Volume 12, Issue 14

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hot Topics

Bringing together a diverse group of advocates, practitioners, and concerned citizens, this week’s Virtual Rally 4 Babies pushed for increased attention to and investment in the needs of children. The online event, which can be viewed in full here, was sponsored by ZeroToThree and focused on the theme that Learning Happens From the Start. The event was full of star power: hosted by Soledad O’Brien, there were guest appearances from U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Actor and Save the Children Artist Ambassador Jennifer Garner, Chair of the Board at America’s Promise Alliance Alma Powell, and children’s musician Laurie Berkner. Additional information on the work of this advocacy coalition is available online as debate has continued on whether the President’s Preschool for All proposal can become a reality. Also recently released is a 30 minute documentary from the Raising of America Campaign entitled Are We Crazy About Our Kids? The Cost/Benefit Equation. This short film explores the economic evidence for investing in early childhood education, and serves as a “sneak peek” at the Campaign’s forthcoming PBS documentary on early childhood development.

A new report looking at the changes in the qualifications and compensation of child care professionals from 1990 to 2010 found mixed results: while teacher pay remains low at an average of $16,215, this is up considerably from a $10,746 salary in 1990.  (Most of this increase occurred a decade ago, with little improvement since, however.) At the same time, the percentage of employees with some college education increased from 47 to 62 percent. Increases were also seen in the number of employees able to access health or retirement benefits through a job in child care. Salary and education levels vary significantly by sector, as can be seen in a recent Preschool Today! blog post examined the differences in state-funded pre-K and Head Start. At the same time, a new survey found that nearly all public school teachers nationwide are spending their own money on classroom supplies, totaling about $1.6 billion for the 2012-2013 school year, or about $485 per teacher.

Dr. Ramona Paul, a pioneer of pre-K in Oklahoma, passed away on June 30. Dr. Paul served in various positions during her more than 50 years in the field of education, but is best known in the field of early childhood education for her work in creating Oklahoma’s state-funded pre-K program. According to her obituary, she “collaborated with the numerous groups in Oklahoma involved with the care and education of 4-year olds, lent her expertise to the drafting of statutory language that would be enacted by the Legislature, and worked to ensure that implementation of the program would be successful.” Oklahoma became the second state in the nation to offer universal pre-K, and the program is held up as exemplary, for which Oklahoma Today magazine named Dr. Paul “Oklahoman of the Year" for 2009 - the first educator to receive this distinction. Her passing is a great loss to the field, but her memory lives on in the difference pre-K has made for thousands of Oklahoman children.

Resources

This new website from the White House compiles information on current early childhood efforts across federal agencies, including child care, Head Start, and home visiting programs, as well as provide details on the president’s Preschool for All proposal.

This report from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at the Administration for Children and Families provides practical tools for states and evaluators to use in developing a validation plan for their Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).

This new paper in Child & Youth Care Forum explored the impact of teacher degrees and professional development on quality of teacher-student interaction, finding that along with early childhood education degrees, ongoing coaching support works effectively to improve classroom environments and a broad array of school readiness skills of at-risk children.

This working paper from the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research examines the effects of the Kalamazoo County Ready 4s program on kindergarten entrance assessments and found statistically significant impacts on entering kindergarteners’ math scores. 

This report from Mathematica Policy Research for the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation for the Administration for Children and Families is the latest installment of this study exploring outcomes for the 2009 Head Start cohort.

New on nieer.org

From 2003 to 2011, NIEER published its Preschool Matters magazine, which spotlighted national and international news regarding early childhood education, from research studies and public funding to facilities development and teacher training. Archived issues of Preschool Matters magazine back to 2005 are now available on our website, with each article provided on its own individual page for reference, and earlier issues are coming soon!

Calendar

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 -
9:30am to 11:30am

How did children fare in the federal fiscal year 2013 budget and appropriations? What can Congress and the Administration do to protect kids during tough economic times?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 -
10:00am to 11:30am

Save the Date! The New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative will host a panel discussion on a recently released paper on using student achievement data to evaluate early grade teachers. 

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
(The Gainesville Times)

The Department of Early Care and Learning recently announced the Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards, with this upcoming school year serving as a transition period. GELDS will be mandatory in all Georgia pre-K programs beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
(The Associated Press)

Gov. Peter Shumlin said Wednesday a new public-private partnership has raised $800,000 to help move the state closer to his goal of 100 percent of preschoolers getting access to quality early-childhood education.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
(Early Years blog at Education Week)

The Office of Head Start has released its long-awaited final list of entities that have been awarded federal funds after the agency's first-ever grant competition among low-performing grantees. Many of the 153 grantees—which include large entities such as the Los Angeles County Office of Education and the New York City Administration for Children's Services—have been previous Head Start providers, either directly or through federal funds that were funneled through another agency.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
(Politics K-12 Blog at Education Week)

President Barack Obama's high-profile push to expand prekindergarten programs got a big assist from a Senate Appropriations panel today. The panel, which is controlled by Democrats, approved a $1.6 billion increase for Head Start—the main federal program financing early-childhood education—plus $750 million in new money to help states bolster the quality of their preschool programs.

Sunday, July 7, 2013
(MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette)

Children in the Kalamazoo County Ready 4s preschool programare seeing substantial improvements in their kindergarten-readiness, according to a new study by Upjohn Institute economist Tim Bartik.

Sunday, July 7, 2013
(The Roanoke Times)

One proven way to strengthen our educational system is to improve the quality and stability of pre-K education for all children. The good news is that we know a great deal about how to do this. Early childhood education is about the total child and the family.

Monday, July 1, 2013
(ScienceDaily)

An eight-week intervention involving 141 preschoolers in a Head Start program and their parents produced significant improvements in the children's behavior and brain functions supporting attention and reduced levels of parental stress