Coach K – Quality Pre-K Is for Everyone

27

Jul
2015
Posted By : Sara Pruzin Comments are off
Categories :Newsroom

Quality Preschool Is a Win for Everyone | Commentary

Georgia Tech v. Duke.  Duke won 72-66.  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski honored for 1000th win which occurred two games previous.  Wednesday February 4, 2015. (Jon Gardiner/Duke Photography)

Georgia Tech v. Duke. Duke won 72-66. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski honored for 1000th win which occurred two games previous. Wednesday February 4, 2015.
(Jon Gardiner/Duke Photography)

Just eight and a half minutes into our ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament semifinal, the scoreboard read “Notre Dame 18, Duke 5.”

As the coach of the guys who had 5 points, this was a less-than-ideal scenario.

We eventually lost, 74-64. The lesson? Falling behind is a tough obstacle to overcome, even if there’s a lot of time left on the clock.

Being talented helps. Hard work matters, too. But, even with ability and effort on your side, facing a sizable early deficit makes it difficult to win ballgames.

Unfortunately, the grim message on the scoreboard that night in March is an apt metaphor for the situation in which many young children find themselves today.

At-risk kids who can’t access high-quality preschool experiences face an early deficit of their own — except the stakes are much higher than the outcome of a basketball game.

Wisconsin v Duke.  NCAA Championship. Duke won 68-63.  Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis, IN.  April 6, 2015. (Jon Gardiner/Duke Photography)

Wisconsin v Duke. NCAA Championship. Duke won 68-63. Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis, IN. April 6, 2015. (Jon Gardiner/Duke Photography)

Without the benefit of quality early education, children’s math and literacy skills can be up to 18 months behind those of their more-advantaged peers by the time these kids start kindergarten. Adults may not see an 18-month deficit as insurmountable, but remember that a year and a half represents nearly one-third of a 5-year-old’s life.

That’s a huge disadvantage. Far worse than being down by 13 points in a basketball game. These children might be scrambling to catch up for the rest of their education — and possibly for the rest of their lives.

That’s bad for the children, bad for their teachers and bad for the country.

Helping kids erase that learning gap is one reason I established the Emily K Center, named in honor of my mother, in 2006. I care deeply about making sure children have the resources they need to compete. All of us at the center want kids to dream big, act with character and purpose, and reach their potential as leaders in their communities. The center provides a variety of services that prepare kids from low-income families for success at all levels of education.

The experience of working with the Emily K Center reinforced my understanding of just how challenging school can be for underprivileged children. Children who aren’t “ready to learn” when they begin kindergarten face a major uphill battle.

Research highlighted by Champions for America’s Future shows that quality early learning experiences help kids develop social skills that support academic achievement. These experiences form a foundation for math and literacy so children are ready to learn when they begin kindergarten.

Quality early-education programs can help lead to higher rates of high-school graduation, college attendance and employment, and they promote a lifelong culture of health. Children everywhere need to have the best chance possible to reach those results.

We now have an incredible opportunity to help these children.

Congress has begun to take important, bipartisan steps to make quality early learning available to more kids. They’re doing that through reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the education law that promotes educational opportunity for all children.

An amendment added to the Senate bill while in committee would give states and communities more funding to create and improve access to quality preschool programs, especially for kids from low- and moderate-income households. Today, hundreds of thousands of families can’t afford preschool, which costs an average of $4,000 to $13,000 per year, depending on location.

But Congress needs not only to reauthorize the ESEA, but also to include this critical funding stream in the final version. I sincerely hope our leaders in Washington will recognize that learning begins at birth, not on the first day of kindergarten.

Access to high-quality early education is essential to preparing kids to be as competitive as possible in their academic careers and beyond. Success in the modern workplace is based largely on abilities that begin to develop in the preschool years, such as collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. We want children to have those skills.

Our basketball team was able to recover from that setback against Notre Dame and go on to win a national championship. But too many children who fall behind in their learning won’t have the luxury of another chance at victory. If they can’t beat the odds and rally, their game will be over.

Giving young children the educational opportunities they deserve will make winners of us all.

Mike Krzyzewski is the head men’s basketball coach at Duke University and the founder of the Emily Krzyzewski Center in Durham, N.C.

To read the article, click here

Photos credited to: Duke Photography / Duke Sports Information.

177014_wofford002

 

 

Judi Brown Clarke: All Kids Deserve Educational Opportunities

27

Jul
2015
Posted By : Sara Pruzin Comments are off
Categories :Newsroom

Judi Brown Clarke diversity director for the National Science Foundation’s Bio-Computational Evolution in Action Consortium at MSU.

Competition on the world stage is personal to me, but it’s more than just athletics. Representing the United States at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles is one of the great honors of my life. Part of that honor comes from the passion and support I felt from my fellow Americans. Millions of Americans watched on television and opened their newspapers each day to follow our progress as we won a record 83 gold medals.

The pride I feel about how well our country performed athletically in 1984 is equaled by the concern I feel about how our country is performing academically today: American children rank 27th among developed nations in math achievement, 17th in reading, and 20th in science. Here in Michigan, only 37% of fourth-graders are proficient in math, 30% are proficient readers, and nearly a quarter of our students fail to graduate from high school on time.

As a Lansing City Council member and someone who has worked in education for decades, I know the nation’s interest in and support for our Olympic athletes sadly doesn’t match the outcry over our grim academic statistics.

The path to academic improvement can be likened to an athlete’s Olympic journey. None of us simply showed up expecting to medal. We began our training as children, building on a foundation of early development, with support from our families, coaches and others who prepared us to be our best.

The same principle holds true when it comes to the impact of quality early learning.

Research highlighted by Champions for America’s Future speaks to this impact. Here in Michigan, a long-term study of kids in our Great Start Readiness program showed a 35% increase in high-school graduation rates compared to kids who didn’t participate.

Many of these benefits extend into the workforce. By age 40, individuals who had been served by Michigan’s Perry Preschool program were earning 36% more than those who hadn’t.

Today, our nation has a terrific opportunity to put more kids on that track toward success. Congress is considering steps to increase access to quality early-learning experiences through the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the law that promotes educational opportunity for all children.

A dedicated funding stream for quality early education through a renewed ESEA would provide Michigan’s Great Start Readiness Program — the state-funded preschool program — with resources that would enable many more children to participate. It would be a competitive step toward a stronger future workforce.

While the honor of Olympic achievement is bestowed upon a select few, the challenge facing our kids and our nation affects everyone. Let’s demonstrate we’re up to the task by ensuring all children are prepared to go the distance as competent students and citizens in the years to come.

Judi Brown Clarke is diversity director for the National Science Foundation’s Bio-Computational Evolution in Action Consortium at MSU.

To read the article, click here

Champions for America’s Future joins the Congressional Women’s Softball Game

01

Jul
2015
Posted By : Sara Pruzin Comments are off
Categories :Newsroom

On Wednesday, June 24, members of Champions for America’s Future helped out with the 7th annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game in Washington, D.C., where female members of Congress and the Press battled each other in a friendly game to raise funds and awareness for young women with breast cancer. Champs member Shelley Smith, a legendary ESPN journalist and breast cancer survivor, threw the honorary first pitch, while Carol Hutchins (“Hutch”), head coach of the University of Michigan‘s softball team, served as an umpire for the game.

Check us out on Facebook and Twitter

06

Apr
2015
Posted By : Sara Pruzin Comments are off
Categories :Newsroom

Facebook
Twitter

 
Champs

Michigan Law Enforcement, Business, Faith-Based, Sports, and Retired Military Leaders Release Video: Tout Benefits of High-Quality Preschool—Two Years Best

09

Mar
2015
Posted By : Sara Pruzin Comments are off
Categories :Newsroom

(LANSING, MI) — Michigan leaders today released a new video touting that high-quality preschool helps to lay the foundation for a child’s success in school and beyond.

The leaders in law enforcement, business, faith-based organizations, sports, and the retired military released the video on behalf of Council for a Strong America (CSA) and its five membership organizations under its umbrella. The CSA nonprofit organizations comprise the unique and powerful voices of leaders in the five different sectors who are working to ensure young Michiganians have access to high-quality early childhood care and education proven to prepare individuals for success.
(more…)

Herschel Walker, Hazel Clark and Esther Lofgren meet with legislators to promote quality physical education

06

Mar
2015
Posted By : Sara Pruzin Comments are off
Categories :Newsroom

Champions members Hazel Clark, Olympic Middle-Distance Runner, and Esther Lofgren, Olympic Gold Medal Rower, and Herschel Walker participated in the Sports and Fitness Industry Association’s National Health Through Fitness Day (NHTF Day) on March 4. Their efforts were aimed toward passing major U.S. legislation to “Get America Moving.” Our champions joined the sports industry in advocating for the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP)—the only federal funding for P.E.  We believe quality P.E. is essential to increase both health and academic outcomes for all students, and since the average school P.E. budget is only $764, PEP funding is an important catalyst for increasing access to strong P.E. programs nationally.

 

Michigan members salute state legislators

30

Jan
2015
Posted By : Sara Pruzin Comments are off
Categories :Newsroom

(Lansing) — Champions for America’s Future – Michigan (Champs-MI), a national bipartisan membership organization of athletes and coaches who have come together to make sure every child has the best chance to compete in life,  paused in December to salute the leadership of state legislators with the 2014 “Mover & Shaker Award.”
(more…)

EDITORIAL: Two steps for smarter, healthier students

22

Sep
2014
Posted By : Sara Pruzin Comments are off
Categories :Newsroom

by Lisa Fernandez, pitcher on the U.S. Olympic Gold medal softball teams on 1996, 2000 and 2004 and a Champions for America’s Future member

Long Beach Press Telegram, September 4, 2014—Many students heading back to school this year will find they have lost significant academic ground during the summer. Many will also be a lot heavier as a result of physical inactivity and unhealthy diets. As a parent and coach, I know of two simple ways to address these problems.

To tackle “summer learning loss” we must first recognize its disproportionate impact on kids from economically challenged families which cannot afford access to camps, museums and other educational activities that strengthen cognitive development. Through my involvement with Champions for America’s Future, a nonprofit organization that supports children’s health and educational success, I believe we can address this inequity by ensuring more kids are involved in meaningful learning activities over the summer and all year long.
(more…)

EDITORIAL: High quality preschool helps kids excel in life

04

Jun
2014
Posted By : Sara Pruzin Comments are off
Categories :Newsroom

by John Geddert, 2012 USA Gymnastics Olympic Team head coach, and a Champions for America’s Future member

The Lansing State Journal, May 22, 2014—One of the best things we can do in society is to help kids succeed. It’s a win-win situation when that happens.

I see this play out in the gymnasium every day. Gymnastics is a technically demanding sport. Our athletes have to be extremely bright to understand the complexities of what the sport involves. They also need the social skills to get along with teammates, and the emotional fortitude to succeed. That foundation is built during their early years. These kids have parents who are involved in their development and who understand that good habits early on are required for success.

Research shows at-risk kids who access high-quality preschool can also be better competitors in school and beyond. In the long run, it costs far less for taxpayers when kids grow into individuals who add to the tax base. The benefits of success are tremendous.

Time and again, we get things right. Ensuring that high-quality preschool is accessible is one of the things we get right in Michigan.

 

VIDEO: Olympic Silver Medalist featured in 60-second video by law enforcement, military, business, faith, and sports leaders

12

May
2014
Posted By : Sara Pruzin Comments are off
Categories :Newsroom

This is a timely message from Judi Brown Clarke, Olympic Silver Medalist, 1984, as lawmakers consider legislation this year on a state/federal partnership to ensure that at-risk 4-year-olds have access to high-quality preschool — a proven tool to help kids establish the foundation to gain knowledge and technologically-based skills for the 21st Century workforce.  Those skills will help kids to succeed in school, sports, and jobs.

Judi joined members of five nonprofit membership organizations that are working together to ensure Michigan preschoolers have access to high-quality early childhood care and education proven to prepare individuals for success in school, sports, and life.

High-quality preschool can help young children build essential academic, emotional, and social skills that are critical for later success. At-risk children who attend high-quality early education programs are less likely to need special education, less likely to commit crimes, and more likely to graduate high school.

 

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Facebook