

Ron Ferguson, an economist at Harvard, has made a career out of studying the achievement gap — the well-documented learning gap that exists between kids of different races and socioeconomic statuses.

But even he was surprised to discover that gap visible with "stark differences" by just age 2, meaning "kids aren't halfway to kindergarten and they're already well behind their peers."

"I want The Three Bears!"

These days parents, caregivers and teachers have lots of options when it comes to fulfilling that request. You can read a picture book, put on a cartoon, play an audiobook, or even ask Alexa.

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