Volume 1, Issue 2

October 11, 2002

NIEER Activities

NIEER has produced a five-minute video, "Growing and Learning in Preschool," that shows the essential features of a quality preschool program. You’ll see how a curriculum based on solid research builds school and life-related skills, why well-qualified teachers are so important, and how play is integrated into learning. If you’d like the video for your organization, contact us at info@nieer.org. And watch for a short version of the video on our website later this fall.



New on nieer.org

A key part of NIEER’s mission is answering questions concerning early education from policy makers, journalists, researchers, educators, and others. Recent answers posted on our site look at early math and literacy education, and the relationship between financial support and state standards for pre-K programs. Read more or submit a question of wide interest on early education for our team of experts at

Question and Answer

NIEER seeks to present a variety of viewpoints on early education. We hope to facilitate debate with online discussion on Hot Topics such: Are cuts in state funding for early education shortsighted, or is preschool overhyped?

You can also respond to fresh research in our Working Papers series. Your input will help authors revise their papers for publications.

Join our Online Discussion

Calendar

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.
October 27, 2002 - October 29, 2002
Atlanta, Ga. -- A major training vehicle for service providers, policymakers, parents, and volunteers working to improve the lives of African American children.

Early Education News Roundup

October 11, 2002
San Jose Mercury News
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is exploring ways to help create a free universal preschool system in California that would put the state at the forefront of national efforts to teach all 3- and 4-year-olds the skills they need to succeed in school. Packard would not donate money to finance a preschool system, but would fund efforts to build public support for universal preschool.
October 10, 2002
Chicago Tribune
Illinois needs a huge expansion in quality preschool programs to close the academic achievement gap and keep the state's workforce competitive, an influential group of community and business leaders said Wednesday. [P]arental demand for programs such as Head Start, day care and pre-kindergarten still exceeds supply.
October 7, 2002
The Times-Picayune, New Orleans
Louisiana 4-year-olds who participated in the state's prekindergarten program last year were better prepared to start kindergarten this year, a recent report on the program's first year shows. After about five months of instruction, Louisiana's pre-kindergarteners moved from near the bottom of the national scores to near the top.
October 7, 2002
Stateline.org
With reauthorization of the welfare reform act stalled on Capitol Hill, state policymakers and welfare advocates are urging Congress to save the program from the chaos that uncertainty brings. Welfare officials say a multi-year commitment to federal funding is critical to ensure that welfare programs continue to function smoothly, particularly in states with two year budget cycles.
October 5, 2002
The Saratogian
In 1997, New York passed sweeping legislation that promised to create a Universal Pre-K program for all 4-year-olds in the state within five years. But partisan politics tied up funding in the state budget, according to Karen Schimke, president of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, an Albany group supportive of UPK.
October 3, 2002
The Wall Street Journal
Runzheimer International, a Rochester, Wis., relocation consulting firm, says child-care prices in 75 cities rose an average 6.4 percent last year, more than twice the consumer-price inflation rate, based on a survey of several hundred child-care centers. A serious problem, of course, is that the rising costs leave out hundreds of thousands of children whose parents would have to shell out well over half their take-home pay to get good care at today's prices.
September 30, 2002
Compiled by NIEER
A new poll shows overwhelming support for a plan to make free pre-kindergarten programs available to all 4-year-olds in Florida.

Resources

NIEER has developed a list of early education topics journalists can use to generate compelling, relevant stories for their readers and viewers. These ideas, based on the latest research, include:

-----Learning Versus Play

Parents who worry preschool may be too regimented for their child may not realize new curricula emphasize learning through play. Find out how play teaches abstract thinking, problem-solving, verbal and social skills.

-----The Battle Over Preschool Teacher Qualifications

Most early education teachers in America don’t have a four-year college degree even though research shows they need one to promote effective learning. Why aren't preschool teachers required to have the same kind of credentials as kindergarten teachers?

-----How Do I Know if My Child’s Preschool Is Any Good?

Research shows preschool programs tend to rank high in characteristics parents can easily see. But when it comes to vital features such as interactions between teachers and students, their quality scores are much lower. Find out why most early education programs in America can’t even be called “good.”



For more information on these topics and other story ideas, contact the Communications staff at (732)932-4350.

States Have Slowed Their Use of TANF Funds for Child Care in the Last Year, Center for Law and Social Policy report (September 23, 2002)



The report finds use of TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families) funds for child care has flattened, and some states have begun to make difficult choices that will reduce access to child care assistance or delay key investments in improving the quality of care.



View the full report

Promoting Early Childhood Literacy: Highlights of State Efforts

NAEYC report (September 2002)



Examination of what states are doing to support early childhood literacy primarily in out-of-home settings. The report finds a variety of approaches, with a significant number of states developing curriculum guidelines and training programs. But some states have made little or no effort in the areas of professional development and program guidelines.



View the full report



NAEYC and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education are developing a new position statement, "Early Learning Standards: Creating the Conditions for Success." You are invited to review the draft and give feedback before the NAEYC board votes in November.



View the position statement