Learners to Earners: Is Florida Ready?

Florida Chamber Foundation’s annual Learners to Earners Education summit brings together educators, business leaders and elected officials to focus on what the future of Florida’s workforce and education look like.

From cradle to career, Florida wins when communities, education institutions and businesses work together to solve issues surrounding education and workforce needs. Below, WEDU reports live from the Learners to Earners Education Summit and asks, is Florida ready?

A Guide to Early Learning

Career and college readiness efforts frequently focus on ensuring high school students have the skills needed to succeed in postsecondary education or job training. However, the foundation of many skills needed for 21st-century jobs is established in the earliest years.

Early childhood education, particularly between ages 0-8, is essential for a child’s development of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Preparing our youngest students to learn provides a foundation for future success and helps them develop important skills such as self-discipline, persistence and cooperation–skills that are essential to their future success and a quality workforce.

  • Eighty-five percent of brain growth occurs by the time a child is three.
  • Participants in early childhood learning programs are 80 percent more likely to attend college.
  • High quality early childhood education programs increase employability by 23 percent.
  • Adults who attended early childhood programs earn 33 percent higher average salaries.

Florida’s global competitiveness depends on a quality education system, and for us, this commitment must begin early. Investing in high quality early learning can result in significant benefits.

Children Educated in Their First Years Are:

  • 50 percent less likely to need special education,
  • 70 percent less likely to be arrested for a violent crime, and
  • 50 percent less likely to become teen parents.

Resources

  • No Small Matter is a feature-length documentary film and national engagement campaign that brings public attention to this vital question by sharing powerful stories and stunning truths about the human capacity for early intelligence and the potential for quality early care and education to benefit America’s social and economic future

Early Learning Fast Facts on Child Language and Literacy Development Include Information on: 

    • Brain Development
    • Language and Early Literacy Development
    • Book Access for Children

Education Initiatives

 

From Students & Parents to Teacher Development, Supporting Reforms Helps Florida’s Future

 

Why It Matters to Florida

One of the most common concerns we hear from businesses of all sizes is the need for a qualified workforce and highly-trained talent pool. The Florida Chamber believes a talented workforce is Florida’s best long-term economic development strategy. From early learning to lifelong learning, Florida wins when we match business needs with talent. While the teachers’ union continues to put their interests before Florida’s students, the Florida Chamber will continue to fight for students and champion Florida’s entire education system — especially Florida’s future workforce.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

  • Early Learning
    At the Florida Chamber, we recognize that education is not a one-size-fits-all solution. We will continue to ensure parents, students and teachers are equipped with the best educational options for success.
  • Championing School Choice Options and Competition
    Consider this: today’s kindergarten class will be entering the workforce in 2030. Will these students be prepared? Quality early learning opportunities and reading programs can help turn today’s youngest learners into tomorrow’s high-wage earners.
  • Empowering Florida’s Best Teachers
    To ensure America’s best teachers train and remain in Florida, the Florida Chamber will continue to champion additional professional development and benefit options for Florida’s teachers.
  • Investing in Digital and Virtual Education Technology
    Creating a talent pool that can meet the needs of businesses means investing in technology initiatives throughout Florida’s educational systems that fuel options and innovations.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

Florida competition is no longer Georgia or California, but Brazil, India and China. And while reforms continue to move Florida in the right direction our fight is far from over. From championing early learning initiatives to supporting a K-12 system that allows students to succeed, Florida wins when we place the needs of our students before the needs of special interests.

Act Now

A highly-educated workforce drives future private-sector job growth. Be a part of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Business Alliance for Early Learning and help us invest in the future of Florida’s students.

High School Dropouts Lose $250,000 in Lifetime Earnings

How do we ensure that Florida’s children are prepared to succeed in education and in life? It starts with early learning, which sets the foundation for educational achievement and creates a skilled workforce for our businesses and safer, more prosperous communities for all Floridians.

EarlyLearningInfographic

 

Get Involved

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Business Alliance for Early Learning will be hosting Early Learning Roundtables in several communities throughout Florida. If you are interested in attending or would like more information, contact Tracey Lowe at tlowe@flfoundation.org.

Employers urged to partner with schools to improve workforce

By Marcia Heroux Pounds Sun Sentinel

 

Kelly Smallridge tells her employees “first you’re a parent and second you’re an employee.”

Her point: Employers need to do a better job of supporting parents, which she said would lead to more dedicated employees and an improved future workforce.

Smallridge, the mother of three sons and the head Palm Beach County’s Business Development Board, was among leaders who gathered Thursday to talk about “Preventing Florida’s Brain Drain,” part of the county’s effort to improve education and build a stronger workforce.

Other panelists stressed the importance of early childhood education, customizing education to different student levels and getting parents and children accustomed to lifelong learning for the jobs of the future, which won’t look like today’s.

New Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa led off the discussion with the shortage in bus drivers that played a part, along with new technology, in the “debacle” during the county’s first week of school. Many buses were late or failed to show up to pick up students during the first week of school.

He said the situation is just one example where the county will “drive for improvement.”

Avossa, who spent some of his childhood in Vero Beach and was hired from the Altanta school district, said he will strive to create a system that is more nimble and responsive to students, teachers and parents.

“We need business partners, community members and others to say ‘let’s do what’s right for kids,'” he said.

Smallridge said the Business Development Board plans two events next year to bring together educators and business: an education summit, so educators can meet business leaders, and a career showcase focusing on the industries that are increasing jobs in Palm Beach County and how educators and students can prepare for them.

Florida Chamber Executive Vice President Tony Carvajal said half of today’s jobs won’t exist in 2030. “We have to make sure our schools and communities are ready to compete,” he said.

David Lawrence Jr., former publisher of The Miami Herald and now chair of the Children’s Movement of Florida, said the journey to better education begins with early learning. In Florida, “43 percent of third-graders can’t read at a minimally proficient level,” he said.

That has ramifications for the workforce, he said. “It’s an outrage and a scandal that we have an extraordinary number of young people who are in kindergarten or first grade who have already made up their minds they can’t do the work.”

The focus should not always be on a college degree, the panelists said. Technical certifications also prepare students more immediately for the workforce.

“The majority of jobs that this state is going to need do not require a bachelor’s degree,” said Carvajal of the Florida Chamber.

But all jobs will need some kind of advance training, and employers need to remain competitive, he said.

“Someone is waking up overseas and saying I want to get as well-trained and educated as I can. When we say students don’t need a college degree, we lose the race,” Carvajal said

1.3 Million Florida Children Under Age 6 Will Be Part of the Workforce in 2030

Career and college readiness efforts frequently focus on ensuring high school students have the skills needed to succeed in postsecondary education or job training. However, the foundation of many skills needed for 21st-century jobs is established in the earliest years.

Early childhood education is essential for a child’s development of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Preparing our youngest students to learn provides a foundation for future success and helps them develop important skills such as self-discipline, persistence and cooperation–skills that are essential to their future success and a quality workforce.

 

Early-Learning-Infographic

 

Share Your Story:

What is your community doing to improve the quality of early childhood education? We want to hear from you. Email jparrish@flfoundation.org and share your story.

About the Florida Scorecard:

The Florida Scorecard, located at www.TheFloridaScorecard.com, presents metrics across Florida’s economy. Each month, the Florida Chamber Foundation produces a Scorecard Stat that takes an in-depth look at one aspect of Florida’s economy. If you would like additional information on the Weekly Scorecard Stat or on the Florida Scorecard, please contact Dr. Jerry Parrish with the Florida Chamber Foundation at 850.521.1283.

From Learners to Earners – Florida Chamber Education Update

The Florida Chamber believes that a quality education, from early learning to lifelong learning, is Florida’s new economic development strategy. Improving education for a better workforce is a top priority for the Florida Chamber.

This week, the Florida Legislature focused its attention on several Florida Chamber-backed education bills. Below is a compilation of Florida Chamber-backed education bills that saw legislative action this week.

Championing School Choice for Students

  • SB 692 – Sen. Jeff Brandes (R- St. Petersburg
  • HB 7037 – Choice & Innovation Subcommittee and Rep. Bob Cortes (R- Maitland)

    Helps charter schools provide quality education options around the state.

  • SB 1448 –  Sen. John Legg (R- Lutz)
  • SB 1552 – Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Fort Myers)

    Gives parents the opportunity to choose the best learning environment for their students.

Preparing Florida’s Workforce for a Global Economy

  • SB 960 –  Sen. Tom Lee (R- Brandon)

    Allows students to expand their volunteer opportunities.

Empowering Teachers

  • HB 587 – Rep. Ross Spano (R- Riverview)

    Will provide teachers greater professional development opportunities.

Supporting Global Standards for
College and Career Readiness

  • HB 7069 – Education Committee and Rep. Marlene O’Toole (R- The Villages)

    Will help streamline testing process for Florida’s students.

 

Get Involved:

There are many ways to get involved in the Florida Chamber’s long term fight to move Florida’s education system in the right direction.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Introduces Curious World, a New Digital Learning Destination for Preschoolers and Their Families

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced the launch of Curious World, the newest addition to its dedicated suite of programs for early learners, teachers and families, which includes core curriculum, comprehensive assessment tools, and online learning for school and the home. Created by HMH’s early learning experts, Curious World is designed to help families prepare young children for school and the world with fun activities that spark curiosity and help kids meet key developmental milestones.

“The preschool years are the most formative when it comes to cognitive development. Scientific research consistently points to early learning as a key predictor of future academic achievement and lifelong success”
Rooted in the latest research on the science of learning, Curious World provides preschool learning games for parents and children to do together, built on eight key learning areas that map to HMH’s early learning curriculum, including math, literacy and languages and creative expression. CuriousWorld.com is a dedicated website for families, featuring online and offline activity ideas, parent resources, as well as curated book collections that extend early learning at home. The website offers free access to hundreds of activity flashcards designed by our early learning experts, which go well beyond an introduction to the ABCs, colors, shapes and numbers. The site is specifically designed to help parents incorporate school-readiness into everyday life through easy, hands-on experiences.

“The preschool years are the most formative when it comes to cognitive development. Scientific research consistently points to early learning as a key predictor of future academic achievement and lifelong success,” said Susan Magsamen, Senior Vice President, Early Learning, HMH. “Curious World, like all of HMH’s early learning programs, merges science with real-world practice, giving families and caregivers tools to create language-rich, playful learning experiences that build the essential foundation needed to give young children the best start.”

Curious World also includes a new educational app for preschoolers on iPad® and iPhone®, a place for kids to imagine and explore through mobile adventures and activities. Two new characters, Izzy and Mac, as well as iconic HMH literary characters like Curious George and Gossie, guide kids through entertaining activity packs with games, puzzles, stories and more.

Curious World joins HMH’s robust collection of programs that meet early learning needs across the spectrum, including core preschool curriculum, assessment and reporting, as well as at-home learning. Designed to provide teachers and families with intuitive, adaptive and fun resources that meet learning needs both inside and outside the classroom, HMH’s offerings set young children up for successful school careers. Including:

Curiosityville, HMH’s adaptive early learning community, is now available for classroom use as a complement to core curriculum. New features include an Educator Toolbox, which helps teachers monitor student progress across multiple learning areas based on national standards. The Family Hub allows families to play an active role in their child’s classroom experience by offering resources and updates on what’s happening in town.
Splash into PreK is a comprehensive, integrated core curriculum for preschool classrooms, available in English and Spanish. This program, for ages 3-5, encompasses all areas of curriculum and provides strategies that help promote positive behaviors and actions.
REAL (Riverside Assessments of Early Learning by Bruce A. Bracken, Ph.D.) is an innovative web-based suite of early childhood assessment tools designed to measure school readiness, and includes customized content and tools tailored for Head Start, Early Childhood Special Education (IDEA Parts B & C) and Kindergarten Readiness.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s collection of early learning resources will be showcased at the National Association for the Education of Young Children annual conference in Dallas, Nov. 5 -8. HMH’s booth, #546, will host demonstrations of Curious World, Curiosityville and REAL as well as feature presentations from HMH’s SVP of Early Learning, Susan Magsamen.

UF receives $1 million to boost skills of Florida’s early learning educators

GINESVILLE, Fla. — The Jim Moran Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to the University of Florida College of Education to provide access to the latest teaching tools for the state’s 55,000 early learning educators.

The funding will boost the college’s transformational Early Learning Florida program, a first-of-its-kind online professional development system.

“We’re thrilled and grateful,” said Don Pemberton, director of the UF Lastinger Center for Learning, the college’s innovation incubator that is implementing the program. “We’ll use this money to improve learning and development for hundreds of thousands of young children by providing new tools and resources to build the skills of early learning professionals.”

Built through community support, Early Learning Florida offers online and face-to-face instruction and continuing education with the latest course content, plus new certification programs for technical assistance coaches. State-funded stipends for early learning providers who successfully complete the course also are made available.

“By partnering with the Lastinger Center on this innovative initiative, we are helping create a standard for early learning that equips classroom teachers with the knowledge and know-how to provide all our children with a solid foundation for future academic success,” said Jan Moran, chairman and president of The Jim Moran Foundation, based in Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Early Learning Florida dovetails with one of UF’s priority research initiatives to “optimize” early childhood learning and development. Early childhood studies are a vital component of UF’s preeminence push — backed by the Florida Legislature — to become one of the nation’s top 10 public research universities.

Pemberton said The Jim Moran Foundation grant – which will be dispersed in equal payments over the next three years – also serves as an endorsement of the foundation’s belief in the importance of early learning.

“We are humbled to receive such a generous investment in our work from a foundation that honors the memory and extends the legacy of one of Florida’s greatest entrepreneurs and humanitarians,” he said.

The Jim Moran Foundation is one of four major philanthropic organizations that, together, have donated more than $3 million over multiple years to support Early Learning Florida.

The other three contributors are the Helios Education Foundation ($900,000), which supports education reform in Florida and Arizona; the Florida-based Lastinger Family Foundation ($500,000); and $600,000 from an Ohio-based foundation that has asked to remain anonymous.

About The Jim Moran Foundation

Founded by automotive pioneer Jim Moran, the mission of The Jim Moran Foundation is to improve the quality of life for the youth and families of Florida through the support of innovative programs and opportunities that meet the ever-changing needs of the community. The Foundation has invested more than $50 million in education, elder care, family strengthening, and youth transitional living initiatives since its inception in 2000 — with efforts currently focused in Broward, Palm Beach and Duval counties. Through a long-term grant agreement, The Foundation’s significant funders are JM Family Enterprises, Inc., and its subsidiaries, including Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC. It is located at 100 Jim Moran Blvd., Deerfield Beach, Fla. 33442. To learn more, visit www.jimmoranfoundation.org or call (954) 429-2122.

About the UF Lastinger Center for Learning

Part of the University of Florida, the Lastinger Center is the College of Education’s educational innovation incubator. It harnesses the university’s intellectual resources to design, build, field-test and scale models that advance teaching, learning and healthy child development. The center continuously evaluates and refines its work, widely disseminates its findings and roots its initiatives in a growing network of partner sites around the state and country.

Credits
Writer: Stephen Kindland, staff writer, UF College of Education; skindland@coe.ufl.edu

New research underscores critical importance of early learning

By Michael Essany

Neuroscientists and researchers are studying the brain like never before.
The list of reasons would take up this entire blog, but suffice it to say, there are untapped worlds of information to learn about how the brain actually works — and how we can make adaptations or design treatments for those people whose “wiring” is faulty.

There’s no group of researchers more eager than those who specialize in the young brain. Understanding how children learn — and what works best and what doesn’t — is a huge field of current study.
Take the recent work at the University of Washington. There, researchers took a peek inside the brain of a 10-year-old girl.

“The experiment involved the young girl lying flat on her back inside a device which looked something like a huge doughnut. While random letters were presented on a video screen and read out, the 10 year-old wrote down the letter that followed in the alphabet, throughout which time a scanner recorded pictures of her neural tissue,” according to an announcement from those behind the study. “Meanwhile UW researchers Virginia Berninger and radiologist Todd Richards studied the results on a computer screen.”
This investigation group is on the leading edge of brain research, striving to understand what goes on inside youngsters’ brains as they learn to speak, listen, read, and write.
What did researchers discover? For one thing, babies aren’t born with the neural paths needed to establish those skills.

“Throughout our infancy, an intricate blending of genetic make-ups in addition to our early good and bad experiences wire our brain’s cells and areas together,” Richards noted. “Then in time, increasingly advanced networks are formed, which either serve to assist or impede future learning and happiness. It’s the brain’s amazing flexibility throughout a youngster’s first five years that prepares them to learn about their world, but at the same time making them vulnerable if they don’t get the chance to learn about reading and writing from their parents at home.”
Though the brain continues to learn, it appears that the best chance for success comes when learning takes place earlier in life than later.

That mirrors technologies pioneered by organizations like Advanced Brain Technologies, which has discovered that certain techniques can boost early childhood learning.

ABT’s inTime listening program has been shown to help people of all ages, including the very young, focus and learn better through a personalized program of listening training and fun movement activities using body, drum, and voice to help accelerate learning and cope with the rhythms of daily life.

Rhythm and sound frequencies appear to be pathways to better learning. It’s the reason, according to researchers, that children who study a musical instrument often perform better in math. It’s all in the way the brain connects information, patterns, sounds, and more.
While inTime supports social and emotional function, auditory processing, communication, executive function, creative expression, motor coordination, stress response, self awareness, and musicality, there is more research to be done on the many ways in which children can benefit from such early intervention.

Project WoW Grant Encourages Arts, Science and Innovation in Preschoolers

Preparing our youngest students to learn provides a foundation for future success and helps them develop important skills such as self-discipline, persistence and cooperation–skills that are essential to their future success and a quality workforce.

Consider the facts:

  • Eighty-five percent of brain growth occurs by the time a child is three.
  • Participants in early childhood learning programs are 80 percent more likely to attend college.
  • High quality early childhood education programs increase employability by 23 percent
  • Adults who attended early childhood programs earn 33 percent higher average salaries.

In one of the most impressive partnerships this year, Florida Chamber member PNC Foundation has awarded $400,000 to the Orlando Science Center and the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts for their new program: Project WoW (World of Wonder).

According to a Dr. Phillips Center press release:

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the Orlando Science Center (OSC) will partner on a three-year grant to launch Project WoW – “World of Wonder” for 4-year-olds, their families and teachers in Orlando. Project WoW enhances access to arts and sciences for hundreds of pre-k students and their families through classroom and home activities, support of teachers through training and mentors along with special family events at the two centers.

We commend PNC, OSC and the Dr. Phillips Center for their commitment to early learning education and we wish them luck in their new endeavor.

At the Florida Chamber, we continually advocate for programs and initiatives that strengthen the future of our state. Early learning, the literal foundation for life-long learning, is an investment that must not be taken lightly.

Florida’s global competitiveness depends on a quality education system, and for us, this commitment must begin early. This is why the Florida Chamber foundation has created the Business Alliance for Early Learning. Businesses from around the state will tackle a number of issues impacting children ages 0-8. Join us as we engage businesses, families and community leaders in securing Florida’s future through quality early education.

To participate in a Business Alliance conference call or for more information, sign up here or email us at tlowe@flfoundation.org.