Guest column: Higher ed prep needs to start early

By Kathy Harris

Idaho is one of only five states that doesn’t provide funding for preschool, writes Kathy Harris.

At his 2017 Address, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced education as a top priority. Part of this focus is the creation of a higher education task force in an effort to meet a goal he set to have 60 percent of Idaho’s 25-34 year olds holding a post-secondary degree by 2020. Also as part of this effort, Gov. Otter organized a K-12 task force that met in 2013.

Pocatello Women Earn National Head Start awards

POCATELLO — Three women who dedicate time and effort to the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District's Head Start program will receive national recognition in Nashville, Tennessee, this week.

After receiving Idaho and Region 10 awards earlier this year, Kaylin White has been named national Support Staff of the Year winner; Farhana Hibbert, Parent of the Year; and Gabriela Gonzalez, the Ron Herndon Head Start Parent Scholarship recipient. White and Hibbert will be in Nashville on Thursday at the National Head Start Association Conference and Expo to receive their awards and accept the scholarship on behalf of Gonzalez.

OP-ED: The Benefits of Head Start | Bill Foxcroft

On this 50th anniversary of Head Start, the most successful and longest running national school readiness program in the U.S., it is important to celebrate, but also to address some of the serious misperceptions and misunderstanding about the value and effectiveness of Head Start. 

First, the evidence is clear that children who enter school not ready to learn, are disadvantaged throughout their lives - they are likely never to “catch up” in their ability to read, learn and succeed. This is most evident for children living in poverty; in these kids there is a long term, persistent achievement gap. They are over-represented in statistics of reading failure and school drop-out rates.  Head Start represents a national commitment to providing early learning opportunities for these low income and vulnerable young children and comprehensive supports to help their families achieve long-term stability and success. The Head Start premise is simple but powerful: every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to reach their full potential if given the opportunity.

OP-ED: Early childhood education impacts parents, too | By William Strength

Sometimes lessons come from the most unexpected places. It’s natural to associate early learning programs with the growth and development of children, but what about parents? That is my story.

My young life was spent between two impoverished homes, rife with addiction. My mother was a gambling addict who played away all our money at the casino, despite the lack of food in the house. My father fostered a drug habit that often turned him violent and left no financial resources for food. He was arrested many times for violent crimes and drugs. As such, my school-aged life was spent on the move with little regard given to my education.

Letter to the Editor: A Head Start for Idaho Families | By Cathy Brey and Kaylin White

As the nation celebrates Head Start Awareness Month and Head Start’s 50th Anniversary this October, we must make clear to leaders in Washington that Idaho’s at-risk children and families depend on the critical services provided by Head Start.