Volume 12, Issue 12

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hot Topics

The U.S. Department of Health and human Services has released new draft regulations for child care centers meant to increase accountability and improve quality for programs funded through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). This is the first time regulations have been revised since 1998. The proposed changes would revise health and safety standards, including background checks of providers; require unannounced site visits for monitoring; and make it easier to parents and the public to access health, safety, and licensing information for child care centers. In a blog post exploring these regulations, Conor Williams of the New America Foundation informs readers that “[Secretary] Sebelius and other members of her team repeatedly noted that many parents believe that rules like these are already in place.” The public comment period on these regulations has not yet been opened. NIEER has covered the recent increase of media attention on the fragmented system of child care.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a $15.7 billion education bill providing for full-day kindergarten statewide as well as significant additional investment in early education. The bill includes $134 million to fund voluntary all-day kindergarten in every school district as well as $40 million for for early childhood education scholarships. Michigan also took a big step forward in early childhood education, with Governor RIck Snyder signing into law a $65 million, or 60 percent, increase for the Great Start Readiness Program. The funds will eventually enroll an additional 10,000 children in the pre-K program, spending $40 million to enroll more children immediately. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has also announced plans to expand the state pre-K program thanks to additional funds approved for the 2013-2014 year. The increases will fund a dozen new programs throughout the state and serve 1,380 additional students.

In our last edition, we incorrectly stated that the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services would be funneling $120 million for a second round of Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) with another $370 million for states investing in early learning. While ED and HHS will be offering approximately $370 million for a second round of RTT-ELC, the other $120 million funding pot will be dedicated to another round of district-level RTT.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

NIEER Policy Research Coordinator Megan Carolan writes about teacher degrees and compensation for pre-K and Head Start teachers in today’s blog post.


The QRIS National Learning Network, a project of the BUILD Initiative and the Early Learning Challenge Collaborative, produced this map showing which states have quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) in place or are planning to launch one.

The updated edition of this report from the Goffin Strategy Group looks at how the early childhood education and care field address leadership development to prepare and support strong leaders in classrooms and early learning systems.

This paper from the Administration for Children and Families reports on the State Advisory Councils on Early Childhood Education and Care grant, noting progress made to date by councils and including an individual profile for each grantee.

This policy paper from the Zero to Three looks at what states have done to address issues related to the early childhood mental health system, including access and funding for prevention and treatment strategies.

New on nieer.org

In this policy brief, authors Allison Friedman-Krauss and Steve Barnett set out the evidence regarding the short- and long-term health benefits to children from early childhood education programs, identify the features of high-quality programs that can produce these benefits, and offer recommendations to improve the contributions of such programs to health.

NIEER Activities

Last week, NIEER Director Steve Barnett joined an event at the Brookings Institution to discuss President Obama’s Preschool for All proposal. Education Secretary Arne Duncan gave the keynote address and former Congresswoman Nancy Johnson also spoke on the pre-K plan. The two speakers were followed by a panel consisting of Dr. Barnett, Linda Martin (Deputy State Director for Economic Services from the State of South Carolina), Jenni Owen (Director of Policy Initiatives at the Center for Child and Family Policy), Roberto Rodriguez (Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy), and Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst (Senior Fellow at Brookings). The panel was moderated by Ron Haskins, a senior fellow at Brookings and a member of NIEER’s Scientific Advisory Board. Audio recordings from the event are available on Brookings’ web site.

CEELO Update

CEELO logoCEELO will be holding its National RoundTAble on assessment and teacher evaluation from June 5-6 in San Francisco. The meeting will bring together researchers, early childhood specialists, and State Education Agency representatives to discuss best practices. While registration for this event is now closed, materials from the meeting will be made available following the event here.


Sunday, June 9, 2013 to Wednesday, June 12, 2013

San Francisco, CA - This conference will focus on examining developmentally appropriate practices in the context of early childhood education and care programs.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 to Thursday, June 27, 2013

St. Louis, MO - This conference will feature panels and presentations from renowned experts to examine educational research and policy.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 to Saturday, November 23, 2013

Washington, DC - Attendees of this conference will be given opportunities to examine best practices in early childhood education, learn the latest research findings, and network with their peers.

Early Education News Roundup

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The broken record of bridging the achievement gap in education for the Latino community got a shot in the arm earlier this week when U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, addressing a roundtable of reporters, touted the importance of Hispanic preschool as a building block to academic success.

Thursday, May 30, 2013
(Bridge Magazine, Lansing, MI)

The $65 million increase in funding for the Great Start Readiness Program, allowing at least 10,000 more 4-year-olds to attend high-quality, publicly funded preschool, is the biggest increase in the nation this year and leads an emerging trend to invest in children before kindergarten.

Sunday, May 26, 2013
(Star Tribune, Minneapolis, MN)

Minnesota’s 2013 Legislature took important strides forward in education — especially for the state’s youngest students. Last week, legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton agreed to put $485 million in new funding into programs from preschool through 12th grade in the next two years.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
(EdSource Today, Oakland, CA)

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appeared Tuesday before the House Education and Workforce Committee to promote what he called the “centerpiece” of the administration’s 2014 education budget proposal, the $75 billion plan to expand public preschool through a funding initiative that would encourage states to offer preschool to low-income and middle-class children.

Sunday, May 19, 2013
(Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME)

Seventh-grade sports teams, education technician jobs and several maintenance projects fell victim to cuts in next year's budget for Regional School Unit 38.  But even while trying to minimize the tax increase for district residents, the school board found one area where they wanted to add, not eliminate: pre-kindergarten.

Saturday, May 18, 2013
(The Seattle Times)

Early-learning programs offer a cost-effective way to prepare young learners for success in school and in life.  Preschool is a benefit that trickles up. Research shows high-quality preschool saves school districts about $3,700 per child over the K-12 years.