Ohio State Offers Aid to Encourage Columbus Preschool Teachers

(Photo: Creative Commons)

(Photo: Creative Commons)

If preschool and child-care teachers want to earn a bachelor's degree and will agree to teach in the city of Columbus, Ohio State University is planning to offer $3.9 million in scholarships to increase their educational training.

The Columbus Dispatch's Lucas Sullivan writes that Ohio State President Dr. Michael V. Drake and Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther announced the program at the Reeb Avenue Community Center. Also in attendance were members of President Obama's cabinet and US Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Jefferson Township).

The program is aimed at producing more and better-qualified teachers and assisting the city in educating young Columbus children.

To apply, a teacher will need at least an associate's degree and must pledge to teach in the city for three years after their graduation. In the next five years, Ohio State will give scholarships to 100 teachers.

The expectation is that the scholarships will benefit Ohio State's Early Head Start Partnership located in six neighborhoods within the city. This organization provides education, health and community support for kids and families who live in at-risk communities. In 2014, the program was chosen to receive a $16.5 million federal grant to assist in the education of children from infants to 3-years-old.

In 2011, President Obama came to Columbus to discuss his American Jobs Act, which, in part, was intended to encourage young people to become educators. Ginther is a supporter of early childhood education and believes that public education should be supported from pre-K through the 12th grade.

Deputy Assistant to the President for Education Roberto J. Rodriguez said:

"What greater pipeline than a pipeline that begins with our community colleges, advances to such a great institution as The Ohio State University, and then moves to our early learning settings."

Early childhood teacher Asyia Haile has been providing childcare for 18 years. She noted that the scholarship would benefit not only herself but the community and the city's children as well, reports Jon Edwards of WCMH-TV Columbus.

Drake told the gathering on Thursday that community engagement, overall achievement, and a person's health are all linked to early childhood experiences and environment.

According to Ginther, the teachers who receive these scholarships are the ones who will be focused on at-risk kids, children who are growing up in poverty, or those young people who need a leg up during the critical preschool year.

Mike McCarthy, reporting for WSYX-TV, shares that Eshelle Yarborough will apply for the scholarship because she, too, has been through challenging times in her life. She is driven to help children and added that she grew up in early Head Start.

A well-known study among educators is the HighScope Educational Research Foundation's Perry Preschool Study. A group of 123 children born into poverty and with a high failure risk in school was chosen and then divided into two groups. One group was given a high-quality preschool education based on participatory learning. The comparison group received no preschool program.

In the most recent iteration of the study, the subjects who were still living were interviewed when the former preschoolers were then 40-years-old. The findings concluded that those who had attended preschool had higher earnings, were better at keeping a job, had broken the law fewer times, and were more likely to have graduated from high school than their counterparts who had not attended preschool.

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