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Governors Key to Early-Childhood and K-12 Improvement, Group Says

Momentum around improving early-childhood education has never been stronger (think Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge), and the same can be said of K-12 schooling (there's the Common Core State Standards and Race to the Top, to name a few). But unless the goals and plans for each match up and reinforce one another, states will fall short of maximizing the potential for driving up achievement levels for all students.

That's the central message in a new white paper published today by the National Governors Association, which calls for states' chief executives, if they haven't already, to take a more active role in bringing the too-often separate worlds of early-childhood education and K-12 closer together to plan policy and adopt practice.

NGA outlines steps for governors and their staff members to take in several key areas that get to the goal of having early-childhood improvement initiatives reinforce those in the K-12 realm, and vice versa. Those areas include: governance, early-learning standards, assessment, developing teacher capacity, and making decisions about state spending and resource allocation.

The main takeaway from this NGA set of recommendations is that governors, and, to some extent, state superintendents, need to involve themselves a whole lot more in their states' respective early-childhood reform efforts, as most already do on the K-12 end of things.

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