Early Childhood Education

Maurice Quiroga of PNC Bank believes the first five years of a child's life are critical in long-term development.
PNC Bank

Early childhood programs have become a focus for those trying to improve the educational and social development of preschoolers. Finding what works has also been a key component in the attempts to lessen the achievement gap and other challenges some students in underserved communities experience later in life.

St. Louis Economic Development Partnership website

The global manufacturing company Emerson is upping its investment in the Ferguson community to show "renewed commitment" to the place it has been headquartered for 70 years.

"We choose to be here and are committed to this community, especially now in its increased time of need," chairman and CEO David Farr said in a press release. "We...want to help remove barriers so that more of our neighbors can succeed."

teacher with two young children
U.S. Department of Education

Over the years, many studies have shown the benefits of pre-school and early childhood education. Recently those studies have been re-analyzed and confirmed to be accurate and correct. Thus, many states -- whether the voters are predominantly Democrat or Republican -- have implemented pre kindergarten and early childhood education programs.

(via Flickr/katerha)

Missouri has awarded an additional $4.2 million in grants to improve facilities at six child care centers around the state.

Gov. Jay Nixon is touting the funding through the Department of Economic Development as part of what he calls the "Missouri Start Smart" initiative to expand access to early childhood education.

The money will help expand three preschool facilities in the St. Louis area, one in the Macon area in northern Missouri, and one each in the Calhoun and Polo school districts in western Missouri:

(Courtesy University City Children's Center)

The eighth annual concert to benefit the tuition assistance program at University City Children's Center will be held next Saturday at Powell Hall. Melissa Brooks, Associate Principal Cellist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, pianist Ruth Price with the St. Louis Children's Choirs and pianist Catherine Kautsky, Professor of Music at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music will all be performing.

The program is titled "Fairy Tales Do Come True," but it is not a concert aimed specifically for children.

(via Flickr/katerha)

During the State of the Union Address in February, President Obama announced a plan for "Preschool for All," which would provide federal funding to states to expand early childhood education. On a recent trip to St. Louis, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reiterated that early childhood education is a priority for the president.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Federal student loan interest rates will double in the next few days, unless Congress can agree on a solution.

Republicans are adamant that the rate be linked to the financial markets, while Democrats would like Congress to set the rates. The prospect of a last-minute compromise seems unlikely.

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was in St. Louis Thursday, and told reporters that lawmakers are working on a compromise.

(via Flickr/Hakan Dahlstrom)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation redirecting casino fees to nursing homes for military veterans.

The legislation signed into law Wednesday provides a dedicated funding stream for the state's seven nursing homes that serve about 1,300 veterans.

Casinos already pay a per-person fee to the state. Most of that money has gone to early childhood programs. But the new law redirects the bulk of those fees to veterans homes.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to a plan that would cut the amount of money available for state lottery prizes to increase funding for state-run veterans homes.

The legislation would reduce lottery prize funds by about 3.5 percent and put the money toward early childhood education programs that currently get funds from the Missouri Gaming Commission. Gaming Commission money now used for early childhood education would instead go to veterans' homes.