Volume 12, Issue 17

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hot Topics

A group in Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston, is lobbying to put a property tax increase on the ballot which would fund a pre-K quality improvement program. According to The American Prospect, the program would not provide new preschool slots, but rather would offer professional development to “turn daycare workers into teachers” as well as provide parent training to help continue learning at home. Also in Texas, San Antonio will launch its Pre-K 4 SA beginning this school year. The initiative is funded through a tax increase approved by voters in November, and represents one of the largest local pre-K efforts in the country.  A Politico op-ed from two former directors of the White House Domestic Policy Council specifically noted Tulsa’s work on Educare while exploring the trend that “If Congress won't lead, states and cities will.” New results from the locally-funded Denver Preschool Program indicate that children who participated in the program benefitted. Washington has recently made significant efforts in improving its early childhood education offerings, both through targeted data strategies as well as through its Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge Funds, as the Seattle City Council is considering funding pre-K for local 3- and 4-year-olds.

A new report from the United States Department of Agriculture on the costs of raising a child found that childcare and education contribute significantly to the price of childhood. Low-income parents spend a quarter of their income on these costs, and are likely to see increased costs, as free options such as Head Start for low-income families are affected by the sequester. Alissa Quart recently blogged at The New York Times about the costs of child care for families across the country. She discussed the impact of those costs on the quality of care some families can afford (low); the limitations on access even for families with middle-class incomes; and the life and career effects on working families of having to juggle expensive and variable quality care for small children. NIEER Director Steve Barnett commented on these cuts in Salon, noting that “There’s a disinvestment in kids when they’re in their preschool years, and we will see the consequences of this play out over the rest of their lives.” This report comes at the same time that New York City Councilwoman Christine Quinn has called for loans to higher income families to pay for pre-K. NIEER has a new blog post exploring this pre-K loan program.  

Recent media coverage has highlighted the comparatively low enrollment rate of Hispanic children in early education programs. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count report found that roughly 63 percent of Latino 3- and 4-year-olds were not enrolled in a pre-K program, as compared to 50 percent of non-Hispanic white children. While both high school graduation and college enrollment rates have increased for Hispanics in recent years, this lack of access to early education causes concerns about educational opportunities for Latino children. Singer, children’s advocate, and philanthropist Shakira has renewed her call for increased early education opportunities both in the United States and abroad. Research has found  that high-quality early education programs, especially models that promote language proficiency, have the potential to increase educational success for young Hispanic dual language learners; yet in the United States these children enter kindergarten with the greatest educational disadvantages. The Foundation for Child Development has also recently updated a report on this issue.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

In our newest blog post, NIEER Director Steve Barnett and Research Assistant Michelle Horowitz explore New York City's Preschool Loan proposal and the importance of expanding access to pre-K.


The Foundation for Child Development has released an updated report exploring common myths about dual language learners (DLL) in PreK-3rd grade.

The Office of Child Care (OCC) has launched its Child Care Technical Assistance Network (CCTAN) Web site, now live at childcare.gov.

The BUILD Initiative hosted a Families Know Best webinar about involving families in Kindergarten Entry Assessments, in order to understand the finer details of children’s individual status at Kindergarten entry. Forty-eight states participated in the Webinar. Materials related to the discussion are available here.

A research project from New Zealand’s Teaching and Learning Initiative reports on strategies to increase parent participation in early childhood programs, and enhance learning outcomes for children and community wellness.

This research brief shared in the Childcare Canada newsletter assesses the impact of deregulating childcare in the Netherlands and considers the policy implications for other countries.

This paper from researchers at the Institute for Policy Research, the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, and the Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning examines whether various Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) meaningfully indicate the quality of a learning program.

CEELO Update

CEELO has added resources to its website. There are now resources on topics related to education and care from birth to grade 3, updates on products from CEELO including Fast Fact sheets, and a directory of state early learning leads.

The National Landscape of State Pre-kindergarten Programs and State Roadmaps of Inclusion (Session107) – Washington, DC.  CEELO Co-director Jana Martella presented at the 2013 IDEA Leadership conference with colleagues from West Virginia and Wisconsin state education agencies. Speaking to an audience of IDEA Section 619, Part C and Part B Coordinators, presenters provided an overview the national landscape of state pre-kindergarten programs, along with highlights of the state and local supports that have facilitated inclusion of children with disabilities in their state pre-kindergarten programs.

CEELO logoBuilding a Foundation for Student Success: State Strategies to Improve Learning Outcomes from Early Childhood through 3rd Grade - Salt Lake City, UT.  In July, the National Governors Association kicked off a 15-month policy academy on improving learning outcomes from early childhood through 3rd grade. Six states – Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Pennsylvania – are participating in this project and are focusing on one of two policy areas: improving educator effectiveness from early childhood through 3rd grade or developing birth-through-3rd-grade assessment systems. The first cross-state meeting provided state teams with an overview of the policy landscape, the major challenges, and promising policies and practices. States also had opportunities to exchange ideas and lessons learned with each other and refine their objectives and action plans for the policy academy.  CEELO Co-Director Jana Martella, helped facilitate state team time and presented on B-3rd Educator Effectiveness: PreK-3rd Teacher Evaluations.

The West Virginia Department of Education Advisory Committee on a Comprehensive Approach to Early Learning held an initial meeting last week, and Lori Connors-Tadros, the Senior Project Director for the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) at the National Institute for Early Education Research, presented Taking Charge of Change so ALL West Virginia Children Are Successful in School and Life.  This presentation provided a national, comprehensive view of literacy and issues related to addressing the achievement gap.  

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Center for American Progress, and Ready Nation hosted a meeting on July 31st, to engage the business community in understanding the economic, academic, and community benefits of high quality early childhood education.  Lori Connors-Tadros, CEELO Senior Project Director, served on a panel of state representatives to discuss how states are leading the way in investing in early care and education programs and services to reduce the achievement gap and ensure all are prepared for college and career.  The event also featured, Governor Jack Markell (DE) and a panel of business leaders working in states and communities to build support for quality early childhood education.  Meeting materials are available here.


Friday, October 11, 2013 -
8:00am to 5:00pm

The Center for Early Education Evaluation at HighScope will hold its Second Annual Conference for Early Childhood Research and Evaluation on the theme "Working Together Toward a Common Goal: Using Research to Inform Practice and Practice to Inform Research." The conference is now accepting paper submissions.

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

Friday, August 23, 2013

This study suggests that states ought to make changes in the ways they rate the quality of pre-K programs. Rating systems should focus on rating the quality of teacher-child interaction.

Friday, August 23, 2013
(The Economist)

Julián Castro, San Antonio's centrist Democrat mayor, asked a panel of business bosses to pinpoint one moment in the education cycle to be funded from a new sales tax. They chose pre-K, aiming at children, notably from poor and immigrant families, who reach school unready to learn and never catch up.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013
(Charleston Daily Mail)

Around 380 families will lose Head Start services as a result of the national sequester, but West Virginia's 4-year-olds won't likely lose preschool classes. That's because of West Virginia's newly expanded universal preschool program — there has been state-funded preschool in every county for more than a decade, and last fall lawmakers approved legislation mandating that all 4-year-olds are given the option to attend every day, not just a full-day program.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
(ABC7.com (California))

Early childhood educators are worried about California losing more than 5,600 Head Start slots.

Monday, August 19, 2013
(XX Factor Blog at Slate)

Child care costs aren’t just crushing parents in New York, where everything is more expensive. They’re crushing parents across the country.

Monday, August 19, 2013
(USA Today)

Although it's unclear how many child care centers in gyms are unregulated nationwide, 12 states, including Alabama and Indiana, grant license exemptions to child care centers with short-term care, according to Child Care Aware of America, a child care advocacy group. Eight states, including Illinois and Michigan, exempt centers from licenses if a parent is located on the premises. Centers at gyms can fall into either category.

Monday, August 19, 2013
(CNN Money )

The Administration for Children and Families reported Monday that 51,299 fewer children will begin Head Start preschool programs and 5,966 fewer toddlers will enter Early Head Start programs due to the $85 billion in federal budget cuts called sequester.

Monday, August 19, 2013
(Alabama Local News)

Proven results.\When forming an opinion about whether an early education program ought to be funded, most folks will likely start by asking the same question: does the program generate results?...In the case of Head Start, the federal government's multi-billion dollar initiative, debate has been going on for decades. Earlier this year, W. Steven Barnett, executive director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, said that the program is likely having a moderate impact on children from low-income families.

Monday, August 19, 2013

About 57,000 poor children will lose access to federally-subsidized preschool because of across-the-board U.S. spending cuts this year, a smaller number than the Obama administration previously said might be affected....The figures released today by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department are based on estimates from organizations that run the Head Start programs. The Obama administration warned earlier this year that automatic spending reductions that started in March might affect as many as 70,000 children.

Saturday, August 17, 2013
(Opinionator Blog at the New York Times )

The difficulty of obtaining good, affordable day care is well known as a problem afflicting the working poor. But increasingly, middle- and upper-middle-class parents are finding that day care is hard to find or access and that even when it is available it is startlingly costly.

Friday, August 16, 2013
(Early Ed Watch Blog at the New America Foundation)

Given that quality in full-day programs so often gets overshadowed by (important) questions of student access, it is worth examining why program quality matters and which specific quality metrics matter most when designing kindergarten programs.

Friday, August 16, 2013
(Statesman Journal (Oregon))

Teachers preparing to educate preschool children, including those with disabilities, will get help as a result of a $1 million federal grant announced Friday by Western Oregon University....The students will earn bachelor’s degrees in the field with a specialization in early childhood/early intervention special education. That blend is what is unique about WOU’s Promoting Inclusion in Early Childhood Education (PIECE) project, according to its co-director, Cindy Ryan.

Thursday, August 15, 2013
(Honolulu Civil Beat)

The results of a recent poll that asked registered Hawaii voters about their attitudes toward a state-funded preschool system suggest that most people agree preschool’s important in early childhood development.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

“This is the wrong time to cut back support for low-income families,” said W. Steven Barnett, the director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. “There’s a disinvestment in kids when they’re in their preschool years and we will see the consequences of this play out over the rest of their lives.”

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
(San Jose Inside)

A study in Chicago, published in 2011 after 25 years of research, documents the results of Child-Parent Center Education. The study demonstrated that these early childhood programs reduce crime when those children become teenagers and adults. According to an article in Science magazine, the Chicago study results demonstrate “consistent and enduring” benefits for children who began preschool at age 3 or 4, when compared to children who started kindergarten without quality preschool.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
(Science Daily )

Preschool children who showed less ability to estimate the number of objects in a group were 2.4 times more likely to have a later mathematical learning disability than other young people, according to a team of University of Missouri psychologists. Parents may be able to help their children develop their skills at approximating group sizes by emphasizing numerals while interacting with young children.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The recently released Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual 2013 Kids Count report reveals among any racial or ethnic group in the U.S., Latino children have the lowest preschool attendance rate. The study showed between 2009 and 2011, roughly 63 percent of Latino children didn’t attend preschool compared with 50 percent of non-Hispanic white children.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The across-the-board reductions, made through a process known as sequestration, removed about $400 million from Head Start this year, the deepest cut in dollar terms since its 1965 creation. As a result, about 60,000 slots in the preschool program for poor children are expected to disappear, according to the National Head Start Association, an Alexandria, Virginia-based nonprofit that advocates more funding for the program.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hundreds of millions of dollars in discretionary funding for early learning are funneling into states although Congress hasn’t seriously considered paying for President Barack Obama’s universal preschool proposal. Race to the Top early learning awards and Affordable Care Act money are helping states carry out their pre-K and early childcare plans.

Friday, August 9, 2013
(The Denver Post)

A recent analysis of the academic performance of Denver Preschool Program graduates is encouraging and should serve to reassure taxpayers who contribute about $10 million annually to the endeavor....The most encouraging part of the report, which tracked the 2008-09 crop of preschoolers, was the performance of low-income kids and English language learners on third-grade reading tests.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
(The New York Times)

The Walt Disney Company’s “Baby Einstein” videos do not turn babies into prodigies. And despite marketing claims by Fisher-Price, its popular “Laugh & Learn” mobile apps may not teach babies language or counting skills, according to a complaint filed on Wednesday with the Federal Trade Commission.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
(US News & World Report)

For a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, researchers analyzed data of roughly 12 million children, ages 2 to 4, from low-income families. Spanning from 2008 to 2011, the data covers kids in 40 American states and the District of Columbia, as well as in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. When researchers calculated the prevalence of obesity in these children on a state level, it turns out that 19 of the states and territories saw significant downward trends over those few years.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013
(The XX Blog at Slate)

According to Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)...access to preschool across the country—not just in New York—is actually lower for the middle class than for the poor. Middle-income families don’t have access to Head Start, like poor families, and they can’t afford the most expensive places, either.