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December 15, 2009

Bureaucratic Social-emotional Development

Kathleen-sebelius-janey-napolitano-arne-duncan-2009-10-21-11-42-7 It seems that the federal government is finally realizing that learning does not start at age six. A recent research summit at Georgetown University, reported on by Lisa Guernsey at Early Ed Watch, brought together the federal departments of Education and Health and Human Services. The summit focused on the latest research into early learning and professional development. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services and Arne Duncan Secretary of Education literally rubbed elbows as they shared common ground on the importance of early learning.

Collaboration between departments of education and health and human services has been long-in-coming. David Kirp first discussed the idea of Head Start, a Health and Human Services program learning how to share the pre-k sandbox with state-funded preschool programs. The overlapping services and, in some models, braided funding of state and federal monies has spurred the social emotional development of some governmental bureaucracies. Let's hope that the country catches on and starts to think of service delivery to children first before thinking about which program will deliver it.
 
This melting away of the distinctions between education and childcare can only lead to more respect for preschool teachers and hopefully, a more child-friendly entry into the educational system. If this happens then we might see a shift in the reason for pre-k. Instead of pre-k getting kids ready for school, with more collaboration between departments of education and human services, schools could become more ready for kids. In states this is already happening. Is it happening in yours?

Image: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2009/10/22/2009-10-22_production_of_swine_flu_vaccine_is_way_behind_government_promised_.html

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