Volume 1, Issue 4

November 8, 2002

NIEER Activities

The Scienctific Advisory Board to NIEER set forth their research recommendations for NIEER at a meeting held November 3-5 in Baltimore, MD. The advisory board meeting was chaired by Edward Zigler, Sterling Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center in Development and Social Policy at Yale University, and one of the founders of the federal Head Start program. The group recommended research strategies focused on the components of quality preschool programs and financing/economic issues. NIEER’s advisory board members and their research interests are outlined on the website.



David Sciarra, Executive Director of the Education Law Center, the organization that successfully pursued the landmark Abbott v. Burke educational adequacy and finance case before the New Jersey Supreme Court, spoke to the NIEER Scientific Advisory Board about the influence of research. According to Sciarra, research findings convinced the court to mandate high quality preschool programs beginning at age 3 for all children in New Jersey’s 30 highest poverty school districts. Sciarra told the Board on November 3 that the court decision resulted in improved standards and a massive increase in financing for the state’s preschool programs. He emphasized the importance of research in establishing the effectiveness of quality programs, the educational needs of the children, and the low quality of many of the preschool programs previously available to the state’s poorest children. Sciarra pointed to a number of other states in which access to quality pre-K programs has become a constitutional issue before the courts and stated that there remains a critical need for additional research on key issues surrounding access to quality preschool education.

Carol Shipp joined NIEER as Communications Director on November 3. “The research base for ensuring all children in this country receive high quality preschool is critical for influencing policy makers,” she said. “NIEER’s comprehensive communications strategy focuses on policy makers getting the information they need, when they need it.” Shipp previously worked in media relations under three New Jersey Governors and has been responsible for communicating issues to the U.S. Congress, the New Jersey Legislature and national advocacy organizations.



Calendar

November 20, 2002 - November 23, 2002
New York City -- The world's largest early childhood education meeting.
December 6, 2002


Denton, Texas -- Early childhood conference aimed at providing the latest information for early childhood educators, child care providers, administrators, and parents.
January 7, 2003 - January 11, 2003
Washington, DC -- The conference will be held to provide information for early childhood educators and program directors.

Early Education News Roundup

November 8, 2002
The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, FL
The idea of universal pre-kindergarten enjoyed a comfortable margin at the polls Tuesday but is already raising some uncomfortable questions about its implementation. At the forefront are concerns over how to pay for the program.
November 7, 2002
St. Petersburg Times
Providing prekindergarten for 4-year-olds proved popular with Florida voters Tuesday, and now some politicians want to get the program running sooner than required. Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, the initiative's architect, said Wednesday that he expects to meet with the state's early child care providers next week and then persuade the Board of Education and the Legislature to begin paying for some children next year.
November 6, 2002
The Miami Herald
Amendment 8, which will make prekindergarten available to all 4-year-olds throughout Florida for no cost, easily won passage. [T]he pre-K amendment was approved without controversy, and it won't cost anything next year unless legislators heed Mayor Penelas' call to begin phasing in the program before required to by law.
November 5, 2002
The Charlotte Observer
In counties across North Carolina, educators and children's advocates are recruiting children who most need help before they start kindergarten -- low-income children who aren't in preschool or child care. Children who qualify will spend the rest of the school year in state-funded "More at Four" classes building skills for school success, at no cost to their parents.
October 31, 2002
The Orange County Register
A national Head Start official came to the aid of needy students in an Orange program Wednesday when he directed his staff to take another look at requiring them to participate in a study that would permanently shut some of them out of classes. Wade Horn, assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, which runs Head Start, said it would be "indefensible" to force Orange Children and Parents Together to participate in the nationwide study if it meant banning students who otherwise might get a coveted spot in the program.
October 30, 2002
Contra Costa Times, CA
Family income level can create an early education gap that children find difficult to overcome, according to Gary McHenry, the superintendent of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. That gap, he said, is often the result of children from higher-income families getting a head start in preschool.
October 30, 2002
The Orange County Register
Organizers of a local Head Start program that serves nearly 400 children learned Tuesday that it may lose its $2 million federal grant for refusing to participate in a national study they say would close the doors on needy students. At issue is the first comprehensive evaluation of Head Start, a 37-year-old federally funded school-readiness program.
October 29, 2002
The Herald-Chronicle, Winchester, TN
Vanderbilt University researchers are working with three preschool classrooms in Franklin County as part of a landmark national study that will for the first time help determine which preschool programs work best for which children. The four-year research project is part of the U.S. Department of Education's efforts to strengthen preschool education, and the study's use of randomized clinical trials (normally associated with medical research) reflects a major shift in how the department's research is conducted.
October 24, 2002
The Columbus Dispatch
The Jumpstart project focuses on developing literacy and communication among children while training college students to be community leaders.

Resources

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
The Michigan Ready to Succeed Partnership has released a paper urging Michigan's government to work toward developing policy initiatives for early education and care that would better prepare young children to succeed in both school and life.



View the full report
The Vermont Department of Education has prepared a fact sheet outlining the components of the commissioner's proposal for early education reform.



View the full report