Volume 11, Issue 23

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hot Topics

Please note that our area has been adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy. Due to our lack of power most of this week, we’ve been unable to keep on top of all of the news in the early childhood education field. Please accept this slimmer-than-usual volume of NIEER’s Online Newsletter with our apologies. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled broadcast with the next edition on November 16, 2012.

We at NIEER have been relatively fortunate in the last week, though some still lack electricity at home. However, many people in our state and region had their homes devastated and for those with young children, the losses are especially difficult. Head Start programs are helping provide relief to the most vulnerable victims of Hurricane Sandy.  Acelero Learning is opening centers as family comfort zones so all their families can gather in a warm, safe environment with their children during the day. They report at least six of their Head Start staff have completely lost their homes and belongings and they are working hard to identify all the losses suffered by their families.  Acelero has set up a link for donations for hurricane relief at their foundation website 

We will send more information on how to make donations through Head Start as we learn more. Another opportunity to help is provided by the one-hour telethon/concert NBC will air tonight, Friday, November 2 from 8pm to 9pm EDT (check your local listings) to benefit Hurricane Sandy relief efforts through the Red Cross. The Today Show’s Matt Lauer will host with performances by New Jersey's Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi as well as Billy Joel, Sting and Christina Aguilera.

Early childhood education has been a hot topic over at National Public Radio (NPR) and its various programming offerings. An episode of Planet Money tackles the importance of preschool, giving listeners the chance to examine studies on the costs and benefits of pre-K and hear from experts including James Heckman, Frances Campbell, and Elizabeth Pungello. At the start of the piece, NPR’s Alex Blumberg explains of pre-K, "It may be the solution - and I'm only half joking here - to everything wrong in the world. Poverty, crime, the economy, deficit, the solution of all of society's problems: preschool." In another segment on This American Life, Blumberg takes a look at how universal public preschool began in Oklahoma. Tracing the progress of public prekindergarten in the state from a “stealth campaign” of “luck and political sleight of hand” to becoming a leader in the early education field, Blumberg concludes “However it arrived, it seems that universal pre-K is here to stay in Oklahoma.”

All five states -- Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin -- eligible to apply for the second round Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grants have submitted applications. These states, which were the five highest scoring states that did not receive funding in the first round, are eligible for up to 50 percent of the original funding amount for which they applied. Reviewers from the Departments of and Health and Human Services and Education will award the grants no later than December 31. Nine states received grants in the first round of RTT-ELC as announced last December.

North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue signed an executive order directing an additional $20 million into the state’s preschool program. The funds will increase enrollment by 6,300 students, 1,000 of whom will be able to enroll immediately. Perdue’s office says the funds will come from “projected unspent funds” from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), though some officials are concerned reallocating the funds may result in cuts to DHHS programs. Earlier this year, Perdue used $9.3 million in federal child care subsidy funds to add 2,000 slots to the program. North Carolina’s program has received significant media attention this year as the governor has fought to protect the program as it fell victim to legislative budget cuts, resulting in a court case.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

In the first part of a two-part series, NIEER researchers Megan Carolan and Jim Squires take a look at the U.S. South and the region's commitment to providing access to preschool, using The State of Preschool data as a starting point.


This report from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) examines child care assistance policies, finding that families in 27 states were worse off in 2012 compared to the previous year while only 17 were better off, making 2012 the second year in a row that NWLC reported more states declining rather than improving in one or more policies related to child care assistance.

This evidence brief from the New Journalism on Latino Children project examines the effectiveness of three different ways of approaching preschool education for English language learners - English immersion, transitional bilingual education, and dual language immersion.

This tool from the National Council of La Raza allows users to interactively examine data on Latino child well-being, focusing on variables such as education and health. While the database includes children from birth to age 17, data can be sorted by age groups.

NIEER Activities

NIEER Senior Fellow and Robin Hood Foundation staffer Cynthia E. Lamy has penned a new book on poverty in America, exploring programs and policies that help alleviate the problems associated with poverty and allow children to reach their full potential. Of the book, American Children in Chronic Poverty: Complex Risks, Benefit-Cost Analyses, and Untangling the Knot, NIEER Director W. Steven Barnett says, “Few problems have been as resistant to policy ‘cures’ as child poverty in the United States. Cynthia Esposito Lamy explains why. Her passionate plea for a new policy prescription based on the cold logic of cost-benefit analysis is a must read for anyone in government or philanthropy working to end child poverty.” Lamy’s book includes policy recommendations and foundational concepts for building poverty-fighting models.

Next week, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) will be holding its annual conference, and NIEER researcher Kimberly Brenneman will be taking part. Dr. Brenneman will be presenting along with Douglas Clements (University of Denver), Nell K. Duke (University of Michigan), Mary Louise Hemmeter (Vanderbilt University), and Julie Sarama (University of Denver) at a session entitled “Connect4Learning: Early education in the context of mathematics, science, literacy and social emotional.” This session, scheduled for Friday, November 9 at 8am, will examine an innovative preschool curriculum called Connect4Learning, which integrates research-based approaches to math, science, literacy, and social-emotional learning. Specifically, the speakers will address the development and preliminary classroom testing of Connect4Learning, which has been implemented in classrooms throughout New York, New Jersey, and Michigan, allowing for feedback that informs successive iterations of the curriculum.

NIEER Director Steve Barnett spoke at the Global HR Forum in Seoul with Elisabeth Dahle, Deputy Minister of Education and Research for Norway.  Dr. Barnett’s topic was “Investing in Better Early Care and Education to Improve Human Development.” While in Seoul, Dr. Barnett and former NIEER co-director Ellen Frede gave talks on evaluation and measurement at a seminar celebrating the 7th anniversary of NIEER’s partner organization, the Korea Institute of Child Care and Education.


Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 9:30am

New York, New York - This conference will examine bilingualism from a variety of perspectives including education, psychology, and linguistics.

Sunday, November 4, 2012 to Wednesday, November 7, 2012

State College, PA - This conference examines theories behind early childhood education, focusing on a wide range of underpinning concepts, including those that are frequently marginalized in the field.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 to Saturday, November 10, 2012

Atlanta, GA - This early childhood education conference offers hundreds of presentations and exhibits to the tens of thousands of educators that attend.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 to Friday, November 9, 2012

St. Louis, MO - This international Parents as Teachers conference provides participants with the opportunity to network with each other and learn from workshops and presentations.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 2:00pm

This webinar hosted by ReadyNation will explore how the business community can provide advocacy efforts for early childhood education and care, particularly focusing on home-visiting programs.

Friday, November 16, 2012 to Saturday, November 17, 2012

Melbourne, Australia – The theme for the CEIEC "Honoring the Child, Honoring Equity 12" conference is "Troubling truths: bridging divides for equity."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 to Saturday, December 1, 2012

Los Angeles, CA - This training institute will provide attendees with the latest information on early childhood policy, practice, and science.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 3:00pm

This webinar will explore issues related to child assessments in preschool through third grade, including case studies from schools and districts with comprehensive assessment systems.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 3:00pm

This webinar examines the preschool through third grade approach and how to build a comprehensive infrastructure to support that continuum.

Friday, March 1, 2013 to Saturday, March 2, 2013

Denver, CO - This conference will explore a variety of issues related to early childhood education and care.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 to Saturday, March 23, 2013

Clearwater, FL - At this conference, attendees will participate in workshops providing information on best practices for supporting children's social-emotional development.

Early Education News Roundup

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
(The Times-Picayune)

State Superintendent John White laid out plans Tuesday for bringing all of Louisiana's publicly funded pre-kindergarten programs under a new accountability system over the next three years, hoping to ensure that tax dollars go to programs that give students a leg up once they enter primary school. It's part of a broader effort under way at the state Department of Education to flesh out a series of education laws passed during the spring session at the state Legislature this year.

Monday, October 29, 2012
(Gainesville Times)

For the last few years, the state’s prekindergarten programs have dealt with similar issues plaguing Georgia’s public schools, including having to cut the number of days children spend in school.  But, state educational leaders are hoping to get those pre-K students back in the classroom full time.

Friday, October 26, 2012
(The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Prosecutors like [Seth] Williams are recognizing that the "lock-'em-up" strategy doesn't work. Early education is more likely to keep kids out of trouble to begin with.

Thursday, October 25, 2012
(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

About 1.2 million 4-year-olds have gone through [Georgia’s lottery-funded pre-k] program since it launched in 1992 at a total cost of $4.5 billion. This year, 84,000 youngsters attend 3,800 public and private pre-k classes across the state.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kentucky is taking steps to implement one common kindergarten readiness screener accompanied by best-practice guidelines for all schools. This is a collaborative effort between the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood and the Kentucky Department of Education based on recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on Early Childhood Development.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012
(Valley News Live, Fargo, ND)

Fargo school leaders say that getting funding for pre-kindergarten programs from the state is their top priority in the new session.  North Dakota is one of only about ten states that fails to fund pre-K education.  In fact -- school leaders say state law prohibits the district from funding such programs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012
(The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

From Education Minister Marie Malavoy to the Conseil supérieur de l’éducation, the province’s education experts are turning to 4-year-olds in their battle against Quebec’s high dropout rate. The problem is enormous: Nearly one in three Montreal high-school students leaves school before graduating, ill-equipped to join a workplace that puts a premium on knowledge.

Monday, October 22, 2012
(McCook Daily Gazette, McCook, NE)

When we're reading, ask me to turn pages and predict what will happen next. It will keep me interested.  These are examples of activities listed in the Nebraska State Department of Education's new pre-kindergarten education calendar, all written from a child's point of view. The calendar is designed to help Nebraska parents with young children who are getting ready to start school.