Ready Schools Act of 2011
HighScope Press Release
Contact: Carrie Hernandez
Director, Sales and Marketing
734.485.2000, Ext. 255
For Immediate Release
Ready Schools Act of 2011 Puts Knowledge into Practice; Endorsed by HighScope Educational Research Foundation
YPSILANTI, MI, August 3, 2011 ─ U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio and U.S. Senator Kay Hagan from North Carolina have just introduced a bill called the Ready Schools Act of 2011, a bill aimed at preparing elementary schools to serve all children. HighScope Educational Research Foundation has worked with many communities on this same concept.
"We commend Senators Brown and Hagan for moving this concept into law and encourage legislators to get behind the Ready Schools Act of 2011," said Dr. Larry Schweinhart, president of HighScope. The current environment of early childhood education includes increased spending by states to create new preschool programs and increased federal scrutiny of existing programs. In particular, the emphasis is on whether children leave preschool ready for kindergarten. Although these activities are critical for children to succeed, they tend to focus almost exclusively on the characteristics of the child. Less often is there a consideration of the characteristics of the adults and institutions who are accepting these children into elementary school. Instead of focusing on just the school readiness of children, educators must also consider the concept of ready schools.
The legislation defines a "ready” school as one that "has school principals and educators who understand and use developmentally appropriate curricula, assessments, and teaching practices; involves and engages families; and works cooperatively with the early childhood programs for younger children to create a positive transition into the early grades of school.”
"As children need to be ready to make the most of their school experience, so too do schools need to be 'ready' to meet the diverse needs of young children and their families," stated Dr. Schweinhart. "Therefore, any comprehensive assessment of 'school readiness' needs to include indicators of schools' capacities."
Current thinking on the “ready school” grew out of President George H. W. Bush’s 1989 Education Summit in Charlottesville, Virginia, with the National Governors Association. The National Education Goals Panel (NEGP) and others identified ten important features of schools that indicate they are "ready" to accommodate the varied needs and experiences of young children entering school, and their families. Criteria of "ready schools" include smooth transition between home and school, continuity between early care and education programs and elementary schools, strong leadership, and a commitment to the success of every child.
Since 2003, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, through its investment in their Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK) initiative, has looked for ways to bring parents, community leaders, early childhood professionals, and elementary school representatives together in order to improve child outcomes. Soon into that work the foundation recognized the need to address the ability of schools to serve children who enter school with a wide range of readiness skills. Through a three-year grant provided by Kellogg, HighScope developed the Ready School Assessment to meet this need. Since the grant was completed, HighScope has worked with communities across the country to determine if their elementary schools are ready for our youngest children.
The HighScope Educational Research Foundation is an independent nonprofit research, development, training, publishing and public advocacy organization located in Ypsilanti, Michigan, that was founded in 1970. The Foundation’s principal goals are to promote the learning and development of young children worldwide and to support and train educators and parents as they help children learn. For more information on HighScope, visit www.highscope.org. For more information on the Ready Schools Assessment, contact Cathy Albro at [email protected], or Carrie Hernandez at [email protected].