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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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pre k messaging positives and pitfalls april 22 2008
Pre-k Messaging:

Positives and Pitfalls?

April 22, 2008

  • 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
messaging research
Messaging Research

Matt MulkeyDirector of CommunicationsPre-K Now

202.862.9864 voice

the abcs of pre k messaging
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”
the pre k now message box
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.
play to your audience
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
prepare for the tough questions
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
prepare for the tough questions8
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
experiences in kansas
Experiences in Kansas

Tom KrebsGovernmental Relations SpecialistKansas Association of School

what are kasb s focus areas
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
steps we took to help
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
kasb regionals october 2007
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
regional forums november 2007
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
more follow up february 2008
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
what s been the impact
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?
tying message to school reform
Tying Message to School Reform

Chrisanne GaylDirector, Federal ProgramsNational School Boards Association(703)

tying pre k to school reform
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.
  • 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

  • The Effects of Universal Pre-K on Cognitive Development
    • Study of Oklahoma’s pre-K program
  • Center for Public Education
on the hill
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)
pre k act
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
committee next steps
Committee Next Steps

Kathleen BranchManager, Federal Advocacy ProgramsNational School Boards

pre k legislative committee next steps
Pre-k Legislative Committee Next Steps
  • Call to Action
  • Feedback from Committee members and members of Congress
  • Survey

Katherine ShekLegislative AnalystNational School Boards Association(703)