Volume 1, Issue 5

November 25, 2002

Hot Topics

The first study to compare the costs and benefits of providing very young children with high-quality, full-day, year-round preschool program found that every dollar paid generates a four dollar return to the children, their families and society.



Researchers at the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) recently conducted a benefit-cost analysis of one of the nation’s most respected early education programs, the Abecedarian Early Childhood Intervention project in North Carolina. While other studies showed the children enrolled in the program fared significantly better in school and had better prospects as young adults, the new research set out to assess whether the benefit to society was worth the costs.



The bottom line? Taxpayers received a four-to-one return on their investment, in addition to significant social dividends including better school success. The study also shows significantly higher lifetime earnings for both the children and their mothers.



Major Findings of the Benefit-Cost Analysis



Leonard Masse and W. Steven Barnett analyzed data from the Abecedarian project in North Carolina that had followed children who participated in a high quality, early education intervention, and a control group of children who did not receive the intervention. This study followed the children’s progress in school and into early adulthood, charting their achievements both in the classroom and on the job.



In assessing the costs and benefits of the program, NIEER researchers found:



· The children in high-quality programs are projected to make roughly $143,000 more over their lifetimes than those who didn’t take part in the program.

· Mothers of children who were enrolled can also expect greater earnings – about $133,000 more over their lifetimes.

· School districts can expect to save more than $11,000 per child because participants are less likely to require special or remedial education.

· Results suggested a possible impact on smoking. Participants were less likely to smoke (39% vs. 55% in the control group), resulting in health benefits and longer lives, for a total benefit of $164,000 per person.

· The children of participants are projected to earn nearly $48,000 more throughout their lifetimes.



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Calendar

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.
April 27, 2003 - April 29, 2003
St. Louis, Missouri -- The Born to Learn Conference aims to inform both early childhood educators and parents.

Early Education News Roundup

November 22, 2002
The New York Times
The spectacular increase in American inequality has made the gap between the rich and the middle class wider, and hence more difficult to cross, than it was in the past. Meanwhile, one key doorway to upward mobility - a good education system, available to all - has been closing.
November 22, 2002
Business Week Online
Economic studies suggest that the return on investment in early-childhood development is a huge 14% to 15%, after adjusting for inflation.
November 21, 2002
The Star Ledger
Educators long have known that high-quality child care pays off in better classroom performance and later on in better jobs. Now new research indicates it also pays off in actual dollars, an attractive carrot for taxpayers, according to a new report released by a Rutgers University think tank.
November 21, 2002
The Washington Post
Judith P. Hoyer was supervisor of early childhood education for the Prince George's County public schools until her death from stomach cancer in 1997. The early childhood and family learning center she established in 1993 at Adelphi's Cool Spring Elementary School has become the model for 24 Judy Center programs established in 21 Maryland jurisdictions since last year.
November 16, 2002
The Washington Post
Officials at Head Start programs across the country say they are being pressured by the Bush administration to learn and use literacy techniques that many teachers don't want or need. Leaders of many local Head Start programs say the Head Start Bureau's actions violate a clause of the Head Start Act that gives local agencies responsibility for program activities such as how to teach preschoolers to identify letters and other early reading skills.
November 15, 2002
The Washington Post
Such is the Darwinian admissions derby for Manhattan's finest private nursery schools. The tykes face the fiercest odds -- 15 applicants for every slot is about average.
November 13, 2002
The State
Children at risk because of environment or economic status can keep pace academically with classmates -- if they receive formal preschool instruction, a state Department of Education report released Tuesday says. A five-year study of child-development programs tracked 10,000 S.C. students starting at age 4 and found them capable of doing grade-level work through the early elementary years.
November 13, 2002
The Post and Courier
High-quality early childhood education yields children less likely to drop out, repeat grades or need special education, according to Education Week's 2002 Quality Counts report. Studies also show students in those settings have better language and math skills and better cognitive and social skills.
November 11, 2002
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
A new prekindergarten program at a local elementary school means improvements districtwide and higher test scores in the future.
November 10, 2002
The Key West Citizen
Now that Florida voters have determined all 4-year-olds should have access to preschool education, lawmakers have to figure out how to provide it. But educators, child-care providers, parents, teachers and anyone else with an interest in early childhood education are going to offer possible answers and a lot of opinions at a series of meetings and workshops designed to gather input.
November 10, 2002
The Morning Call
In Pennsylvania, early childhood workers are better educated than the general population — classroom head teachers at licensed centers are required to have post high school degrees — yet they cannot command competitive salaries. A recent legislative survey found that degreed child care teachers earn $16,556, on average, and aides earn $11,427.

Resources

Public education was this democracy's greatest achievement and its bedrock, argues Hodding Carter III in this Public Education Network Column. The idea that education should open doors of opportunity to all, not just the privileged, is a revolutionary idea that nurtures our democracy, and needs nurturing itself to keep practice in line with the ideal.





View excerpts of the speech
Despite the ideal that public schools should offer opportunity to all, in practice children with different backgrounds do not do equally well. This Programme for International Student Assessment report provides some clues for assessing to what extent the discrepancy is because of home influences and to what extent it is because of experiences at school. According to the analysis, parental occupation is strongly associated with school performance, and patterns of communication between parents and children are associated with educational success. The socio-economic composition of a school's student population can be an even stronger predictor of student performance than individual home background. The report finds that family disadvantage will remain from generation to generation unless education systems take steps to mitigate its effect.





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