Volume 13, Issue 15

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hot Topics

A new poll conducted for the First Five Years Fund by of Public Opinion Strategies  and Hart Research Associates found significant public support for investment in early childhood education. As Abbie Lieberman notes at EdCentral, “a whopping 71 percent of respondents said they would support early education policies even if they increased the deficit in the short-term, but paid for themselves in the long-term, as much of the research suggests is the case with early education.” The plan has strong support across Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. NIEER Director Steve Barnett responded on the National Journal’s Education Insiders forum regarding the future direction of pre-K in light of public support and the importance of maintaining quality. In addition to releasing the report, the First Five Years Fund and their partners relaunched GrowAmericaStronger which national and state-level resources. A recap of the panel discussion accompanying the report’s release can be found here.

The quick expansion of New York City preschool services has led to a need for preschool teachers. The New York Times recently featured one story of a stay-at-home mother returning to school to train to teach preschool in the fall, and earlier had discussed concerns that teachers would leave community-based programs for public school jobs with better salaries and benefits. The Daily News reported on teacher and space issues. One of the questions about implementing such an expansion is whether teachers can be trained, prepared, and available to provide high quality classroom experiences on such short notice.

The question isn’t new: In 2006, NIEER reviewed similar questions as Illinois geared up to implement a state-wide program, and in 2004 the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education produced a report on what is required to prepare teachers well. Often there are well-trained teachers available and willing to work in preschools, under particular conditions--such as public-school level salaries and support for long-term employment including benefits. NYC is providing such support, along with clear pathways to certification and training. Libby Nelson at Vox wrote this week about the complex issues involved in NYC’s expansion, and how other cities and states are meeting similar challenges.

Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a plan to combat poverty this week; Vox provides detailed information on each area of the plan. Ryan’s proposal has serious implications for early childhood education and care. Moving federal funding sources to a block grant is a key component of the plan; the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), along with several other programs, would be converted into a single block grant for states with no additional funding. Helen Blank of the National Women’s Law Center writes “…[t]his ‘pilot program’ would begin in a number of states in order to, in theory; allow them greater flexibility in providing services. It’s an approach we’ve seen before – and just the opposite of what we need to help children and families.” The Center for American Progress discusses the implications of block grants in social policy. Ryan’s plan would also move Head Start funding into block grants, an approach that Sara Mead explores in ten important questions.


Please tell us what you think of our newsletter. We want it to deliver news you can use, when you want it--here’s your chance to weigh in. Submit your responses by August 1, and we’ll report out on what you tell us in the next newsletter. You can always send your ideas/suggestions/information via info@nieer.org as well.


 

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

NIEER Director Steve Barnett responds to a National Journal blog post on national polling data. The public strongly supports early childhood programs: will they support the fight for quality programs?

Resources

The New America Foundation Early Education Initiative released a new report recommending that early childhood policy makers focus on teaching and learning in the early years, up through third grade. Specifically, they suggest streamlining public programs in terms of quality standards and eligibility requirements, and developing sustained, increased, dependable funding for programs over the long term.

A new report, commissioned by Sesame Workshop and written by Mathematica Policy Research, analyzed the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 dataset to explore school readiness and the abilities of beginning kindergartners. The analysis examined four risk factors that have been shown to affect children's development and school achievement: single parent households, mothers with less than a high school education, households with incomes below the federal poverty line, and non-English speaking households. 

A recent report from Zero to Three focuses on Addressing Maternal Depression in Home Visiting Programs, including screening, impact, and treatment options. 

The Child and Family Blog is a new international blog that seeks to "bridge the gap between researchers and raising children." The blog is a collaborative effort from the Applied Developmental Psychology Research Group at the University of Cambridge, The Future of Children (Princeton/Brookings), and the Jacobs Foundation. There will be a new entry by a distinguished colleague every second week. All blog entries are also available in English, Spanish, French, and German.

The University of Nebraska Buffett Early Childhood Institute

The University of Nebraska Buffett Early Childhood Institute is seeking applications from qualified individuals for the position of Director of Communications to design, oversee, and implement a strategic and comprehensive communications program. Application review begins immediately and continues until position is filled. Applications will be processed through the on line job posting at https://careers.nebraska.edu. Follow instructions to complete the Applicant Profile. Along with your application, attach a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references.

Direct questions about the position to: humanresources@nebraska.edu. Direct questions about the on-line application process to: (402) 472-2111.

NAEYC

NAEYC seeks an effective leader with proven success managing large complex systems and expertise in organizational administration and management to lead the NAEYC Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation. Recognized as the gold standard for excellence in early childhood education, the NAEYC Academy works to improve the quality of child care, preschool and kindergarten programs by establishing high-level, research-based standards and accrediting programs that meet these standards. The Senior Director, working collaboratively within the overall NAEYC staff structure, manages a team of approximately 30 people.  

To apply: Submit cover letter and resume to HR/AD, NAEYC, 1313 L Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005 or fax (202) 329-1846 or e-mail hr@naeyc.org

NIEER Activities

The National Science Teacher’s Association is hosting a virtual conference August 6th on integrating literacy and science skills. A research brief by NIEER researcher Kimberly Brenneman on Science in the Early years describes for prospective participants why the connection between science and literacy is so important.

CEELO Update

New Early Childhood Indistar® Indicators have been developed by the Center on Enhancing Early Childhood Outcomes (CEELO) in collaboration with the Center on Innovations in Learning (CIL) . A 1.5 hour Webinar August 7th, 2-3:30 PM (ET) will introduce you to the research behind the new indicators and discuss how they can be used by state, district, and school improvement teams. Register here.

CEELO’s latest products, a policy report and associated Fast Fact, explore how states are preparing principals to support early childhood teachers. 

CEELO has developed a step-by-step guide to developing communities of practice/peer learning communities to explore education (and other) issues in depth.

 

Markers of Structural and Process Quality and Child Outcomes in Multiple Preschool Settings. Tom Schultz CEELO Senior Scientists gave this presentation at the Head Start 12th Research Conference on July 7th, 2014.

Selected Resources to Support Early Childhood Teachers in State Educator Evaluation Systems - This annotated bibliography offers resources on observations of teacher practice, student learning and growth, professional development, legislation and policy guidance, and national resources to support early childhood teachers in state teacher evaluation systems.

Jim Squires, CEELO Senior Fellow, presented From a Crawl to a Run: Enhancing and Sustaining Children's Early Learning from Birth Through Third Grade at the Mississippi Early Childhood Conference in Natchez, Mississippi. More than 500 participants from Head Start, public pre-K, child care, advocates, and policy makers attended the 3-day event which addressed birth through third grade issues and served as a professional development rally of the state's new Early Learning Collaborative program passed in 2013 establishing pilot state-funded, mixed-model early learning consortia throughout the state. State Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright received a standing ovation following her speech declaring her commitment to early education, a message underscored by state Sen. Brice Wiggins, key sponsor of Early Learning Collaborative legislation.

Calendar

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

Friday, July 25, 2014
(Times Online)

A higher percentage of children live in poverty today than in 1990. The rate at first dropped from 18 percent but has since climbed again to 23 percent, said Laura Speer, the foundation's associate director over policy reform and advocacy. Some policies have helped economically fragile families, “but we live in a different economy now than we did in 1990,” she said. “What families face now to make ends meet is very different than it was, especially for those without a high level of education and without a highly skilled breadwinner in the household.”

Education and health are both bright spots, with improvement across both since 2005. The number of children not attending preschool dropped to 54 percent from 56 percent. The number of high school seniors not graduating is down to 19 percent from 27 percent, a big improvement. (The survey compared some of the 2012 numbers reported this year to those from 2005 in order to look at what was happening mid-decade, before the recession, said Kimberly Varner, speaking for the Casey foundation.) But numbers can improve and still be distressing. The report said two-thirds of fourth-graders are not proficient readers and a like number of eighth-graders lag in math. Both were higher -- above 70 percent -- in 2005.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
(Parents Pledge)

Head Start may be too late. The iconic federal preschool program targets low-income kids between 3 and 5, but the brain forms critical language connections in its first thousand days, experts say. That’s the message the American Academy of Pediatrics sent to doctors who care for low-income children in a recent policy statement. A child who is read aloud to and has a rich language environment enjoys distinct advantages, the report argues, which linger well into the school years.

A 2012 study, cited in the APP report, found that 60 percent of high-income children were read to daily, while only 34 percent of those well below the poverty line were read to. “Children from low-income homes are much less likely to have a language rich environment,” said Dr. Pamela High, director of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. “They hear fewer words and they know fewer words at age 3 than their more advantaged peers.” And while most people wouldn’t look to pediatricians as the front line of literacy, the APP notes that, for many toddlers, the family doctor is the only trusted professional who routinely sees them during those first three years.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
(Daily Reporter)

Lincoln's public safety director and an Omaha state senator are calling for an expansion of early education as a way to prevent crime.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
(Vox.com)

It's much more difficult for a standalone center to line up pre-K and kindergarten curriculums than it is for a pre-K classroom in a public or charter school, said Williams, of the New America Foundation. Since students might scatter from the community-based center to several public, private and charter schools, "it's going to be really hard to try to get any kind of reliable alignment," he said.

But quality control might be easier overall at the community-based centers, said Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research. When school districts in poor areas of New Jersey began offering universal pre-K, the programs outside of schools were of lower quality than the public school programs, he said. But over time, they caught up.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
(The New York Times)

Resources for choosing a child-care provider are antiquated. Only 27 states even post reports online on both regular monitoring and inspections of child-care centers, and only 24 do for home-based child-care. Costs are high. Child Care Aware America, a national organization focused on quality childcare, reports that the annual cost of day care for an infant is more than the average cost of in-state tuition and fees at public colleges in 31 states. And according to the news site Vox, the problem is just getting worse; the cost of child care is growing at nearly twice the rate of prices economy-wide. Given that the stakes are so high and the costs so steep, how does an already overwhelmed working parent find a decent, affordable child-care provider?

Thursday, July 24, 2014
(VPR )

Vermont ranks second in the country in child well being. That’s according to the most-recent Kids Count Data Book, which is published annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The state is among the top 10 in all four of the ranked categories – economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. Voices for Vermont’s Children Research Associate Sarah Teel and Marianne Miller, Head Start and Early Head Start director for Capstone Community Action Council, discuss the report’s findings and look at areas of well-being that still have children’s advocates concerned.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
(wthr.com)

Indiana's three most populous counties are among five picked for the state's pilot program that will allow low-income Hoosier children to attend preschool.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
(app.com)

For the third straight year, New Jersey slid down the rankings of overall children’s well-being and is now out of the top five in the nation, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count data book, released Tuesday. New Jersey’s strong educational ranking, bolstered by highly regarded and widely available preschool programs, could not offset declines in health and poverty indicators measured by the Baltimore-based foundation. New Jersey regularly ranks high in the report’s indicators, and ranked No. 2 in education for the third straight year, thanks in part to state-funded preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds that reaches 80 percent of the state’s high poverty districts.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Many previous studies have shown a correlation between behavior problems and language skill. Children with behavior problems, particularly those with attention deficits and hyperactivity, such as in ADHD, often have poor language skills. Whether one of these problems precedes the other and directly causes it was until recently an open question. But in a longitudinal study published last year, researchers concluded that the arrow points decisively from poor language ability to later behavioral problems, rather than the reverse.

The current study, published in the journal Development and Psychology, shows that it does this by way of self-regulation, a varied concept that includes physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral control. Self-regulation is integral to children’s capacity to adapt to social situations and to direct their actions toward future goals. The absence of self-regulation abilities is a key predictor and component of future behavior problems.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
(The Washington Post)

Children in the District are attending preschool at higher rates, performing better academically and are more likely to have health insurance, according to an annual report of child well-being indicators released this week. But challenges remain steep for many children in the nation’s capital, where poverty rates are well above the national average.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
(The Huffington Post)

The importance of early childhood education is sometimes an afterthought in our discourse about the general topic of education in the United States. A lot of discussions center on access and success in the higher education realm, sometimes beginning with conversations about the K-12 pipeline. The national push for universal pre-Kindergarten, reinvigorated in recent years by President Obama, has altered the focus of education policy and messaging. It's important to note how social media campaigns have helped to highlight the issue reminding everyone of how important the early years in the development of the brains of young people. One of these campaigns has been uplifted and galvanized by David Johns, the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. Johns, a former elementary school teacher and senior education policy adviser to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), is continuing to use his platform to ensure that the youngest of our citizens are not neglected or ignored. Through his constant usage of the "teach the babies" phrase and the #teachthebabies hash tag on social media he reminds us that, as he often says, "learning begins at birth and the preparation for learning begins well before birth.". . .

In addition to public speeches where Johns has highlighted the importance of ensuring that all children have access to high quality early learning programs including home visiting, child care, Head Start and pre-Kindergarten programs and services, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans contributed to "Being Black is Not A Risk Factor," a report published by the National Black Child Development Institute and co-authored a report entitled "Equity and Excellence: African-American Children's Access to Quality Preschool" with the National Institute for Early Education Research.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
(CT News Junkie)

Overall, Connecticut ranks seventh in child well-being, which is an improvement from last year when the state ranked at an all-time low of ninth place. The report did include some bright spots for Connecticut. For instance, the state scored 5th in the overall educational well-being of children. Only 37 percent of children in Connecticut do not have access to preschool, which is the lowest rate in the country. Gibson called for expanding the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit program and increased access to early childhood education programs.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
(USA Today)

Child poverty rates in the U.S. are on the rise, but health and education trends are showing improvements according to the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Health and education rates are making significant strides.Teen birthrates reached an all-time low; child and teen death rates decreased; preschool enrollment climbed; and more children showed proficiency at reading and math. McCarthy attributed much of the success in health and education to good state policy choices. Several states made greater investments in children's health insurance and educational programs. There is a disparity between regions of the country. Southern states tended to do less well on the children's well-being ratings than Northern states. The five lowest states are Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico and Mississippi, and the top five states are Massachusetts, Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire and Minnesota.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
(The Colorado County Citizen)

One of the most important periods of a child’s life happens before kindergarten. Between birth and reaching his or her third birthday, a child will have quick, but important mental and physical growth. “We try to get them early, because early is best,” said Dana Gaskin, the Region III Education Service Center’s Child-Find coordinator. The state recognized that it takes the village to raise a child, and anyone with knowledge of a child needing help can get a trained team to offer assistance to the child’s family.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
(Forbes)

If the recession was difficult for adults, it was just as hard on young children. Between 2009 and 2013, enrollment in state-funded pre-K programs barely budged, up from 40 to 42 percent. Meanwhile, per-child spending on those pre-K programs fell, and Head Start programs felt the effects of sequestration more acutely than most, with 57,000 kids forced out virtually overnight and their parents stranded to scramble for child care. Policymakers continued to ignore the needs of a growing dual-language learner population. Achievement gaps between rich and poor kindergartners have grown, as have gaps in fourth-grade test scores for low- and high-income children. A new report my colleagues and I released last week, Beyond Subprime Learning: Accelerating Progress in Early Education, charts a path forward for early learning in America with a series of essential improvements–and a few bold ideas that, with enough political will, could fundamentally change the design of the birth-to-third-grade educational spectrum. . .

We propose that states increase their investments in pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds–with help from the federal government, at first, through a matching program–and take responsibility for those programs. States and school districts are already responsible for the bulk of K-12 educational costs, while the feds tack on about 12 percent of the total funding; pre-K should be incorporated into that system, with teachers paid comparably to K-12 teachers and funded through the same funding formulas as the other grades.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
(89.3 KPCC)

Monique Hurtado found a preschool course for her child on the Internet. For years, websites have offered free preschool handouts or activity guides. Now, parents can get an entire preschool curriculum from a computer. It's a sign of where early education may be headed in these times of high preschool costs and long wait lists

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
(Grand Forks Herald)

Although North Dakota may have the best economy in the nation for its children, the percentage of children living in poverty hasn’t changed since 2005, according to a national report on children’s well-being. North Dakota ranked high in several areas, but the report, which uses information from 2012, suggests the state could invest more in early childhood education, said Karen Olson, program director for Kids Count North Dakota. The state has the fifth-worst ranking in regard to preschool enrollment. “The research is very clear that the earlier you can start investing in a child’s education and training, the bigger impact you’re going to have,” she said.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
(WVGazette.com)

While West Virginia’s universal preschool program has been nationally recognized, a report being released Tuesday ranks the state’s program among the worst in the country because it provides access only to 4-year-olds.

The state currently offers free preschool to all 4-year-olds, with enrollment reaching more than 15,000 children last school year, and just last month, the National Institute for Early Education Research ranked West Virginia among the top 10 states in the country for pre-K enrollment.

But state law does not provide the same services to 3-year-olds unless they have an Individualized Education Program, typically designated for children with special needs. Because of that, the Kids Count Data Center report ranked the state 47th in preschool access.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
(Public News Service-IL)

According to Joseph, the EITC now benefits more than one million Illinois children, and he says his organization is now working to expand it to 20 percent of the federal credit over a five-year period. He notes that on most indicators in the report Illinois is close to, or somewhat better, than the national average. Troubling trends remain, however, as the report finds the child poverty rate in Illinois increased from 16 percent in 2005 to 22 percent in 2012. Joseph says this highlights the importance of maintaining and strengthening programs such as food assistance and the state's Child Care Assistance Program. He says Illinois also needs to renew its investment in early childhood education. "We know from a vast body of research evidence this has substantial payoffs in terms of school readiness, educational outcomes later in school, and in terms of economic outcomes in adult life," says Joseph. Since 2009, funding cuts in Illinois have reduced the number of children participating in state-funded preschool by about 25,000.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
(MarionStar.com)

“It is encouraging to see positive trends for Ohio’s children on several of the indicators,” said Dawn Wallace-Pascoe, KIDS COUNT project manager at Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio. “However, the Data Book’s findings send a clear signal that we need to focus on reducing child poverty, addressing the prevalence of children growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods, and finding secure employment for parents if we are to improve well-being for all children in our state.”

She said the report was mixed for Ohio, as the state improved in several areas, including the number of children without health insurance and the percent of teens who abuse alcohol or drugs.

She said expanding Medicaid will be helpful, as will previous policies for increasing money for early-childhood education. The report showed 56 percent of kids did not attend preschool from 2010-12, slightly more than the national average.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
(The Washington Times)

Nearly three out of 10 kids are living in poverty in Arkansas, but the number of children without health insurance has gone down, according to a national study released Tuesday that shows how children fare in each state.

Sunday, July 20, 2014
(The New York Times)

In the fall, Ms. Martino will join the army of new teachers — as many as 1,000 in all — who will lead classrooms across the city as Mayor Bill de Blasio rolls out the first phase of his universal prekindergarten program. This will be Ms. Martino’s first preschool classroom and her first full-time job after a decade as a stay-at-home mother. (Her children are now 6 and 9 years old.). She is working on her second graduate degree, having earned a master’s degree to become a guidance counselor in her 20s. She is one of 95 scholars enrolled in a new, city-funded fellowship program run by the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, which is training new prekindergarten teachers for the fall.

The program — which offers a fully funded master’s degree in early childhood education from the City University of New York, along with a full-time prekindergarten teaching position — was aimed at people who were new to teaching but had a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, a 3.0 grade-point average and a passion for working with young children.

Sunday, July 20, 2014
(1011Now )

Quality ratings for Nebraska child care and early childhood education programs are the focus of a new system launched July 1 to help parents and guardians evaluate child care facilities when choosing care for their young children. The new system, Step Up to Quality, is aimed at improving the quality of all child care and early childhood education programs statewide ― programs that typically care for children from birth to kindergarten age and are eligible to apply.

Sunday, July 20, 2014
(Time)

In Chicago, VOCEL – a small education non-profit for children from under-resourced communities – is behind one of the first initiatives to use crowdfunding to open a preschool, the AFP reports.

Saturday, July 19, 2014
(All Africa)

Zimbabwe rules the roost in literacy in Africa with many Zimbabweans being accommodated in the regional and international industrial hubs. However, despite the apparent success scored by the Government in the education sector, a myriad problems still persist. The Herald's Senior Writer, Lovemore Ranga Mataire speaks to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Dr Olivia Muchena for an appraisal of developments in the sector.

Saturday, July 19, 2014
(Orlando Sentinel)

For Florida's 1 million children growing up in poverty, kindergarten — and even pre-K — is too late to start giving them the help many will need to grow into capable, productive adults. That's the warning of a growing statewide effort to help parents and policymakers pay attention to the critical development years from birth through age 3.

But the message has been slow to reach parents and caregivers — those who can take greatest advantage of that precious and short window. In Florida, where one in four children lives below the federal poverty line and one in nine lives in extreme poverty, child-welfare advocates say few options are available to low-income parents who need quality child care or help in knowing what to do on their own. Meanwhile, the state's universal pre-kindergarten program — overwhelmingly passed by voters and open to every 4-year-old, regardless of family income — fails to meet seven of 10 nationally recommended quality standards, such as child-to-teacher ratio and class size.

Friday, July 18, 2014
(The Oregonian [Op-Ed])

One approach is to subsidize the working poor more generously, using the earned income tax credit or similar measures. That's a good idea. Another approach is to improve poor children's chances by helping them do better at school and college. That's a good idea too - though harder to put into practice. Stilwell quotes a new briefing paper by Isabel Sawhill and Quentin Karpilow of the Brookings Institution. This includes some arresting numbers. According to the research surveyed in the note, proven interventions to help disadvantaged children raise their lifetime incomes by an amount roughly 10 times greater than the interventions cost. (The authors reckon the total cost per child of the programs they advocate to be about $20,000; the average lifetime gain per beneficiary is about $200,000.)

Thursday, July 17, 2014
(U.S. News & World Report)

Republicans and Democrats don't find common ground on much these days, but they appear to agree on one thing: the importance of early childhood education. Although there would be an upfront investment that could increase the deficit in the short-term, voters were still supportive and agreed it would pay for itself down the road by improving education, health and economic situations for children.

"That’s an important takeaway, particularly for those who feel it’s not the right time to increase investments or spending," Perry says. "The earlier you start, particularly with children in poverty, the better their preparedness is for kindergarten and beyond, and those gains can last a lifetime. Those folks who do better not only aren't using expensive programs like special ed, but they’re becoming productive members of society and paying taxes."

Thursday, July 17, 2014
(Vox.com)

More than three-quarters of all 4-year-olds in the US are enrolled in some kind of educational program, according to the Organization for Economic and Community Development.

That puts the US at 25th of 38 rich countries and developing economies — behind Mexico,  France, and Portugal, among other nations.

Thursday, July 17, 2014
(SFGate)

Nebraska has launched a new quality rating system for child care facilities and early childhood education programs, state officials said Thursday.

The "Step Up to Quality" system is designed to help parents and guardians evaluate programs that care for young children on factors including curriculum, learning environment, staff interaction with children and family engagement efforts.

A state law passed last year requires participation from 10 of Nebraska's largest child care providers — all in Omaha and Lincoln — and smaller providers that collect at least $250,000 from the state. The program is voluntary for any other providers.

Thursday, July 17, 2014
(Times-Picayune)

Almost half of the children entering kindergarten in the United States come from poor or less educated families, and do worse in school than students from wealthier and better educated homes, a new study finds. It's the latest addition to a overwhelming research pool deeming poor preschoolers as worse off.

The study was released Tuesday by the Sesame Workshop, the non-profit behind Sesame Street, and the research group Mathematica Policy Research. It analyzes federal early childhood data from the 2010-11 school year.

Thursday, July 17, 2014
(The Huffington Post)

Both Democratic and Republican voters want more of an investment in early childhood education, and they want it now, according to a new national poll. Similar to previous polls conducted on the subject, Americans expressed support for the idea of early childhood education. Out of nine sample national priorities, including “reducing the tax burden on families” and “securing our borders,” voters ranked “making sure our children get a strong start in life,” as the second most important, only trumped by “increasing jobs and economic growth.” Overwhelmingly, voters said the nation should be doing more to make sure children begin kindergarten with the knowledge and skills they need. . .

Steven Barnett, director of National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, previously told the Associated Press that about half of American children ages 3 or 4 attend an early education program and that a third of children attend programs that are publicly funded.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
(The Washington Post)

Preschool programs should be integral parts of elementary schools with comparable funding levels and school hours; child-care professionals should be trained as teachers, not babysitters; and state data systems should include information about early education, according to a blueprint for speeding up improvements in early education.

The report published Wednesday by the non-partisan New America Foundation includes wide-ranging policy recommendations for the future of early learning, spanning academic standards, teacher training, assessments, funding and evaluations that emphasize how well teachers interact with children.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
(The Denver Post)

A proposed extension and increase in the Denver preschool sales tax is a step closer to making the November ballot. The City Council's Government & Finance Committee on Wednesday approved the ballot measure 3-1. The proposal would reauthorize the 0.12 percent sales tax, narrowly approved by voters in 2006, and increase it to 0.15 percent. The tax would expire in 2026.

The program has provided more than $55 million in preschool tuition credits for 32,000 children, including 4,813 in the last school year. Credits are available under the program to all families in the city with 4-year-olds based on economic need and the quality of the preschool program being sought.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
(Mainichi)

The education ministry may shift portions of the first-grade primary school curriculum into the educational and childcare programs at kindergartens and preschools as part of forthcoming curriculum revisions, it has been learned. The proposal would incorporate elements of first-grade education into kindergarten instruction and preschool childcare guidelines. Society and science classes taught in the first and second grades of primary school would be discontinued, while "life-environment" -- a subject first introduced in the 1992 academic year that stresses hands-on activities -- would be introduced to preschoolers and kindergarteners.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
(HealthCanal)

 A new Indiana University study has tracked the links between early language skills and subsequent behavior problems in young children. Poor language skills, the study suggests, limit the ability to control one’s behavior, which in turn can lead to behavior problems such as ADHD and other disorders of inattention and hyperactivity.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
(Bloomberg Business Week)

Criteria for designating preschool as high-quality include having comprehensive early learning standards, a maximum class size of 20 children and teachers with at least a bachelor’s degree, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. They should also provide at least one meal, vision, hearing and health screenings and referrals as well as support services such as parent education and home visits.

Only four states -- Alabama, Alaska, North Carolina, Rhode Island -- and one of Louisiana’s three programs met all 10 of the organization’s benchmarks for state preschool quality standards in 2013, according to the organization.

The introduction of a public preschool program for disadvantaged children would, in the long run, increase college enrollment by 3.6 percentage points, according to a 2013 paper by economists James Heckman of the University of Chicago and Lakshmi Raut of the Social Security Administration.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
(Telegram.com)

The distribution of such human capital is a growing area of focus as some economists see gaps widening early on based on what money can buy. Children from poorer families may miss advantages that include time spent with their parents and early childhood education, which is linked to better brain development, higher test scores and, in turn, greater earnings, said Sean Reardon, professor of education and sociology at Stanford University. . .

Criteria for designating preschool as high-quality include having comprehensive early learning standards, a maximum class size of 20 children and teachers with at least a bachelor's degree, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. They should also provide at least one meal, vision, hearing and health screenings and referrals as well as support services such as parent education and home visits. The introduction of a public preschool program for disadvantaged children would, in the long run, increase college enrollment by 3.6 percentage points, according to a 2013 paper by economists James Heckman of the University of Chicago and Lakshmi Raut of the Social Security Administration. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
(Twin Cities Daily Planet [Op-Ed])

That early learning is critical is one of the few points of agreement in today’s education reform debate. Unfortunately, actually improving early childhood education on a large scale is trickier than it looks at first. The high return on investment for strong early childhood education has become a well-worn talking point. Estimates as high as $16 of benefit for every $1 invested raise eyebrows and catch attention. Those benefits come from many sources: higher income (and thus higher tax revenue), lower K-12 expenditures for special education or remediation, and—one of the most beneficial—lower crime rates, producing lower justice system expenditures and “savings” for victims. Of course, some students benefit more than others, and the return on investment numbers capture trends, not absolute guarantees for each student.

Monday, July 14, 2014
(Inquisitr)

Unfortunately, there seems to be a direct correlation between income levels and educational achievement. Michael A. Rebell is the executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Columbia University. He said this is the explanation for the United States lagging behind in comparison with other countries in international tests.

Monday, July 14, 2014
(ValdostaToday.com)

Governor Nathan Deal has announced that individuals who further their education in early childhood care from eligible colleges between January 1, 2014 and July 1, 2017 could receive a financial award. This new program from the Governor and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning includes approved Early Childhood Care and Education programs at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.

Monday, July 14, 2014
(EdSource)

Teaching new mothers the best way to read to their infants is just one of Leal’s many responsibilities as a home visiting nurse. Nurses like Leal offer pregnancy advice, monitor child development and explain parenting techniques to women who are young, low-income, or struggling with domestic abuse. They begin working with new mothers in the first or second trimester and continue until the child turns 2.

Home visiting isn’t a new idea. There has been some version of it in England since the late 19th century and it is a common practice in many European countries. Still, the idea has never really caught on in the United States.

Now, with an influx of money from the Affordable Care Act, Leal is one of a growing number of home visiting nurses in California and across the country. While the money lasts – it’s set to run out on March 30, 2015 – nearly 1,800 California women will be visited by a nurse every few weeks as a part of the California Home Visiting Program that launched in 2012.

Monday, July 14, 2014
(Washington Post)

A D.C. councilmember is sponsoring legislation to prohibit the city’s public schools from suspending or expelling pre-kindergarten students except in rare circumstances.

The legislation from Councilmember David Grosso follows a recent city report that found 181 3- and 4-year-olds received out-of-school suspensions in the 2012-13 school year.

The Washington Post reports (http://wapo.st/1nna5is ) that the proposal applies to both the city’s traditional and charter schools.

Monday, July 14, 2014
(LA Times [Op-Ed])

The scaffolding of support for the Common Core curriculum standards continues, right and left, to lose a beam here, a platform there. After adopting the standards, with vocal support from the governor, both the Oklahoma Legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin have now abandoned them. The American Federation of Teachers was once a big supporter. At its meeting over the weekend, though it didn't switch to outright opposition, it voted to set up grants for teachers to critique or reformulate the standards. . .

It happened too fast, with too little review. Worse, it happened with an unconscionable emphasis on holding everyone responsible right away for how students fared on a new curriculum and new tests.
Monday, July 14, 2014
(The Washington Post)

D.C. Council member David Grosso’s push to prohibit public schools from suspending and expelling pre-kindergartners comes in response to a city report that found that 3- and 4-year-olds were punished with out-of-school suspension 181 times during the 2012-2013 school year.

That report, produced by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, represents city officials’ first attempt to produce a comprehensive picture of suspension and expulsion across both traditional and charter schools. Using data reported by schools, the agency found that about 10,000 of the city’s 80,000 public school students — or about 12 percent — were suspended at least once in 2012-2013.

Sunday, July 13, 2014
(Times-Post)

The five major gubernatorial candidates agree Rhode Island needs a strong school system for its economy to thrive, but their plans to transform it differ. Parents who played with their children at Lippitt Memorial Park in Providence this week said they want the state to provide prekindergarten education because preschool is expensive and they are concerned with the quality of education in the public schools. Emma Sperling, of Pawtucket, said she worries she will have to move to a different school district before her 2-year-old son goes to kindergarten. Democratic candidates Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell want to spend more on public schools. The first policy Taveras proposed as a candidate was state-funded universal prekindergarten education for all 4-year-olds.

Sunday, July 13, 2014
(Columbia Daily Tribune)

Area superintendents are applauding Gov. Jay Nixon’s signing this week of a bill that would include state funding for early childhood education programs in schools. House Bill 1689 was co-sponsored by State Rep. John Wright, D-Rocheport. It would include funding for the programs for 3- and 4-year-olds in the state’s foundation formula for districts that have them or start them. The programs are voluntary on the part of school districts and it’s the decision of parents if they want to enroll their children in the programs. The bill would only allow districts to count preschoolers eligible for free and reduced-price meals in the formula, and caps the number of students for which the district can receive funding to 4 percent of the total number of students eligible for free- and reduced-price meals.