Volume 1, Issue 1

September 27, 2002

Hot Topics

Award-winning education journalist John Merrow reports the United States has a patchwork of preschools, many with weakly trained, poorly paid staff. Read about the issues Merrow is raising in a NIEER Hot Topic report and take part in our online discussion.
USA Today’s September 19th editorial “Out-of-date legislatures overlook value of preschool” was accompanied by NIEER data showing how much preschool rates vary among states. In the opposing view, David Salisbury of the Cato Institute argued “Preschool is Overhyped”. NIEER entered the debate with a response on our website.

NIEER Activities

Head Start produces substantial long-term educational benefits, but increased funding and higher standards can result in even greater gains for children. That was the message NIEER Director W. Steven Barnett presented Sept. 13 at a Congressional Science and Public Policy briefing.
Press release
Briefing paper
Linda M. Espinosa, the new Co-Director of Research and Policy at NIEER, says America is ready for a major breakthrough in providing quality preschool. More
Dorothy Strickland, a leading expert on early literacy education, has become the first African-American woman to hold an endowed chair at Rutgers University. Strickland, a senior research fellow at NIEER, was recently invested as the Samuel DeWitt Proctor chair at Rutgers Graduate School of Education.

New on nieer.org

NIEER brings you the latest national data on how many 3- and 4-year olds are in preschool, including new state figures just released by the Census Bureau. NIEER also looks at regional differences and leading predictors for preschool enrollment. View Fast Facts
NIEER provides the number of 4-year olds enrolled in Head Start and state-funded prekindergarten programs for each state. View State Databank
Your comments can help authors revise new research papers for publication. Read and join online discussion on these papers:
"Set for Success: Building a Strong Foundation for School Readiness Based on the Social-Emotional Development of Young Children" is a new report on the importance of social and emotional school readiness released by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Included is a chapter on The Connections Between Social-Emotional Development and Early Literacy by Linda M. Espinosa, NIEER’s Co-Director. View study


October 18, 2002 - October 19, 2002
East Brunswick, NJ -- Conference for early childhood teachers and advocates includes session on literacy with NIEER Director Steve Barnett and Barbara Bowman, Erikson Institute.
November 20, 2002 - November 23, 2002
New York City -- The world's largest early childhood education meeting.

Early Education News Roundup

September 26, 2002
Compiled by NIEER
"We now have unequivocal proof that high-quality preschool, such as that offered by LA 4, can make a measurable difference in the lives of students."
September 26, 2002
The Seattle Times
The Seattle City Council made it official yesterday: Seattleites will vote next September on a proposed espresso tax to benefit early-childhood-education programs. Backers of the dime-a-cup tax on espresso drinks wanted the measure to go before voters this November, but they submitted 30,000 signatures too late to be automatically included on the ballot.
September 25, 2002
Los Angeles Times
First-graders who don't go to kindergarten are typically behind their peers in their academic and social development, and are more likely to flunk a grade in elementary school, educators say. The trouble is, making kindergarten mandatory costs money.
September 18, 2002
USA Today
[T]ests are among factors determining which kids move on to the next grade and which kids may need alternatives, such as repeating a grade or entering an extra year of "transitional" or "developmental" schooling, usually before starting kindergarten or between kindergarten and first grade. In the 1998-99 school year, 5% of the nation's 4 million kindergartners, or 200,000, were repeating that grade, according to the latest figures available from the National Center for Education Statistics.
September 16, 2002
Los Angeles Times
A Los Angeles County commission attracted wide attention last month when it resolved to spend $100 million in the first steps toward a universal preschool system. Many experts applaud the Los Angeles preschool initiative but warn that it faces significant barriers--especially to finding political leaders to champion the project and to uniting the often squabbling community of child-care and preschool providers.
September 6, 2002
The Record, Bergen County, NJ
Ellen Frede, a professor on leave from the College of New Jersey and a former teacher and researcher, said the program is expanding to serve more children and finally paying preschool teachers a comparable salary to other public school teachers - as much as $40,000. In coming years preschool may well become as much a part of public education in America as kindergarten, and New Jersey - no longer reluctant - could become a national model.
August 29, 2002
Press Release by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids
Poll results released today show that Ohio's law enforcement leaders want Congress to increase funds for preschool education so children are better prepared for school and less likely to become criminals later in life. Eight out of ten of the police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecuting attorneys agreed with the statement, "providing quality child care for preschool age children of low and moderate income working parents will help children succeed in school and ultimately prevent crime and violence," in response to the poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, Inc.
August 26, 2002
Business Week
Poor children typically enter school a full year and a half behind their middle-class peers in language ability, studies show. So millions of kids start their lives with an educational deficit.