Volume 13, Issue 14

Friday, July 11, 2014

Hot Topics

A recent study from Janet Currie and Maya Rossin-Slater indicates there may be long-term, lifetime implications to conditions in early childhood. In an evidence-based review of the effectiveness of existing US policies on early childhood, the authors found that “there is a robust and economically meaningful relationship” between conditions early on in life and later in the lifecycle. They also determined that US policies are mixed in effectively improving early life conditions. They found that home-visiting with nurse practitioners (see below); Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and high-quality early childhood education provided through centers were effective supports, but that prenatal care and parental leave programs were not ideal or showed limited evidence of effectiveness. Families with young children may qualify for multiple programs, but access can be daunting. A recent report from the Work Support Strategies project at the Urban Institute explores the potential impact of streamlining services.

study reported in Developmental Psychology indicates that children who attended high quality care showed more effective Executive Function at 48 months than children attending other kinds of care. Children with low levels of basal cortisol (and indicator of stress) at 7 or 24 months old also showed a positive link between time spent in quality care and effective function. This finding has implications for long-term academic and life outcomes.

Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) released results of the first randomized clinical trial of an early intervention program in a high-income country to show reduced maternal and child death. The study, reported in JAMA Pediatrics, found that NFP involvement reduced preventable deaths among low-income mothers and their first-born children living in urban, disadvantaged neighborhoods. The trial began in 1990 and was concluded in 2011; enrolled low-income mothers in Memphis, TN; and produced “a significant reduction in preventable child death from birth to age 20.” They also found that mothers in the treatment group were less likely to die than those not receiving treatment. Research with this group will continue.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

On the NCSL blog, cross-posted to NIEER’s Preschool Matters . . .Today! NIEER DIrector Steve Barnett discussed details of the State Yearbook 2013 findings including quality standards; access for younger children; and funding sources. The webinar is also available on YouTube.


An interim report from the Ms. Foundation for Women and the National Women’s Law Center discusses survey and focus group results describing challenges in the US child care system for low-income workers: programs are often inaccessible and provide inadequate learning opportunities to children.

This new report from the European Commission describes the organization, funding, and structure of early education and care programs in Europe. It examines policy driven indicators and high quality early childhood education, using statistical data and system-level information.

For ongoing news on child care reports and data with an international focus, follow CCRU of Child Care Canada.

Child Care Aware released its 2014 Child Care in America report, including both national and state-by-state fact sheets  which including information on child care needs, availability, and expenses.

The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) seeks an outstanding candidate to serve as Deputy Commissioner for Early Care and Education. This position is an integral member of the leadership team for ACS, one of the country’s premier children’s services agencies dedicated to strengthening NYC’s families and their 1.8 million children. Go to www.nyc.gov/careers/search and search for Job ID#: 154560 and on Idealist.

The International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy (IJCCEP) is seeking papers and reviewers. This is a great opportunity to participate with an open access journal that reaches policy makers globally. Click any of the links for more information.

NIEER Activities

Several NIEER staff members contributed materials to the National Head Start Research Conference, July 7-9 in Washington, DC.

  • Kimberly Brenneman participated in a symposium entitled, “Innovations in Early Childhood STEM Curriculum and Professional Development,” for Head Start’s 12th National Research Conference on Early Childhood. Two current projects were represented. With Alissa Lange, she presented a poster entitled, Designing an Innovative Professional Development System to Support STEM Teaching for Dual Language Learners, that detailed results from their SciMath-DLL project. With colleagues from other universities, Dr. Brenneman presented curriculum development and family engagement work that is part of the Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering (RISE) project.
  • Alexandra Figueras-Daniel presented on “Language and Early Math Skill Gains in Head Start Children.” The study, a partnership between NIEER and Acelero Learning, was conducted by W. Steven Barnett, Kwanghee Jung, Carol Contreras, Emily de Groof, and Alexandra Figueras-Daniel.

Steve Barnett, NIEER and CEELO Director, presented at Evaluation of Early Childhood Programs and Assessment in the Early Years in Amsterdam. The meeting is part of the Transatlantic Forum on Inclusive Early Years series organized by the King Baudoin Foundation. Both presentations, ECEC Evaluation: What Can We Learn from the Past? and Research and Use of Evaluation to Influence ECEC Policy, are now available online.

CEELO Update

Diane Schilder presented at the National Head Start Research Conference, July 7-9 in Washington, DC. Diane served on the program planning committee and served as chair, presenter, and discussant at three different sessions. She chaired a session on research conducted on children participating in multiple systems of ECE. Three different research teams presented findings and discussed the implications for Head Start/Child Care partnership research. Diane presented evaluation findings on two different professional development options employed by the National Head Start Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations. And, as a discussant, Diane reflected on the implications of economic research presented by Timothy Bartik, Arthur MaCewan, and Mildred Warner on federal and state ECE policies and programs.

New early childhood Indistar® indicators are available for SEAs, districts and schools! Diane Schilder and Melissa Dahlin from CEELO worked in collaboration with the Center on Innovations in Learning (CIL) to develop these new indicators that focus on pre-K through grade three. Indistar® is a web-based system implemented by a state education agency, district, or charter school organization for use with district and/or school improvement teams to inform, coach, sustain, track, and report improvement activities. CIL and CEELO are co-sponsoring a Webinar in early August to announce the research behind the indicators.  For more information about Indistar®, contact Stephanie Benedict (sbenedict@adi.org) or Pam Sheley (psheley@adi.org). CEELO will send an announcement about the date and time of the Webinar soon. 

Lori Connors-Tadros presented the keynote address at the Indiana Department of Education's Early Learning Summit on May 15.  This is the second of three regional meetings Indiana is hosting to share Superintendent Glenda Ritz goals for young children and engage school and community stakeholders in the state's birth-to-third-grade agenda. CEELO, in partnership with CCSSO is supporting 4 states, IN, ME, MS, and OR to host birth-to-third-grade summits that highlight the chief state school officer/state DOE priorities for children from birth to third grade.  See Indiana's Early Learning Summit for presented materials and videos.  

The latest edition of CEELO E-news is now available and is packed with information about how to request Technical Assistance, recent TA work CEELO has completed for states, and papers and presentations by CEELO staff.


Thursday, July 17, 2014 -
9:00am to 10:15am

On July 17, 2014, the First Five Years Fund will release the results of a new bipartisan poll on early childhood education and host a bipartisan discussion, including Jim Messina and Kevin Madden, to analyze the political momentum behind early childhood policies. Following a year of unprecedented state expansions of early childhood programs, in red and blue states alike, this new and compelling data will document public attitudes on the demand for early childhood education. 

Event Participants:

  • Libby Nelson, Education Reporter, Vox Media (moderator)
  • Kris Perry, Executive Director, First Five Years Fund
  • Jim Messina, Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff; Co-chairman, Grow America Stronger
  • 2012 Obama Presidential Campaign Manager 
  • Kevin Madden, Former Senior Advisor to Governor Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign 
  • Executive Vice President for Public Affairs, JDA Frontline
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 3:00pm

The National Women's Law Center is hosting a conference call on July 22 at 3pm to discuss many of the exciting changes happening in early learning. Experts from the Center for Children's Initatives and Michigan will be weighing in on how New York, along with Michigan, are increasingly expanding their prekindergarten programs. 

Friday, November 21, 2014 - 8:00am to Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 5:00pm

The conference will focus on exploring identities in a changing world (including but not limited to gender, culture, religion, linguistics, ability and environment) as well as supporting equity in research, practice, and policy. 

Early Education News Roundup

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Myanmar has launched its first ever multi-sectoral policy on early childhood care and development ( ECCD), calling for increased government investment in the services for young children to enable them to have a better start in life and for the hopeful future of the country. Wednesday's state media quoted President U Thein Sein as stating that the future of children depends on the implementation of ECCD activities which are not just about the quantity but also the quality of services.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
(Fox 2 Now)

Missouri’s school funding formula could be expanded to include preschool students under legislation signed by Gov. Jay Nixon. Unaccredited school districts could start counting preschool students in their attendance figures used for calculating state funding beginning with the 2015-2016 school year. Preschool funding would kick in the next year for provisionally accredited districts.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014
(The Seattle Times)

report from the state’s Department of Early Learning suggests that the Washington Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) is making a big difference in these 3- and 4-year-olds’ lives – emotionally, physically, and academically. The report looks at the results from a new tool that the preschool teachers are using to rate everything from how well their students follow directions to how well they know the alphabet.

In the fall of 2012 (the latest data available), about half the children had the skills expected for their age in social-emotional development, language, literacy and cognitive development. A little over a quarter reached that level in math. By the end of the year, teachers reported that more than 90 percent reached what is expected in all those areas except math, which ended in the mid-80s.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014
(The New York Times)

The city is aiming to provide up to 53,000 full-day prekindergarten seats in the fall, more than double the number of full-day seats in the past year. About 40 percent of the seats will be in public schools and the rest in “community-based organizations” like Cypress Hills and Brooklyn Kindergarten Society, as well as charter and religious schools. Many of the schools, public and independent, have been hiring teachers for the wave of new children, and in a trickle-up effect, teachers at the independent schools are using their experience to try for better-paying city jobs. . .

For years, teachers at community-based centers have fought for salaries that better correspond to public school ones, as their own employment requirements have become more rigorous, and they have been asked to adhere to tougher educational standards.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The cost of failing children who arrive at kindergarten ill-prepared is huge — to the individual and society. Tragically, adult high-school dropouts are 19 times more likely to be incarcerated than college graduates, the U.S. Department of Justice has found. Once age 25, adults who dropped out are three times more likely to be unemployed as college graduates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

When sufficient resources are committed to proven approaches, strong results follow. A study of New Jersey’s pre-K program, undertaken between 2005 and 2012 by the National Institute for Early Education, revealed that this initiative closed about half of the achievement gap before kindergarten.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
(The Washington Post)

Reading Corps, a tutoring program that started in Minnesota a decade ago, now operates in eight states and D.C. The program has two components that are organized differently: one for students in kindergarten through third grade, and another for preschoolers.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mayor Ed Lee and all 11 supervisors are backing the Children and Families First initiative. The measure would renew the children’s fund, which is expiring, and would raise its level of funding from three to four cents of every $100 the city receives in property taxes. Taxes wouldn’t go up, just the slice of them dedicated to kids. It would continue for 25 years, at which points voter would have to renew the funding again. The measure would also renew the Public Education Enrichment Fund, which gives city dollars to the school district in three pots: one for sports, libraries, arts and music; one for counselors and other support; and one for universal preschool for 4-year-olds. The latter pot would shift under the measure to encompass kids aged 3 to 5. It would also shift control of that pot from the state’s First Five Commission to the city’s new Office of Early Care and Education.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Community organizations like YMCAs and day care centers, which have long played a role in delivering state-funded pre-kindergarten programs under a new $340 million grant program approved in the state budget, will have a new degree of independence. In recent years, the state has spent about $400 million annually on pre-K, serving about half of the state’s four-year-olds in half-day programs. The state significantly upped that investment in this year’s budget, when a push from New York City mayor Bill de Blasio prompted leaders to earmark an additional $300 million for full-day pre-K in the five boroughs and $40 million for the rest of the state.

Monday, July 7, 2014
(The Sacramento Bee)

UP4WS has become a California model and gained national attention for its ambitious charge: making quality education available, accessible and affordable for every child 5-years-old and younger. Advocates and local officials point to the benefits of preschool programs down the road, from improved reading, language and math skills in elementary school to higher high school graduation rates, fewer contacts with law enforcement and increased adult earnings. The city estimates that 70 percent to 80 percent of its 4-year-olds are enrolled in preschool, compared to 63 percent statewide.

Monday, July 7, 2014
(West Hawaii Today)

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Saturday enacted into law a bill that opens farm dwellings to child care programs.

House Bill 2560 (Act 210) permits family child care homes in agriculturally designated districts if located in a farm dwelling, according to the Governor’s Office.

“This legislation makes it easier for farm families to access child care,” Abercrombie said in a prepared statement. “Keiki in rural areas like Upcountry Maui can now have a child care setting that provides open space and opportunities to learn about caring for animals and living off the land.”

Saturday, July 5, 2014
(Medical Daily)

A new study found that chronic stress in early childhood is not only able to inflict long-lasting emotional damage on a child, it can physically shrink their brains. The reasoning behind this is unclear but researchers stress that not everyone will experience these negative outcomes and hopefully, for those who do, the effects are reversible.

Saturday, July 5, 2014
(Yakima Herald)

Reports are continually coming out about STEM, at-risk schools, low graduation rates, poor standardized test scores, gangs and crime rates. What one thing could our state and nation do to lessen all of these problems and improve the lives of many of our young people? It would also benefit business and eventually help our state and national economies. Put young children first by providing every child quality early learning at ages 3 and 4. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014
(Northwest Georgia News)

Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning announced the launch of additional financial support for Georgia’s early childhood educators to enhance their credentials through three new programs.

For the next three years, early childhood education program administrators and teaching personnel can receive financial awards for furthering their education and earning higher credentials in the field. The program will award a single bonus at each level to eligible applicants who earn certain credentials or degrees from eligible institutions from Jan. 1, 2014, through July 1, 2017.
Thursday, July 3, 2014

The bottom line for business is that early learning opportunities for our children have tremendous long-term benefits for our workforce. Beyond business, high-quality pre-k helps virtually every aspect of our communities and our quality of life. Let’s track some of those benefits through the life of a child:

■ By better preparing children for kindergarten, high-quality pre-k has been shown to save money in our K-12 schools by reducing the need for special education and remedial instruction.

■ By better preparing young learners for K-12 (particularly kids at high-risk of academic failure) pre-k has been shown to decrease dropouts and increase the rates of graduation and college enrollment.

■ In addition to generating $1.79 in local economic activity for every $1 invested, high-quality pre-k returns up to $17 in long-term public savings through a combination of reduced costs to our schools and society, stronger earnings potential in our workforce and increased tax revenues from a more robust economy.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Consider this: The future success of every child is in many ways determined before he or she turns 8. During those early years, how that child learns and develops — mentally, emotionally and socially — is critical. This isn’t a theory. It’s a fact, based on decades of research on the positive effects of quality early-learning experiences on children’s lives. It’s no wonder then that educators, politicians, researchers and families have honed in on early childhood education as a means to invest not only in the future of America, but also to help deter and improve any number of complex social issues.

But despite our ever-increasing understanding of the benefits of early learning, as well as the negative repercussions of neglecting it, high-quality early education programs are not mandated, which means they’re expensive and exclusive — and out of reach of most Americans.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
(Medical News Today)

Although it is well documented that lead exposure lowers children's IQ, we know little about its effect on their behavioral and emotional health. Now, a new study shows that emotional and behavioral problems are apparent even at relatively low levels of lead exposure in preschool children, and they go up in line with rising blood lead levels.

Writing in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, Dr. Jianghong Liu of the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and colleagues report how they analyzed links between blood lead levels in over 1,300 Chinese preschoolers and behavioral and emotional problems, such as showing signs of being anxious, depressed, or aggressive.

Dr. Liu says, "young children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead, because lead can affect children's developing nerves and brains."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
(Seattle News)

Last week, Seattle City Council members voted to put two preschool and child-care proposals on the November ballot. They also decided to pit the measures—one drawn up by the city, one by a partnership of two unions—against one another. It is, in short, a confusing mess, one that city officials are still trying to sort out, never mind voters. To help, SW spent some time talking to the players involved.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
(Center for American Progress)

Buried in the debate over teacher evaluation is a nagging concern about principals. The burden of carrying out teacher-evaluation activities falls squarely on the shoulders of these school administrators. They have to observe teachers—often multiple times per school year—and complete a rubric about the instruction; they also need to complete a post-observation conversation with each teacher. These activities, while essential to improve education, are a radical shift in principals’ responsibilities, which have historically focused on administrative tasks rather than instructional support.

Principals are feeling the change in their scope of work. In a recent national survey, 69 percent of principals said their responsibilities had changed in the past five years, and 75 percent said their job had become too complex.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
(Daily Reporter)

Dozens of local councils have been awarded grants to help promote school readiness for young children.

Gov. Steve Beshear's office said more than $1 million was announced Monday for 64 Community Early Childhood Councils covering 88 counties. The grants were awarded through the Governor's Office of Early Childhood.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
(Albuquerque Journal)

New Mexico has some terrific local business leaders. We just don’t have nearly enough of them. A recent interview with Arthur J. Rolnick reveals the good things that happen when a state has enough leaders who have enough resources to effect change.

Rolnick is a senior fellow and co-director of the Human Capital Research Collaborative at the University of Minnesota, where he got his doctorate in economics. He was in Albuquerque on Monday to address the second annual Kids Count Conference, sponsored by New Mexico Voices for Children.

Rolnick, a former senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, has calculated that investments in early childhood programs like home visits by nurses and pre-kindergarten schooling produce a return of between 10 and 18 percent. He says recent experience shows his calculations are conservative.

Sunday, June 29, 2014
(Wall Street Journal)

New York City is offering to pay for a full day of pre-K, but some religious schools say adding spiritual teachings to that would make too long a day for the children involved. The result: Some schools have decided to not participate, and community leaders and critics fear that others will bend the rules by slipping in religious instruction during the extended pre-K.