Volume 13, Issue 22

Friday, October 31, 2014

Hot Topics

Steve Barnett’s been enjoying this clever pumpkin carved by artist Tomas Gonzales from the people at Preschool Advantage, who fund preschool for individual children in need. Stop by their page to read about their work and see the Rutgers GSE article about the Preschool Advantage Turning Leaves Gala, held last week.

Thirty-six applications were submitted to the DOE for development or expansion grants to build high quality preschool programs in states. The grant process involved addressing issues of financing, professional development, reaching geographic areas in need, and building quality in programs, among other things. States will learn the outcomes of their applications in December, and we can expect to learn lots of useful lessons about policy and implementation as they build their early childhood programs in coming years. Jim Squires has blogged about which states did and did not apply here.

A new report from the Ounce of Prevention fund once again draws the connection between health and early childhood education experiences. The first few years of children’s lives are crucial to establishing the foundations of good health as well as making sure children are “school ready,” the authors report, and early childhood education can play a role. NIEER has also released a past report on the relationship between early childhood education and health outcomes.

The spotlight is on moving beyond preschool as a standalone grade and aligning it with early elementary grades. The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) released an updated, principal competency guide which defines new competencies and outlines a practical approach to high-quality early childhood education for young children from age three to grade three (the digital version is available for free until November 15). The Education Commission of the States is also focusing on the issue, releasing “a policymaker’s guide,” offering recommended foundations of effective preschool to grade 3 alignment. Birth to grade 3rd is one of the focus areas of CEELO.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is investing resources internationally on Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in an effort to help jurisdictions better understand how ECEC can be improved; give voice to teachers; learn among jurisdictions; and produce comparable data. States are invited to join a new international survey of ECEC teachers. The survey will collect comparable staff-level data, providing information on process quality, staff practices and interactions with children. It will cover teachers’ initial preparation and ongoing professional development, as well as the quality of the learning environments for children. Joining at this stage of the project will enable states to influence the final shape of the survey. The OECD is also investigating ways to assess and compare child outcomes data internationally. The results of this work will enable policy makers and others to identify the factors that support quality and equity in early years education, and fast-track improvements. In addition, the OECD is offering countries and individual jurisdictions in-depth, customised reviews of ECEC policies and provision. These reviews are tailored to the specific objectives, contexts and approaches of individual jurisdictions. To learn more about the OECD’s work on ECEC, visit the website or contact Arno.ENGEL@oecd.org

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

In this week's National Journal Education Insiders forum, Fawn Johnson asks what has stalled preschool expansion, despite strong public support. NIEER Director Steve Barnett explores the multiple factors in a new blog.

In response to a new paper from the Cato Institute claiming a weak research base to support preschool, Steve Barnett has a guest piece in Valerie Strauss' Answer Sheet column detailing the strong research case for early childhood education. An excerpt can be read on our blog.

Jim Squires has written about engagement in the Preschool Development and Expansion grant process here.

Resources

A new report from the Center for American Progress explores the state of infants and toddlers given shifting social and economic trends. Noting that current services for infants and toddlers are under-resourced and fragmented, they provide several recommendations for streamlining services and improving investments.

The European Early Childhood Education and Research Journal includes an article on inequality of access to high quality early education. The authors identify five quality indicators and include recommendations for policy change to improve access to all.

The National Women’s Law Center released a report on state child care assistance policies. Turning the Corner: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2014 reports that families in 33 states had greater access to child care assistance and/or received greater benefits from assistance in February 2014 than in February 2013. Yet in 13 states families were worse off than last year. 

A new article in Phi Delta Kappan outlines some strategies for schools and districts building high quality early education systems from birth through 3rd grade.

This report from The Education Commission of the States compiles the most commonly requested topics from preschool to third grade and responses to those questions from policymakers.

Acelero Learning is seeking a SVP of Early Learning and Training to join the executive team. Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the SVP, Early Learning and Training will be responsible for ensuring educational excellence in Acelero’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Interested parties may apply on-line at: http://www.acelero.net/jobs

NIEER Activities

NIEER's Associate Director of Research Milagros Nores participated in the Panel "Policy and Early Learning Agenda," at “Children: LA’s Greatest Investment.” The event, sponsored by LAUP and LA n Sync, convened  experts to address policy impacting early learning at the local, state, and national level, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Video of the event is available on LAUP’s website.

NIEER's Associate Director of Research Milagros Nores will be speaking as part of the Rutgers GSE "Brown Bag Series" on November 5th at 11:45am. The event will be held in Room 124 of the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, as well as a livestreaming on the GSE's YouTube channel.

Several NIEER researchers will be presenting at the 2014 NAEYC Conference, "Delivering on the Promise of Early Learning, which begins on November 5th in Dallas, Texas. More information on sessions can be found on the NAEYC website, including a search tool for sessions.

 

  • NIEER Distinguished Fellow Dorothy Strickland will present the plenary address at NAEYC's research forum, on Linking Early Literacy Standards, Instruction, and Assessment Across the Pre K to Grade 3 Continuum (Convention Center. 11/6/2014, 10AM). She will also appear on an NAEYC panel on the topic Revelations and Recommendations: Working on Behalf of Black Children (Omni Dallas Hotel. 11/6/2014, 7PM). In that discussion she will reference NIEER’s paper Equity and Excellence: African-American Children’s Access to Quality Preschool.
  • NIEER Researchers Alissa Lange, Kimberly Brenneman, and Jorie Quinn will present "Incorporating language into early math instruction using research-based, developmentally appropriate strategies and activities" (Omni Dallas Hotel, Dallas Ballroom F. 11/6/14, 10AM)
  • Kimberly Brenneman will also be contributing to the sessions "C4L (Connect4Learning): Interdisciplinary early childhood education including mathematics, science, literacy, and social-emotional development" (Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Ballroom C2. 11/5/2014, 8:30AM)  and "Integrating science, technology, and engineering in pre-K: Step up your practice by transforming common 'good start' preschool activities into intellectually rigorous, developmentally appropriate experiences" (Hutchison Convention Center, Room D166. 11/6/2014, 3:PM)

NIEER director Steve Barnett weighed in on a discussion about preschool as the first step to college in Long Beach.

CEELO Update

Evaluating Early Childhood Educators: Prekindergarten through Third Grade, a Supplement to the Practical Guide to Designing Comprehensive Educator Evaluation Systems helps state and district teams to problem-solve and make design decisions to differentiate evaluation systems for early childhood teachers. Jana Martella and Lori Connors-Tadros, CEELO co-directors, designed this supplemental guide as an extension to the Great Teacher and Leader Center’s resource, Practical Guide to Designing Comprehensive Teacher Evaluation Systems.

The first meeting of a new cohort for the NJ Early Learning Academy focused on developing Peer Learning Communities, and using them to implement state policies and guidelines effectively within districts to encourage student learning.

Calendar

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 8:00am to Saturday, November 8, 2014 - 5:00pm

Several NIEER researchers will be presenting at the 2014 NAEYC Conference, "Delivering on the Promise of Early Learning":

  • NIEER Researchers Alissa Lange, Kimberly Brenneman, and Jorie Quinn will present "Incorporating language into early math instruction using research-based, developmentally appropriate strategies and activities" (Omni Dallas Hotel, Dallas Ballroom F. 11/6/14, 10AM)
  • Kimberly Brenneman will also be contributing to the sessions "C4L (Connect4Learning): Interdisciplinary early childhood education including mathematics, science, literacy, and social-emotional development" (Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Ballroom C2. 11/5/2014, 8:30AM)  and "Integrating science, technology, and engineering in pre-K: Step up your practice by transforming common 'good start' preschool activities into intellectually rigorous, developmentally appropriate experiences" (Hutchison Convention Center, Room D166. 11/6/2014, 3PM)
  • NIEER Fellow Dorothy Strickland will be presenting at the sessions "Linking literacy standards, instruction, and assessment across the pre- to grade 2 continuum" (Convention Center. 11/6/2014, 10AM) and "Revelations and recommendations: Working on behalf of black children" (Omni Dallas Hotel. 11/6/2014, 7PM). 
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 -
11:45am to 1:00pm

NIEER's Associate DIrector of Research Milagros Nores will be speaking as part of the Rutgers GSE "Brown Bag Series." This presentation will focus on up cognitive, linguistic, socio-emotional, nutritional and social effects of this comprehensive educational and nutritional 0-5 intervention in north eastern Colombia. The event will be held in Room 124 of the Rutgers Graduate School of Education.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 2:00pm
Friday, November 14, 2014 - 8:30am to Saturday, November 15, 2014 - 1:00pm

The conference will focus on "The Power of the Teacher-Child Relationship: Encouraging, Inspiring, Transforming"

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 10:00am

This event hosted by New America will be a discussion on how our nation supports and rewards early childhood teachers and feature the findings of Marcy Whitebook, Deborah Phillips, and Carollee Howes's “Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages: The Early Childhood Workforce 25 Years after the National Child Care Staffing Study.”  

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. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 8:00am to Friday, December 12, 2014 - 5:00pm

The NTI is carefully developed to meet the learning and networking needs of those working with infants and toddlers in Early Childhood Education, Early Intervention, Mental Health, Early Head Start, Child Welfare, Parent Education, and Pediatrics.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015 -
4:00pm to 5:30pm

This event is part of the New York City Wonder of Learning Serioes. 

Early Education News Roundup

Friday, October 31, 2014
(Rockinghamnow.com)

Our state employs one of the best and most cost-effective crime prevention strategies law enforcement has – high quality early childhood programs, but too few children have the opportunity to benefit from them.

Programs like Smart Start and NC Pre-K have been proven to produce significant outcomes for our state. NC Pre-K is rated by the National Institute for Early Education Research as one the highest quality prekindergarten programs for four year olds in the nation. Unfortunately, it currently serves less than a quarter of the state’s four-year-olds. And only a fraction of the state’s children benefit from Smart Start, a nationally recognized program that works with families, teachers, faith communities, doctors and educators to ensure healthy development and early learning for children birth to five.

Voters know what they want — programs that begin from birth and continue through the early grades and produce the cognitive and character skills needed for later success. Seventy percent of North Carolina voters support programs that strengthen families, like voluntary home visiting and parent education programs. We are fortunate that in Rockingham County our Smart Start just launched such a program – Nurse Family Partnership. It is a voluntary, evidence-based home visiting program that is proven to improve school readiness and success, increase parental self-sufficiency and reduce future youth crime and delinquency. Once fully operational, the Rockingham program will serve 50 families.

Thursday, October 30, 2014
(89.3 KPCC Southern California Public Radio)

Believing it's never too early to think about college, Long Beach public officials and educators plan to take their message to the earliest learners — preschoolers. Their efforts to recruit the children sooner rather than later is part of a broader effort to provide preschool for every child. Among its champions is the new mayor of Long Beach, Robert Garcia, elected in July as the first Latino and gay mayor for the city. Garcia is making universal preschool, especially for disadvantaged children, a priority of his administration. Drawing from his own background as a five-year-old immigrant from Peru who overcame the challenges of language and poverty through education, the mayor wants Long Beach to become a leader in extending preschool to all. 

Researchers have long been interested in whether children who attend preschool continue on to higher education, according to Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. “There is certainly research that directly shows kids who went to high-quality preschool programs were more likely to graduate from high school, and … go on to college,” he said.

Thursday, October 30, 2014
(The Huffington Post [Op-Ed])

But one of the most daunting challenges about early learning in this country is a lack of public funding for teaching children from birth to 3 years of age. While many families must dig deep in their pockets to pay for their children's preschool, the families of children from low-income backgrounds have no pockets to dig in. Forty-nine percent of American children under the age of three -- 5.6 million -- live in low-income households, while 48 percent of children 3 through 5 years old -- 5.9 million -- live in low-income households. Without quality early-childhood education and affiliated services, this is a lost generation waiting to happen. America cannot afford to lose half of its future taxpayers, householders, parents and workers. . .

Yet, despite the benefits, state funding per child for preschool programs has declined over the last decade, according to data published by the National Institute for Early Education Research. In the most recent year for which statistics are available, 9,000 fewer 4-year-olds participated in publicly-funded preschool. That number needs to rise. And soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2014
(Chalkbeat Indiana)

About 230 Indianapolis preschoolers helped set a world record Thursday by taking part in the largest ever vocabulary lesson. It was part of an event to highlight early learning programs in 35 cities sponsored by PNC Bank. Learning vocabulary is among the most important skills for parents and preschool teachers to work on with kids to get them ready for school, Kucer said.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
(The Denver Post)

With rising preschool tuition reaching $1,000 per month in some places, even Denver Preschool Program officials say they've had trouble keeping up with the cost. After the program was approved narrowly by voters in 2006, the number of city 4-year-olds receiving tuition help from the sales tax revenue has gone down steadily since 2009. . .

The tax expires in 2016, and this election, Question 2A asks Denver voters to increase the tax, known as the Denver Preschool Tax, and to extend its life through 2026. If approved, the tax would become 15 cents on every $100 purchase, up from the current 12 cents per $100. This year, officials say the program is receiving about $13 million. If the tax is approved, the revenue could go up to $19 million as soon as next year.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
(Ed Central)

Thirty-five states and Puerto Rico applied for funding, signifying serious interest in early childhood education throughout the country and across party lines. The numbers reaffirm that there is strong bipartisan support for this issue: 16 of the states are headed by Republican governors and 19 by Democratic governors. Because states’ current pre-K investments vary significantly, the Departments divided the available grant money into two sub-grants: states with little or no public pre-K program were eligible to apply for “development grants,” and states with more robust systems or those receiving federal funds through Race to the Top- Early Learning Challenge were eligible for “expansion grants.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
(The White House)

On Wednesday, December 10, President Obama will host a White House Summit on Early Education. The Summit will bring together a broad coalition of philanthropic, business, education, advocacy and elected leaders, as well as other stakeholders who are committed to expanding access to high-quality early education. This summit builds on the President’s call in his 2013 State of the Union address to expand access to high-quality early childhood education to every child in America. As part of that effort, the President proposed a series of new investments that will establish a continuum of high-quality early learning for a child—beginning at birth and continuing to age five. This proposal includes extending and expanding evidence-based, voluntary home visiting, growing the supply of effective early learning opportunities for young children through Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, and providing Preschool for All.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
(Yakima Herald)

Washington state is one of 35 states applying for grants under the federal government’s new $250 million preschool education program, the U.S. Department of Education announced on Monday.

The money is intended to significantly expand preschool programs among at-risk children. The grant program is a joint venture between the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services; the goal is to get more states ready to participate under President Obama’s Preschool for All initiative that would offer early learning education to all children.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
(dailycomet.com)

The state school superintendent on Tuesday outlined a program he says will unify early childhood education in Louisiana. Not enough focus has been placed on students prior to third grade because evaluation methods are confusing and incomplete, said John White, who made three stops in Terrebonne Parish as part of his Louisiana Believes Tour. 

The pilot program the state is moving into was a result of Act 3 that the Legislature approved two years ago. Under the program, child care providers will be licensed by the Department of Education, instead of the Office of Family Services; preschools will be evaluated on their teaching and interaction with students; the application process for various forms of preschools including Head Start will be consolidated; and pre-school teachers will be required to have at least an associate degree in child care development. “We’re in a new era of childhood education,” said state Sen. Norby Chabert, R-Houma, one of two state legislators serving on an early childhood education task force.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
(Homer Tribune)

Early childhood development advocates have reason to rejoice throughout Alaska. Rep. Paul Seaton answered a cry for help with a funding option well-received among people present at a legislative open house at Head Start on Oct. 25.

In July of this year, Rep. Seaton put forth an effort amending Alaska’s Education Tax Credit program; legislation that opens the door for both businesses and individuals to receive tax credits for donations to programs such as Head Start, SPROUT, and Homer Early Childhood Coalition (formerly Best Beginnings).

A lack of childcare was also heavily discussed, with affordability being an aspect garnering much frustration. Parents make “incremental amounts” after paying for services needed for children, and the general lack of options and staffing locally. Seaton admitted that, “though the need is great,” a solution might be found by re-evaluating standards individuals in child care in the state are required to meet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
(Washington Post (Opinion))

“Remember that activity when we all get in the closet and pretend we’re not even there, so our principal can’t find us?” I choose my words carefully as I prep my pre-kindergarten students for the lockdown drill scheduled for that afternoon. These drills have become routine at Arlington elementary schools, and at schools across the country. After the latest school shooting, on Oct. 24 in Washington state, schools will no doubt be running through drills yet again. What can we do about all these shootings?, teachers ask each other. Lock the doors, we’re told, and assume the worst is coming.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
(Forbes)
  • A new push for academic achievement. Xer parents are increasingly sending their kids to preschool at ever-earlier ages. According to The State of Preschool, the share of 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool nearly doubled between 2003 and 2013. And despite this doubling of free preschool care, private preschool enrollment has also skyrocketed. Parents with means are willing to shell out major bucks to send their kids to the best preschools. A number of states have also recently instituted universal preschool programs for all children.

 

Monday, October 27, 2014
(Los Angeles Times)

Kindergartners, Avina says, learn best when they're fully engaged. "They need more than just paper and pencil and sitting at a desk. They need movement, they need music, they need drama, they need an experience."

So two years ago, he picked up a video camera.

The first big effort — kindergartners performing Madonna's "Vogue" — got more than 280,000 hits on his YouTube channel. He's since videotaped kids acting out children's books and performing music videos, including "Downtown" and the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated."

Monday, October 27, 2014
(Washington Monthly)

Research efforts are also advancing our knowledge of just how different DLLs’ linguistic and academic paths are. Whatever your preconceived notions, this research should inform the policies that govern DLLs’ educational experiences. The most recent edition of Early Childhood Research Quarterly(ECRQ) has several useful reviews of recent research on dual language learners.

Monday, October 27, 2014
(EdSource)

For the first time since the state enacted kindergarten legislation in 1891, California children have to be 5 years old by Sept. 1 to enroll in kindergarten.

The new cutoff date follows years of efforts in the state Legislature to move the date students were eligible for kindergarten to be in line with at least 20 other states with a Sept. 1 cutoff date. The others have earlier or later cutoff dates, or leave it up to local school districts to decide. Blunting the impact of the new deadline is California’s additional kindergarten year, called “transitional kindergarten,” for children whose 5th birthday falls somewhere between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2. These are children who were previously eligible to enroll in regular kindergarten even though they had not yet turned 5.  They can now attend transitional kindergarten, and then enroll in regular kindergarten the following year.

Monday, October 27, 2014
(The Tampa Tribune)

Parenthood should be affordable in this country, but the cost of raising a child from birth to adulthood is now a quarter of a million dollars and projected to double by the time today’s toddlers reach their teens. Will having kids soon be out of reach economically for many American families? A recent report from the Center for American Progress found that middle-class families are feeling an unprecedented economic squeeze — caught between stagnating wages and the exploding cost of basics such as housing, health care and children’s education. Most families, it seems, are getting by on less and living closer to the financial edge to help their kids grow up healthy and get ahead. The most striking growth in costs to families has been in child care, where expenses have climbed about $200 annually in each of the past dozen years, with nearly tenfold growth since the 1960s. Child care, on average, consumes $1 of every $5 in a family’s budget and exceeds the typical rent in every state.

Monday, October 27, 2014
(US DOE Office of Early Learning)

The Preschool Development Grants competition supports States to (1) build or enhance a preschool program infrastructure that would enable the delivery of high-quality preschool services to children, and (2) expand high-quality preschool programs in targeted communities that would serve as models for expanding preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families. These grants would lay the groundwork to ensure that more States are ready to participate in the Preschool for All formula grant initiative proposed by the Administration.

Monday, October 27, 2014
(24/7 Wall Street)

To identify the states slashing education spending the most, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the CBPP’s 2014 report, “Most States Funding Schools Less Than Before the Recession,” which analyzed state level general formula funding between fiscal 2008 and the current fiscal year. State formulas typically fund the majority of state-level education expenditures, but do not include all state sources of funding. Frequently, most state fund preschool and teacher retirements outside of these formulas.
 

Sunday, October 26, 2014
(Hawaii Tribune Herald)

The debate about constitutional Amendment 4, which Hawaii voters began casting ballots on this week, doesn’t focus on whether 4-year-olds should be in preschool. Both the Hawaii State Teachers Association, which opposes the proposed amendment, and folks like Deborah Zysman of Good Beginnings Alliance, which is leading the charge for it, say they see a need for children to enroll in preschool. The real question comes down to who should be providing the instruction. . . 

But Hawaii is the only state in the country that explicitly prohibits using state money for private early childhood education. The state has some Headstart programs, which are federally funded, but because of the way the state’s constitution is written, the state can’t enforce any educational standards for those programs, Zysman said. Amendment 4 would allow the state Legislature to set aside some amount of money to bolster the state’s preschools, many of which already have waiting lists. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014
(Amarillo Globe News)

Early childhood education is a very doable solution to breaking the cycle of poverty. It helps children who are at home with family by including them in a Parents As Teachers home visitation program or Reach Out and Read, or some similar program. It helps those in family home child care if they use a curriculum like BEECH, and it supports early childhood centers who have such a small profit margin in general that initiatives can make a huge impact, such as the Texas School Ready program or the No Excuses No Limits program or our excellent Head Start options. 

The point to make is we know early childhood is crucial to success, and we know there are proven interventions for breaking the cycle — we just need these things to reach all the children and families. Couldn’t we as a community join with the early childhood programs and with our families to support high quality beginnings for our children?

Friday, October 24, 2014
(PRWeb)

On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan challenged California to stand up as the model of what a high-quality early child care and education system should look like. Speaking at the “Children: LA’s Greatest Investment” forum, co-hosted by Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP), Duncan said that the case has been made for the economic and social benefits of not only high-quality preschool, but the broader early care and education spectrum. “We’re talking about a 0-5 continuum here,” Duncan told reporters after his keynote address at the forum. “I continue to believe this is the best investment we can make in families and children…if we want to have a strong economy,” Duncan said.

Friday, October 24, 2014
(The Montana Standard)

Lt. Gov. Angela McLean stopped in Butte Thursday to explain the governor’s mission to make early childhood education open to all kids. No matter the family’s income level or town, any child will be able to access pre-kindergarten through high-quality, half-day, voluntary preschool programs for 4-year-olds. The Early Edge Montana proposal links public with private partnerships throughout Montana, one of eight states lacking publicly funded, free education for younger kids, said McLean.

Friday, October 24, 2014
(The Huffington Post)

California's momentum on early learning was in the spotlight this week, when the White House came to town for "Children: The Bay Area's Greatest Investment," a Town Hall in San Francisco that celebrated the state's recent successes and reenergized participants to recommit to doing more for our youngest learners. Early Edge California was honored to join the White House in hosting this event. The Administration has played a significant role in building momentum for early childhood education, both by placing it at the top of President Obama's list of domestic priorities, and through investments in birth through age 8, including Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, Preschool Development Grants, home visiting and more. San Francisco was chosen to host the Town Hall because First 5 San Francisco's innovative Preschool for All program has provided such a model of what is possible. Yet, we still fall so far short in serving our youngest learners and their families effectively, in a way that recognizes the important intersection of health and early education.

Thursday, October 23, 2014
(Medical Press)

While losses in family income predict increases in behavior problems for many children, attending high-quality early childhood education and care centers offers some protection against families' economic declines, according to a new study out of Norway. In Norway, publicly subsidized high-quality early childhood education and care is available to all children, from low-income to affluent, starting at age 1. The study found that children who don't take part in such programs have more early behavior problems when their families' income drops.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Norwegian Center for Child Behavioral Development, and Boston College. It appears in the journal Child Development.

Thursday, October 23, 2014
(Los Angeles Sentinel)

Though the nation increasingly recognizes the importance of early childhood education, young African Americans and other children of color continue to trail their White counterparts on key measurements, according  to a report by  the Center for American Progress (CAP), an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action.

The report, titled, “Investing in Infants and Toddlers to Combat Inequality,” shows that despite being the majority, children of color are generally faring poorly on a number of social and educational metrics. One-in-three toddlers of color lives in poverty. By 5 years old, children from low-income homes have heard millions fewer words than their more affluent peers, a vocabulary deficit known as the word gap. According to an earlier CAP report, even among middle and upper class families, 25 percent of all kindergarteners are not school-ready – they may not know any letters, numbers, or colors, for example.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
(Shreveport Times)

Louisiana State Superintendent John White visited Mooretown Elementary School in West Shreveport recently to talk about the importance of early childhood education efforts in our state. The discussion centered around the development of high standards for early childhood education; better preparation and reward for the teacher workforce; and a family-friendly “one stop shop” for parents. School districts, Head Start, day care centers, and the Step Forward Initiative in our region are working in these areas, but greater state investment will be required.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
(LA Times)

Child poverty in America is at its highest point in 20 years, putting millions of children at increased risk of injuries, infant mortality, and premature death, according to a policy analysis published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

As the U.S. emerges from the worst recession since the Great Depression, 25% of children don’t have enough food to eat and 7 million kids still don’t have health insurance, the analysis says. Even worse: Five children die daily by firearms, and one dies every seven hours from abuse or neglect. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
(The Seattle Times)

The Seattle ballot line pitting one early learning proposition against another has drawn interest from at least one organization thousands of miles away. “What happens in Seattle will have implications not only across Washington state, but across the country,” said Mark Shriver, the Network’s president. But backers of the opposing Proposition No. 1A, which sets goals to improve child-care by making it cheaper and by helping child-care workers, call their measure the grass-roots option. Voters will be asked to choose whether they want either measure, and which one they prefer. “My perspective is that 1B is pushing from the top down,” said Rita Green, education chairwoman at the Seattle King County NAACP, which has endorsed 1A. “1B is city-controlled instead of parent- and teacher-controlled.” When Murray stumps for 1B, he talks about preschool closing the achievement gap between white and black children.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
(New York Times (Opinion))

With the introduction of universal pre-K in New York City, we have created a new entry point into our public school system. This raises a key question: What do we want our children’s first experiences in school to be? What does a good education look like for 4-year-olds?

This summer, Bank Street College of Education led training for 4,000 of New York’s pre-K teachers, including both veterans and hundreds of people who started teaching pre-K for the first time last month. Worried teachers talked about how the pressure to achieve good outcomes on the third-grade state exams has been trickling down to early childhood classrooms in the form of work sheets, skill drills and other developmentally inappropriate methods.

The problem is real, and it is not unique to New York City. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
(Fox6 WBRC)

The results of Mississippi's first statewide assessment of Kindergarten readiness reveal that two-thirds of the state's youngest learners enter school unprepared to learn.

More than 40,000 Kindergarteners from 144 districts throughout the state took the STAR Early Literacy exam during the first month of the 2014-15 school year. More than 65% of students scored below the 530 benchmark score that indicates a student has mastered at least 70% of early reading skills. The state average score was 501.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
(The Journal Gazette (IN))

Allen County officials say they are waiting to see where future funding will come from for statewide prekindergarten now that Gov. Mike Pence has withdrawn an application for $80 million in federal funds.

“We’re just waiting for the Indiana solution to funding,” said Stephen Smith, board chairman and interim CEO for United Way of Allen County. United Way is one of the key players in the implementation of a forthcoming $10 million state grant that will finance pilot pre-K programs in five counties, including Allen County. If he’s going to decline federal money, he suggests there is a Hoosier way to do this, and it’s better without having to answer to Uncle Sam. We’re just anxiously waiting for his proposal for funding.”

The governor pulled an $80 million application to the federal Preschool Development Grant program last week, saying he did not want “the lure of federal grant dollars to define our state’s mission and programs.”

Monday, October 20, 2014
(Providence Journal)

The Hult Prize Foundation announced today that President Bill Clinton has selected Early Childhood Education as the topic for the sixth annual Hult Prize. Student teams from over 600 universities and representing 150 countries will compete to develop innovative start-ups which seek to reimagine education, in order to reach ten million children, aged 0-6 over the next five years who reside in urban slums and beyond. The winner will be awarded one million dollars in seed capital, along with resources to scale worldwide.

Monday, October 20, 2014
(Atlanta Journal-Consitution)

The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is launching a new initiative designed to help preschool providers better identify and support children that are learning English.

The initiative announced this week will assist practitioners in identifying dual language learners, children that are learning English and one or more languages, and supporting their language development – a key factor for school readiness.

Monday, October 20, 2014
(PR Web)

On Tuesday, October 21, as the White House continues to promote the importance of early learning for our nation’s children, Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) will co-host an early learning forum in Los Angeles, featuring U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as keynote speaker.

Titled “Children: LA’s Greatest Investment,” the forum will examine quality in early learning and public policy to support early childhood education. Experts in education, philanthropy, government, and the business community will discuss President Obama’s early learning agenda and efforts in Los Angeles County to support early learning.

“Expanding access to high-quality preschool is the single most important step we can take to improve the future of our children,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. 

Monday, October 20, 2014
(CommonWealth)

The best way to improve reading proficiency in Massachusetts is to develop a statewide, holistic strategy to provide access to high quality early childhood education and relevant supports for families. Such an approach could speak to the significant gaps that universal preschool does not address in the first three years of a child’s life, as well as ensure the sustainability of such an approach by connecting families with the resources they need to create a healthy, stable environment for their young children. 

Thus far, our state’s leaders have been unwilling to invest the resources it will take to provide universal access to early education programs for every child from birth through age five, regardless of income. They have been inhibited by the estimated price tag of more than $1 billion. This, in spite of studies that have shown that for every $1 we invest in early education, we save at least $7 in long-term costs associated with high dropout rates, teen pregnancy, incarceration, and other social costs. 

Monday, October 20, 2014
(Dallas News)

Pennsylvania stands to reap significant benefits in the form of reduced costs to taxpayers and the state budget as a result of expanded access to pre-kindergarten programs for the commonwealth's 3- and 4-year-olds. That's according to new research released by Pre-K for PA and conducted by The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia.

The report outlines how investment in high-quality pre-k benefits K-12 school systems by reducing the need for special education programs and grade repetition, and producing fewer behavioral problems in school.Pennsylvania schools currently spend a significant amount of time and money helping children catch up who arrive for kindergarten unprepared – both academically and socially.

Sunday, October 19, 2014
(AL.com)

Education may be the great equalizer, but not every child in Alabama has an equal opportunity to quality education. Expanding Alabama's state-funded First Class Pre-K program to 100 percent of the state's four-year-olds could be part of the answer. The program already serves 12 percent of children and is one of only four programs to meet all of the National Institute for Early Education Research's quality standards. The program needs $13.2 million in additional funding each year from the state for the next eight years to become fully funded and accessible, according to the Alabama School Readiness Alliance Pre-K Task Force.

Sunday, October 19, 2014
(Rocket News)

Education is a major issue in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial campaign. Understandably, the discussion has centered on funding and spending. But once we get over the political palaver, the next governor must decide how best to spend whatever money is available. I have a suggestion: early education. . .

The materials Pre-K for PA has gathered are compelling. Research has determined that by age 5, 90 percent of a child’s brain is developed. If children are to reach their potential, education and training must start very early in life. The benefits build as the child grows. High-quality early-education programs lead to fewer students requiring special education programs, reduce grade repetition, and increase the likelihood of high school graduation and college enrollment. This adds up to lower costs and greater returns from our education spending.

Sunday, October 19, 2014
(greenbaypressgazette.com)

Wisconsin was eligible to apply for up to $15 million. The actual amount of our application, though, will be $0. The state is passing up the grant — in this round, anyway. . . 

Here’s the background. Wisconsin received a similar federal grant for $34 million under a program called the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge. That grant started in January 2013 and will be active through December 2016. It’s a big, complicated program. The state’s Department of Children and Families, Department of Education and Department of Health Services all have a hand in administering it, and it’s touched everything from attempts to spur private investment in early childhood programs to aligning YoungStar, the state’s child care ranking system, with the curriculum needs of 4-year-old kindergarten. In sum, the state is using that $34 million to help advance a number of initiatives that will help make sure Wisconsin kids get the support, love and education they need from birth.