Volume 12, Issue 25

Friday, December 13, 2013

Hot Topics

Monday NIEER will release a working paper on evidence regarding municipal, state, and federal proposals to expand access to quality pre-K. The paper addresses questions about the overall effectiveness of public universal preschool, the effectiveness of Head Start, and recent studies on improvements in state program outcomes.  In addition, we estimate the fiscal impacts of new federal proposals on state education budgets after the federal subsidy ends. After federal support ends, NIEER projects that every state but one would spend less on education from pre-K through grade 12 under federal proposals that incentivize states to raise pre-K quality standards, offer a full school day, and serve all children under 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

This week’s New York Times Room for Debate forum focused on improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. NIEER Research Professor Kimberly Brenneman contributed to the conversation on the need for increasing the comfort level of early education teachers with STEM, calling for improved professional development so children have “teachers who share their enthusiasm and are comfortable with the subject material.” NIEER was also represented at NAEYC’s annual meeting by Drs. Brenneman, Alissa Lange, and Jorie Quinn.  The team presented workshops at NAEYC’s Annual Conference that modeled the design and implementation of high quality preschool science lessons; their materials are available online. A recent STEM Smart conference, hosted by the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and EDC (a CEELO partner), focused on STEM teaching, learning, and  policy in early childhood education. Dr. Brenneman’s presentation from that session is available online. Dr. Brenneman explains why STEM matters in the early years in a new blog post.

Negative early life experiences can have profound consequences for children. A new study from UCLA found that children who had experienced neglect early in life may undergo brain adaptation that makes them more prone toward so-called “indiscriminate friendliness”--a troubling trait in which children do not have a reticence toward strangers. The study is part of a larger research project specifically focused on brain development in children who have experienced institutional care giving. Recently, NIEER discussed the particular concerns of “toxic stress” on young children, as well as the need for increased emergency preparedness in center-based care to protect children from danger and help them through trauma. Based on such brain research, several districts in California are incorporating “trauma-informed teaching,” which “ask teachers and staff to look at how their tone may contribute, knowingly or unknowingly, to combative interactions with traumatized youth.”

This article in Politico’s Women Rule series provides a unique perspective on the work of Early Childhood educator Barbara Bowman. Her daughter, Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the President, and assistant to the President for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs, describes her mother’s career-long commitment to promoting early childhood education, through “teaching, advocating and advising top officials around the country and the world on the importance of ensuring that every child begins life with an equal opportunity to succeed.”

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

NIEER Assistant Research Professor Kimberly Brenneman discusses recent meetings on Science, Technology, Engineeering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in early childhood settings, and why she is so enthusiastic about its future.


EDC and SRI have released a report on the CPB-PBS Ready to Learn Initiative, about developing essential early math skills using the PBS KIDS Transmedia Math Supplement. They report that “The important skills measured—counting; subitizing; recognizing numerals; recognizing, composing, and representing shapes; and patterning—increased significantly for the study’s four- and five-year-old children, who were from traditionally economically disadvantaged communities where children are often less prepared for kindergarten than are their more socially and economically advantaged peers. 

This paper, from the Work Support Strategies Initiative through CLASP, the Urban Institute, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, explore the eligibility challenges created when families access multiple public benefits including the Child Care and Development Fund, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, and Medicaid. 

NIEER Activities

NIEER Assistant Research Professor Kimberly Brenneman contributed to a New York Times Room for Debate forum focused on improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.  

NIEER Director Steven Barnett; Ellen Wollock, Administrator, Division of Early Childhood Education New Jersey Department of Education; Wendy Rivers, President of Kidz Kingdom Learning Center in Jersey City;  Cynthia Rice, Senior Policy Analyst at Advocates for Children of NJ (ACNJ); and David Sciarra, Executive Director of Education Law Center (ELC); participated in a discussion panel for New York selected officials and aides, education advocates, and foundation representatives to learn more about New Jersey’s high quality preschool program.

NIEER Director Steven Barnett addressed the question “What do we know about the effectiveness of early education programs?” from a global perspective at a conference in Nyborg, Denmark.  The focus of the conference was on results from a randomized trial of the VIDA program—a teacher training intervention focused on: recognizing the strengths of all children, especially the socially disadvantaged; active, engaged learning by teachers and children; and individualized, organization-wide innovation in each child care center.  A large scale randomized trial found positive impacts on children’s social and emotional development.

CEELO Update

As part of an ongoing Peer Learning Community on Formative Assessment, CEELO is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, December 17, 2-3 pm, to discuss Formative Assessment in California using the DRDP.  


If you would like to join the PLC, please contact Kirsty Brown at kbrown@nieer.org  

If you’re traveling for the holidays and need some good reading for the trip, check out CEELO’s Resource pages. New resources are added frequently, to the categories Assessment, Data, Birth-3rd grade, Workforce, Systems, and Child Outcomes. Some materials are listed below, but there are many more available.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 8:00am to Thursday, January 30, 2014 - 5:00pm

The Fourth National Summit on Quality in Home Visiting Programs will focus on enhancing quality in home visiting; policy and financing; break-through system changes; adaptations and enhancements to evidence-based models; and more.

Friday, March 14, 2014 - 8:00am to Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 5:00pm

T&L 2014 is where the profession meets to secure the future of PreK-12 education. From the Common Core State Standards to education technology to advancing issues of equity in the classroom, educators from all types of classroom settings will have unique opportunities to share their stories, gain new tools, learn from the nation’s top innovators and get inspired to achieve greatness in their classrooms and communities.

Monday, May 5, 2014 - 8:00am to Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 5:00pm

The National Smart Start Conference is the nation’s largest conference devoted to early education systems and strategies. The conference provides advanced professional development for early education leaders committed to improving the quality of and access to early childhood services for all children ages birth to five.

Early Education News Roundup

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
(MPR News (MN))

Nearly 73 percent of Minnesota children were prepared to start kindergarten in the fall of 2012, or about 13 percent more than in 2010, according to a new report from the Minnesota Department of Education.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
(ABCFox Montana)

A new report shows if all children went to preschool, children would not only get a head start on their education, but it would save the state money.The study, released on Wednesday by the Montana Budget and Policy Center, a non-profit research institute, shows Montana is one of only ten states with no state-funded preschool system. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Working families in New Jersey spend about one-quarter of their income on child care — two-and-a-half times more than the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends, according to a report released today by the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New Jersey.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
(Press of Atlantic City)

Child care in New Jersey costs on average almost $11,000 per year, but parents have few options to find out whether child care centers meet state regulations, according to a report released today. The Advocates for Children of New Jersey, or ACNJ, report supports more oversight, and a state income tax credit for child care to help families with the cost.

Monday, December 9, 2013

A new statewide report on school readiness shows many of Minnesota’s youngest citizens face hurdles that affect their learning in kindergarten and beyond. . . . The report is not surprising in its conclusions, Chase said, but it is a comprehensive look at Minnesota children under age 6 and shows the need to “change the mindset from closing the achievement gap to promoting opportunity as early as possible.”  

Monday, December 9, 2013
(The Times-Picayune (New Orleans))

The Louisiana Department of Education announced Monday that it will expand its early childhood pilot program and accept applications from parishes seeking to participate for the 2014-15 school year. The pilot program, which already includes 15 parishes, is part of the state's implementation of Act 3 of the 2012 Legislative Session, which calls for the unification of all early childhood programs statewide by 2015.

Friday, December 6, 2013
(The Sun Chronicle)

Attorney General Martha Coakley said the state should take some of the money it's spending "warehousing" nonviolent offenders and help inmates get job training or pass the GED high school equivalency test. The Democratic candidate for governor made the comments Thursday after visiting an early childhood center in Boston. Coakley said if elected she would push to reduce barriers to learning from pre-kindergarten through high school.

Friday, December 6, 2013
(Fairfax Times)
While the county government and school system both prepare to tighten their wallets, both still hope to expand their investments in early childhood education. As budget discussions ramp up, so has tension between school and county officials. But the two sides are presenting a united front when it comes to supporting pre-K initiatives.
Friday, December 6, 2013

More than 500 state lawmakers from 49 states have signed a letter urging Congressional budget writers to increase federal spending on early childhood education. The letter, delivered to Capitol Hill Thursday, urges Congress to prioritize early childhood education to “provide greater access to children in need, and produce better education, health and economic outcomes.” 

Thursday, December 5, 2013
(The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette)

In the struggle pitting Gov. Mike Pence and Republican Statehouse leaders against Democratic state schools chief Glenda Ritz, it would seem the two sides can’t agree on anything. In fact, they all are pushing for the one school policy initiative the state most needs: early learning.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
(Science Daily)

A new study by Case Western Reserve University's social work school found that children's readiness in language, math and logic improved significantly by the programs offered at 24 pilot universal prekindergarten pilot program (UPK) sites in Greater Cleveland.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
(The Idaho Statesman)

Twenty-six states across the country increased their support for early-child education in the past year, according to a report by the Education Commission of the States due out this month. Twenty-two were in red states, said Bruce Atchison, director of the commission’s Early Learning Institute. You can’t count Idaho among them because the state is one of nine that has refused to put taxpayer money into running preschool programs. The other eight are Arizona, Montana, Indiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. The commission provides nonpartisan information to states to help them formulate education policy.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
(Baltimore Sun (Opinion))

When David Andrews was asked to testify in Annapolis earlier this year, the dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Education told assembled legislators that providing quality early learning opportunities to low-income children is critically important and playing catch up is a losing game. For poor children, catching up is indeed a losing proposition. Stubbornly high poverty rates and increasing income inequality have turned upside-down the long-held belief of education being a pathway to the middle class. The truth is, as evidenced in at least two national studies published this year, if you're born poor, chances are you will stay poor.

Monday, December 2, 2013
(The Detroit News)

Six elementary schools will share a $500,000 grant from the GM Foundation that will make preschool education possible for 256 children from Detroit’s hardest-hit neighborhoods. During a news conference Monday at Nolan Elementary-Middle School, John Covington, chancellor of the Education Achievement Authority, said many young children enter school deficient in numerous academic areas. "We all know that a great education and a great chance of success in life begins with early childhood education,” Covington said. 

Monday, December 2, 2013
(The Brown Daily Herald)

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has announced that if elected governor next year, he would expand the state’s pre-kindergarten program, with a goal of enrolling 76 percent of the state’s eligible children in pre-kindergarten by the end of his first term in office and accommodating all eligible students by 2023....In 2012, Rhode Island ranked 40th in the United States in access to pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds, according to a report by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

Saturday, November 30, 2013
(Hibbing Daily Tribune)

The projected growth of the labor force is expected to slow down over the next couple of decades. Rob Grunewald, an economist for Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, said  . . . “As this happens, there will be an increase in demands of workers with more skills,” he said. “Higher levels of education will be required, which will make it harder for those without education past a high school diploma to find work.” Grunewald’s presentation discussing “Minnesota’s economic outlook and the role of early childhood education” took a look at both the Minnesota economy and long-term employment.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
(Health Canal)

A new study by Case Western Reserve University’s social work school found that children’s readiness in language, math and logic improved significantly by the programs offered at 24 pilot universal prekindergarten pilot program (UPK) sites in Greater Cleveland.