Roundup: Obama Administration May Propose Universal Pre-K & Fish Oil Could Boost IQ
January 28th, 2013 by Paul Nyhan
It is a busy winter for early learning in the public policy and research worlds, and it’s time to catch up.
President Barack Obama is weighing an ambitious new public policy in early learning: universal pre-kindergarten for children from lower and middle-income households, Huffington Post reports.
Whereas Head Start emphasizes things like health, nutrition and emotional development, the new program would integrate preschool into the existing K-12 school system and focus more on academics. It would also expand access to early childhood education beyond lower-income families to eventually include the middle class.
—“Obama Evaluating Early Childhood Education Push In Second Term.” Huffington Post. 1/18/13.
The story raises a series of questions. Dramatically expanding pre-k would be an expensive move at a time when there is little federal money available and looming federal budget-trimming debates. How would the president pay for the new initiative? What vehicle would he tap to expand pre-k, state-sponsored preschool programs? What would happen to Head Start? And is the Obama administration working on a detailed plan? (Early Ed watch reports an Education Department spokesman said the story “contained inaccuracies.”) Check out the story and tell us what you think.
I expect the Obama administration to make a big move in early education this winter. The president’s track record, his relatively short window to launch ambitious new ideas before his second-term hits the expected and historical slowdown and media coverage strongly suggest something is coming. Stay tuned.
Check out Early Ed Watch’s broader and excellent preview of the early learning possibilities in Obama’s new administration, “Questions Swirling Around Obama’s Second-Term Steps on Early Learning.”
Can Fish Oil Boost a Child’s IQ?
A new study found that fish oil, preschool and interactive reading can boost a child’s IQ, ScienceDaily reports.
Supplementing pregnant women and newborns with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, foods rich in Omega-3, were found to boost children’s IQ by more than 3.5 points. These essential fatty acids may help raise intelligence by providing the building blocks for nerve cell development that the body cannot produce on its own.
Early Intervention Gaps
Nationally, the estimated share of the population below age 3 with moderate to severe developmental delays is about 9 percent, but the national average of children served with IDEA Part C funds is only 2.8 percent, and no state exceeds 7 percent.
Check it out.