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Pre-k Messaging: Positives and Pitfalls? April 22, 2008 Agenda Messaging Research Matt Mulkey, Pre-k Now Experiences in Kansas Tom Krebs, KASB Tying Message to School Reform Chrisanne Gayl, NSBA Committee Next Steps Kathleen Branch, NSBA Your Questions Moderated by Katherine Shek, NSBA

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Pre-k Messaging:

Positives and Pitfalls?

April 22, 2008


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Agenda

  • Messaging ResearchMatt Mulkey, Pre-k Now

  • Experiences in KansasTom Krebs, KASB

  • Tying Message to School ReformChrisanne Gayl, NSBA

  • Committee Next StepsKathleen Branch, NSBA

  • Your QuestionsModerated by Katherine Shek, NSBA


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Messaging Research

Matt MulkeyDirector of CommunicationsPre-K Now

202.862.9864 voice

[email protected]

www.preknow.org


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The ABCs of Pre-k Messaging

  • “Pre-kindergarten” and “pre-k” convey a program that is:

    • educational in nature;

    • connected and aligned with K-12 continuum; and

    • intended for three- and/or four-year-old children.

  • “Pre-k for all” – not “universal pre-k”

  • Positive words and phrases to use with “pre-k”

    • “voluntary”

    • “quality” or “high-quality”

    • “effective”

    • “research-based”

    • “lasting benefits”


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The Pre-k Now Message Box

  • Pre-k benefits all children.

    • Pre-k should not be considered a special program for the disadvantaged or a privilege for the wealthy.

  • Pre-k is a proven solution.

    • Decades of solid research have proven that children who attend high-quality pre-k have stronger social, reading, and math skills.

  • Pre-k is the first step to improving K-12 education.

    • Children who attend high-quality pre-k are better prepared for school and require less special attention, allowing teachers to spend more time teaching all students.


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Play to Your Audience

  • With parents & families (the general public):

    • emphasize social and emotional benefits

    • stick to shorter-term benefits

    • stress “voluntary” and “for all”

  • With business & community leaders:

    • emphasize benefits to workforce and quality of life

    • talk about pre-k’s return on investment and savings

  • With existing pre-k or child care providers:

    • emphasize collaboration (“diverse delivery”) and improvements to quality and compensation

    • talk about maximizing resources and serving more children, not creating competition


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Prepare for the Tough Questions

  • How much will this cost?

    • Have numbers ready, even if just a range

    • Talk about return on investment and savings

  • Don’t the benefits fade out over time?

    • Never use the words “fade out”

    • Talk about the many lasting benefits

    • Note that remediation can work but is costlier

  • Do teachers really need a bachelor’s degree?

    • Stress that programs with bachelor-degreed teachers have strongest evidence on benefits and that the quality of the teacher is the single most important factor in achieving positive outcomes for children


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Prepare for the Tough Questions

  • Why should we pay for rich kids?

    • Point out that many children from middle- and upper-income families enter school unprepared

    • Talk about collective benefits and consequences

  • Isn’t this going to put private providers out of business?

    • Stress that just the opposite is true; effective programs collaborate and, through incentives and technical assistance, improve quality and stability

  • Doesn’t “diverse delivery” mean school vouchers?

    • Stress that they are worlds apart; “diverse delivery” uses contracts and insists on high quality standards


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Experiences in Kansas

Tom KrebsGovernmental Relations SpecialistKansas Association of School [email protected]


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What Are KASB’s Focus Areas?

  • Build coalitions between the multitude of stakeholders/providers

  • Assist in the support of legislative and executive branch leaders who support early childhood and Pre-K efforts

  • Educate/re-educate public and membership about the need for Pre-K and early childhood programs


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Steps We Took To Help

  • Started meeting early on with stakeholders and assisted in coalition efforts

  • Assessed what was present in Kansas schools and districts in ways of programs

  • Developed contact list of policy makers

  • Held regional forums with stakeholders

  • Developed a comprehensive Pre-K early childhood policy for KASB


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KASB Regionals, October 2007

  • We held 10 KASB regional meetings where the key issue of Pre-K and early childhood education were discussed with our members

  • 5-15 board members and/or superintendents

  • Focus was sharing research from the Center on the Developing Child

    • http://www.developingchild.harvard.edu/


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Regional Forums, November 2007

  • Partnered with the Kansas Coalition for School Readiness,

    • Has built a private-public partnership

    • Been a player this legislative session

  • Each drew 20-100 participants

  • Built large data base for identifying, articulating concerns

  • http://www.kasb.org/forums%20data.pdf


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More Follow-Up, February 2008

  • ½ day of Governmental Relations Seminar dedicated to Pre-K progress

    • Investing in Early Childhood – The National Perspective

    • Investing in Early Childhood – The Legislative Perspective

    • School Readiness in Kansas – Issues in the 2008 session

    • School Readiness Programs Overview

  • Held ½ day conversation with board members and Pre-K leaders


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What’s Been the Impact?

  • Lack of legislative champions, money translates to few successes to date

    • Governance bills sailed through Senate, then stalled

    • New tobacco money could get picked off

    • New/better educated legislators, who get more pressure from home, particularly board members

  • Common board member comment: It’s necessary, but where’s the money?


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Tying Message to School Reform

Chrisanne GaylDirector, Federal ProgramsNational School Boards Association(703) [email protected]


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Tying Pre-k to School Reform

  • Children who have attended high-quality pre-k are better readers in elementary school than their peers who have not attended pre-k.

  • Children who have attended high-quality pre-k show higher achievement on math assessments.

  • High-quality pre-k is critical to helping districts and states meet the goals and expectations of No Child Left Behind.


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Research

  • The Effects of State Pre-kindergarten Programs on Young Children's School Readiness in Five States

    • Examines the effects of state-funded programs in Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia

      http://nieer.org/docs/?DocID=129

  • The Effects of Universal Pre-K on Cognitive Development

    • Study of Oklahoma’s pre-K program http://www.apa.org/journals/releases/dev416872.pdf

  • Center for Public Education

    • www.centerforpubliceducation.org


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On the Hill

  • Update on No Child Left Behind

  • Possible Stand-Alone Legislation

  • H.R. 3289 – Providing Resources Early for Kids Act “Pre-K Act” introduced by Rep. Hirono (D-HI)


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Pre-K Act

  • Provides grants to states to:

    • Increase the number of early childhood educators with BA degrees

    • Improve student-teacher ratios; decrease group size

    • Provide comprehensive services such as health screenings and nutritional assistance

    • Increase the hours/day and weeks/year of programs

    • Expand programs provided certain quality indicators are met

  • Authorized at $ 1 billion for each of next 5 years


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Committee Next Steps

Kathleen BranchManager, Federal Advocacy ProgramsNational School Boards [email protected]


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Pre-k Legislative Committee Next Steps

  • Call to Action

  • Feedback from Committee members and members of Congress

  • Survey


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Questions?

Katherine ShekLegislative AnalystNational School Boards Association(703) [email protected]


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