Volume 14, Issue 10

Friday, May 15, 2015

Hot Topics

NIEER released the State of Preschool 2014 this week. State pre-K programs may have turned a corner in 2013-2014, but progress remains slow. If pre-K is to be made available to even all children under 200 percent of the poverty level within the next 20 years, state investments will have to grow at a much faster pace. Read more here and see the Yearbook here. Tim Bartik ran with the data from the Yearbook to estimate costs of funding high quality preschool for all 4-year-olds: see his analysis here. Governors Robert Bentley of Alabama and Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia authored an op-ed in Forbes this week, highlighting the excellent investment early education represents for policymakers (and children). Some video from the press release event, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaking to the press and reading to preschoolers.

A new report from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University finds that early, elementary, and teacher educators are among the lowest paid college graduates in the workforce. Those top-paying college majors in fields such as STEM and Business, can earn $3.4 million more than the lowest-paying majors over a lifetime. Early childhood educators earn some of the lowest median earnings in the report, at about $39,000. Well-trained, effective teachers are essential to a high quality program, but with low salaries and high teacher turnover rates, a well-educated professional workforce is difficult to attract and retain. Research Connections reported this week there is a special issue of the journal Professional Development in Education, focusing on challenges associated with the pathways to learning and professional development of early educators. In addition, a new report from the Migration Policy Institute, highlighted by CLASP, addresses in detail the issue of immigrant and refugee workers in the field of early education. The report states that equally important to a well-educated workforce is a diverse workforce, to deliver culturally competent care. 

The NCES Report Early Childhood Program Participation, From the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012 was released in May. The report is based on responses to the Early Childhood Program Participation survey, which “asks detailed questions about children’s participation in relative care, nonrelative care, and center-based care arrangements.” 

Stay up to date with all NIEER news and join our 11K followers on Twitter @PreschoolToday. You can also find us on Facebook at the National Institute for Early Education Research. Follow our partner organization for deep dives on policy and practice issues @CEELOorg.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

NIEER released the State of Preschool 2014 today. State pre-K programs may have turned a corner in 2013-2014, but progress remains slow. If pre-K is to be made available to even all children under 200 percent of the poverty level within the next 20 years, state investments will have to grow at a much faster pace. Read more here.

Resources

Child Care Subsidy Eligibility

From CLASP, an in-depth look at state child care subsidy eligibility policies.

Innovative Policies

CLASP noted a policy brief from Zero to Three outlining innovations in state policies related to infants and toddler.

Research Connections Workshop

Research Connections is offering a free data workshop on Digging into the NSECE: Exploiting the potential of the Household and provider data files from the national Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE), July 20-23, 2015. Application deadline is May 29, 2015.  Admitted graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and junior faculty/researchers will be considered for one of a limited number of stipends to help with travel and housing costs. To be considered for one of these awards, applicants must also submit a letter of support from a senior faculty member, mentor, or advisor.  Applications are competitive. A limited number of stipends will be awarded. Click here to apply.

New Data Available
 
New data from the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (Baby FACES) Spring 2009-2012 are available for researchers via Research Connections.
 

From The Century Foundation, Lessons from New York City’s Universal Pre-K Expansion: How a Focus on Diversity Could Make It Even Better is a two-part study, including “background on how universal pre-K programs fit into the national landscape of early childhood policy, outlines the main features of New York City’s current UPK expansion efforts, and draws lessons for other cities and states interested in expanding their programs,” and “an in-depth look at the issue of preschool classroom diversity in UPK, highlighting the opportunities and obstacles for integration embedded in current policies and recommending policy changes to address this issue in New York City and beyond.”

CEELO Update

CEELO has developed a new policy brief: Approaches to State Pre-K Eligibility Policy: Considerations for Policy Makers in Revising Policy to Increase Access for High Needs Children by Megan Carolan and Lori Connors-Tadros. This report provides policymakers with information on state-funded pre-K programs’ eligibility policies and the common risk factors used to prioritize enrollment, and concludes with considerations for policy makers as they review or revise eligibility to serve more children, effectively and efficiently, in high quality early education programs.

CEELO has released a FastFact by Kirsty Clarke Brown, Diane Schilder, and Lori Connors-Tadros, outlining how some states manage eligibility issues around early childhood programs. The document includes links to specific resources and provides examples of state guidance to programs for determining eligibility.

Calendar

Friday, May 8, 2015 - 2:30pm to Monday, May 18, 2015 - 3:30pm

OPRE (Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation at the Administration for Children & Families, in the Department of Heath and Human Services) is sponsoring two webinars to orient researchers to the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) and its ongoing release of data files and documentation. Register now for one or both webinars.

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 8:00am to Friday, May 22, 2015 - 3:00pm

Did you enjoy the first annual Governor's Early Childhood Education Leadership Summit on Feb. 19? Did you miss your chance to attend? If you want to learn more about early brain development, don't miss your chance to attend another important summit May 20-21!

Monday, July 27, 2015 - 8:00am to Saturday, August 1, 2015 - 5:00pm

Join OMEP for its 67th Assembly and Conference, Early Childhood Pathways to Success. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 1:00pm to Friday, October 2, 2015 - 5:30pm

ReadyNation, a membership organization working to strengthen business and the economy through effective investments in children and youth, is hosting the first Global Business Summit on Early Childhood Investments, October 1-2, 2015 in New York City. This free event will inspire and equip executives to take actions at the community, company, or policy levels that support young children. The event is for businesspeople, policy officials/staff and funders only. Others may attend with a team of business people. For more information and registration visit www.ReadyNation.org/2015Summit.

Early Education News Roundup

Friday, May 15, 2015
(CNBC)

Early Childhood Education Coalition calls on California State Assembly and Senate to make quality early childhood education top priority. . .

Today Governor Brown released the May Revision to his proposal for the California 2015-16 state budget. Despite the $6.7 billion growth in revenue that includes $5.5 billion in Proposition 98 funds, which support preK-14 education, the governor’s proposal includes only minimal increases for young learners from birth to age 5.

Thursday, May 14, 2015
(NPR CodeSwitch)

Despite the support provided by the program, the academic benefits of Baby College are not clear. A 2011 Harvard study did not find that parents' participation in Baby College alone improved children's test scores in elementary school.

"They don't find a difference between getting the good charter school experience and getting the good charter school experience plus Baby College," says W. Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

Still, he says, a parenting workshop like Baby College can be valuable. "There's a lot more to learning and development than test scores," Barnett says. "Baby College is not an intensive, expensive program. And so if it only has modest impacts, it's probably worth it."

Thursday, May 14, 2015
(West Virginia Public Broadcastin)

The West Virginia Department of Education is partnering with West Virginia University and the National Institute for Early Education Research to conduct a long term study on early childhood education in the state.

The study will follow a group of three and four-year-olds beginning in West Virginia’s pre-K system this fall through the next five years of their education, tracking their achievement along the way.

Thursday, May 14, 2015
(WLOX ABC)

Mississippi is highlighted in a new report, saying our state gets a gold star for quality preschool. The report from the National Institute for Early Education Research looked at state-funded preschool programs, it named Mississippi as one of five states that met all ten benchmarks for quality preschool.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Reducing crime and violence is a two-front battle. As St. Clair County state’s attorney and chief of police in Belleville, we specialize in the part of the battle that the public is most familiar with — taking criminals off the street, and fighting for justice for victims of crime.

But another part of the battle is fought in after-school programs, in preschool classrooms, and in child care centers by people who specialize in helping kids grow up to be law-abiding, productive adults.Research shows that early learning programs are one of the most effective crime-fighting tools we have. Decades-long studies have demonstrated that children who participate in high-quality preschool are much less likely to have been arrested in their late teens and 20s when compared to similar kids who did not attend the program. Because of these powerful results, we must invest in Illinois’ preschool program. Years of cuts have seen a loss of 21,000 children from state-funded preschool, but we have a chance to turn that around. Boosting those efforts by $50 million would help Illinois leverage important federal-grant dollars and focus intensive help on some of the state’s highest-need kids.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
(Forbes)

As governors with different political ideologies, we are committed to governing successfully by working with leaders from all parties and constituents of all backgrounds. We also know that when we develop policies based on solid evidence and the real needs of the citizens of our states, we can come to bipartisan agreement on important issues. One policy issue that should unite us all is quality early childhood education.

We have a unique opportunity to have a profound impact on the lives of our youngest children. Republicans, Democrats and Independents agree that smart investments in high-quality early childhood education can lead to impressive academic, health and economic returns, particularly for children from low-income backgrounds. State leaders from across the country, including Alabama and West Virginia, have prioritized investments in initiatives supporting quality early childhood education. Now it’s time for other states to join that effort.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
(WAAY 31 ABC)

Children enrolled in the First Class Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program are getting the best head start for school in the country. For the ninth year in a row, the program came out on top according to a new study.
Alabama is one of only four states to meet all 10 benchmarks according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. “A strong economic future is grounded in high quality education, and Alabama’s First Class Pre-K Program provides a great foundation for students to prepare for success in life,” said Governor Robert Bentley.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
(The Davis Enterprise)

Disparities in access to early learning opportunities have increased, with some states enrolling nearly all children in their pre-kindergarten programs and others not offering any services, according to a national study on early education released Monday. “It matters even more what ZIP code you live in,” said Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, which conducts the annual review on the state of pre-K.

Early education is widely recognized as an important component to helping ensure children from all backgrounds enter school ready to learn. The Obama administration has made it a centerpiece of its education policy, with the president announcing $1 billion in public-private spending on programs for young learners last year.

(In the Davis school district, ttransitional kindergarten classes are offered at Korematsu, Montgomery and Patwin elementary schools; this year, 93 students are enrolled. Transitional kindergarten classes run three hours and 20 minutes a day, similar to regular kindergarten.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
(Union-Bulletin.com)

The number of children enrolled in Washington state programs that provide preschool for low-income kids remains too low, a new report released Monday says.

The state ranks 33rd in the nation for access to state preschool for 4-year-olds, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research, which conducts an annual review of preschool programs.

Washington state has made an effort to improve the quality of preschool for low-income kids, and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program saw an increase in 2014 of 350 students to just over 10,000 children across the state.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
(The CT Mirror)

“Let’s commit Connecticut to achieving universal pre-kindergarten,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told legislators during his State of the State speech last year.

Legislators agreed, and celebrated when the Democratic governor signed into law a legislative plan to spend $15 million more this fiscal year and $20 million more each year afterward until 2024 to drastically expand preschool enrollment in public schools. The legislature also funded the first year of a separate Malloy plan to add 1,020 preschool seats this year. The governor hoped the program would eventually be extended to add another 3,000 seats over the next four years.

And then reality hit. . .

The state on Monday awarded districts $1.6 million of the $15 million available — and no more is expected to be given out before the fiscal year ends in seven weeks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
(Vermont Public Radio)

Each year, the National Institute for Early Education Research, or NIEER, publishes a profile of every state. With its plan for universal access to pre-K, Vermont is second only to the District of Columbia.

Yet it ranks only 20th when it comes to state spending on preschool. And it gets low marks for setting quality standards.

Institute Director Steve Barnett admits Vermont’s emerging preschool system may be better and more adequately funded than the report suggests, because so many of its programs are private, not public. The report can only measure state spending and mandates, not programs under local control.

“Well, our report is a very blunt instrument,” Barnett conceded. “We don’t even look at quality; we look at quality standards. And in a local control state, states tend not to look good, so Vermont only meets four out of the 10 benchmarks. But the reality is, if you went and looked at programs in Vermont … many of them do meet these standards.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
(The Spokesman-Review)

Idaho’s pre-K enrollment numbers rank among the nation’s lowest, reports Idaho Education News, lagging even in comparison to the handful of other states that have no state-funded preschool. EdNews reporter Kevin Richert writes that a new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research found that in Idaho, only 1,569 of the state’s 3-year-olds were enrolled in Head Start, special ed or other publicly funded education programs; that’s 6.8 percent, the lowest percentage in the nation. For 4-year-olds, Idaho hit 12.9 percent, ranking third-lowest, ahead of Utah and Wyoming.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
(Globegazette.com)

Iowa's state-funded pre-kindergarten program ranks eighth among the 50 states in accessibility but 32nd in spending per child, according to a Rutgers University report.

The annual report by Rutgers' nonpartisan National Institute for Early Education Research says state funding for pre-K programs, when adjusted for inflation, increased nationwide by nearly $120 million in 2013-2014.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
(Koin6 )

About 32,000 children from low income families in Oregon don’t have access to the state’s preschool program, a national report that was released on Tuesday shows.

The “State of Preschool” report by the National Institute of Early Education Research underlines positive and negative elements to Oregon’s preschool program.

The report shows that Oregon needs to ensure children from low-income families have access to publicly funded preschool.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
(Idaho-Press Tribune)

daho’s pre-K enrollment numbers rank among the nation’s lowest — and even lag in comparison to the handful of other states that have no state-funded pre-K.

Those findings come from the National Institute for Early Education Research, a New Brunswick, N.J.-based organization focused on pre-K. . .

daho’s enrollment for 4-year-olds did not just rank No. 49 among all 50 states and the District of Columbia; it also ranked eighth among the states without a statewide pre-K program. And Idaho could remain mired at or near the bottom of the national rankings, at least for the foreseeable future. While pre-K pilot bills have failed to get out of Idaho’s House Education Committee the past two sessions, other states have launched or expanded pre-K programs. This leaves Idaho one of only six states without a pre-K program.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
(Investing In Kids)

The latest edition of “The State of Preschool-2014” was released on May 10, 2015 by the National Institute for Early Education Research. This annual release of data and analysis has become essential to understanding what is going on with publicly-funded pre-K in the United States.

Using this latest edition, in this post I analyze funding for age-4 pre-K, and compare current funding to what would be needed to ensure adequate quality for pre-K for all age-4 participants, and what would be needed to ensure both adequate quality and adequate access to pre-K for all age-4 children in the United States.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
(ISchoolGuide)

A report from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released Monday analyzes children's access to preschool in all 50 states. The report found that preschool enrollment is growing overall, but there are large gaps across state lines, whether or not the state is red or blue. According to the Washington Post, though expanding access to public preschool has been a key goal for the Obama administration, the gap in preschool enrollment isn't affected by partisanship. Red states, such as Oklahoma and Texas, actually have some of the highest percentage of children in public preschool, with more than 40 percent of four-year-olds enrolled, according to the report.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
(Fox 6 WBRC)

The top Pre-K program in the nation is right here in Alabama! For the ninth year, the National Institute for Early Education Research has named Alabama's program number one. Officials do say that although it is rated the best, more could be done to improve it. Alabama is one of only five states in the country to meet or exceed all of the benchmarks set by the National Institute for Early Education, but only 13 percent of 4-years-olds currently have access to the state program because of limited funding.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
(LA School Report)

Just as LA Unified is planning big cuts to a preschool program, a new report that says California is lagging behind other states in the quality of its early education programs.

The annual report, The State of Preschool 2014, was prepared by the National Institute for Early Education Research and focuses on 10 quality preschool standards in state-funded programs in 40 states and the District of Columbia (10 states do no fund pre-K programs). California met four of the 10 standards, making it one of only five states to have met less than 50 percent of the standards. Among the problems cited was not having class sizes limited to 20 or under, not screening children for vision and hearing problems and not requiring teachers to have a bachelor’s degree. Five states met all 10 standards, and 17 met eight or more. Overall, the report found a wide disparity among states and among districts within states in the level of quality preschool programs.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
(Chalkbeat Colorado)

While state funding for the Colorado Preschool Program increased a bit last year, Colorado didn’t improve on measures of preschool quality or access, according to an annual ranking published by the National Institute for Early Education Research or NIEER. Among the quality benchmarks Colorado failed to meet is one that would require early childhood teachers to have a bachelor’s degree and a second that would require assistant teachers to have a Child Development Associate. A decade ago, Colorado achieved only four benchmarks on the quality checklist.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(NJ.com)

New Jersey is again among the nation's leaders in per-pupil spending for children enrolled in state funded pre-kindergarten, according to a new report.

The State of Preschool 2014 found that the state spent $12,157 per student in the 2013-14, second only to the District of Columbia. However, New Jersey spent about $26 less per student than in 2012-13.

New Jersey has historically ranked among the nation's highest per-student spenders in the report, which is conducted annually by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(Politico Morning Education)

Preschool funding is beginning to bounce back from the recession, the newest version of the National Institute of Early Education Research’s “State of Preschool” yearbook finds. State per-child funding increased by $61 between 2013 and 2014 on the whole. Mississippi created its state-funded pre-K program — the first time a new state has jumped on board with state-funded pre-K in four years.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(WWLP)

Early education has emerged in 2015 as a more frequent talking point among those pushing government investments and a potential wedge issue between Beacon Hill Democrats and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

As annual budget deliberations shift to the Senate this week, backers of bigger investments say poll results they commissioned show that voters agree that early education should be a bigger priority within the roughly $38.1 billion budget that’s being assembled this spring.

The poll of 605 Massachusetts voters, conducted March 17 through March 22 by Anderson Robbins Research, found 67 percent favored investments to expand access to pre-kindergarten services. Support for expanded early education was even stronger among women and Latino voters.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(RIPR)

Rhode Island’s new state-funded preschool program is expensive, but it may be high quality. That’s according to a new study from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

The study finds Rhode Island is one of several states investing more money in preschool. The program serves only a tiny percentage of the state’s 4-year-olds, putting Rhode Island near the bottom for access. But the study praises the relatively new effort as one of just five that meet a series of quality standards. 

Monday, May 11, 2015
(Times-Picayune)

Louisiana ranks 15th in the United States in providing access to publicly funded preschool programs, with 32 percent of 4-year-olds participating, a recently released report from the National Institute for Early Education Research finds. Authors also noted that Louisiana is 16th in the nation in preschool spending.

Louisiana's preschool participation rate is higher than the national average of 29 percent. At a budget of $4,565 per child, the state also spent more than other states did on average.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(Washington Post)

A new report on state-funded pre-kindergarten programs says that funding, enrollment and quality was up somewhat in 2014 but that the pace of progress was way too slow and that wide disparities exist in states across the country. Just how slow is slow? If the 2013-2014 growth in enrollment continues, it would take 150 years to reach 70 percent enrollment.

Quality early childhood education — recognized as a key element in preparing children for school – has become a priority of the Obama administration, which last year announced a $1 billion public-private spending initiative.  The annual report on the state of preschool, published by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers Graduate School of Education University, says that total state funding for pre-K increased in 2013-2014 by more than $116 million across 40 states plus the District of Columbia — a 1 percent increase in real dollars. Per child,  that was a $61-dollar increase from the previous year, $4,125.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(Washington Post)

State funding for public pre-kindergarten programs ticked up nationwide in 2014, as did enrollment of 3- and 4-year-olds, according to a new reportreleased Monday. But access to preschool continues to vary widely from state to state.

Enrollment is highest in the District, where more than 98 percent of four-year-olds are in public preschool, according to the report. Also at the top of the list are Vermont (91 percent) and Florida (80 percent). Ten states had no state preschool program in 2014.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(La Opinion)

The "Great Recession" is behind us and state governments have begun to leverage investment in preschool programs, but Hispanic children in California and other states still pay disparities in access to high-quality programs .

national report released Monday by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER in English) at Rutgers University, evaluated the disparities in access to pre-kindergarten programs in each of the 50 states during the 2013-2014 school year.

More than 1.3 million children, most four years old, were enrolled in prekindergarten programs of state governments, while 40% of preschool children attending programs that do not meet even half ten quality standards set by NIEER.

Visiting the CentroNia preschool in Takoma Park (Maryland), Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, was pleased that, although much remains to be done, the US "moves in the right direction" and is creating the foundations to prepare all children for kindergarten.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(EdWeek )

The 40 states with state preschool programs and the District of Columbia spent $116 million more on public preschool in the 2013-14 school year than they did in 2012-13, according to the annual "State of Preschool Yearbook," released May 11 by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University in New Jersey. That brought total spending up to $5.56 billion in 2013-14, a 1 percent increase in real dollars over the previous school year.

The report also found that state-funded preschool served 1.3 million children in 2013-14. Four-year-olds accounted for 1.1 million of those. Enrollment increased overall by 8,535 children, with several states increasing enrollment and other decreasing enrollment.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(El Nuevo Herald)

Hispanic children continue to be the least likely to receive preschool education in the United States, although public financing began to recover after the recession of 2008, according to a study released Monday.

The National Institute for Early Education Research, nonpartisan and based at Rutgers University, found that during 2013-14, US states increased their contributions to preschool education by nearly 120 million dollars (one percent) over the previous year.

But although national public funding and enrollment have increased, most Hispanic children live in California, Florida and Texas, states with lower quality preschool education.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(Washington Post)

The nation is moving too slowly in terms of providing quality preschool to its youngest learners, especially low-income children who desperately need a strong educational foundation, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Monday morning at a bilingual preschool in Langley Park, Md.

“The current pace of change is far too incremental,” said Duncan, who also read a story about a lion to a class of very enthusiastic 4-year-olds at CentroNia. “We have to think about transformational change.”

Duncan unveiled a new report by the the National Institute for Early Education Research, which found that in 2014, despite increased state funding for preschool and repeated calls by President Obama for preschool for all 4-year-olds, just 29 percent of 4-year-olds and 4 percent of 3-year-olds were enrolled in state-funded preschool programs.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(US News)

Early education is widely recognized as an important component to helping ensure children from all backgrounds enter school ready to learn. The Obama administration has made it a centerpiece of its education policy, with the president announcing $1 billion in public-private spending on programs for young learners last year.

Total enrollment rose by 8,535 students in the 2013-14 school year. But that increase follows a loss of 4,000 seats following post-recession state budget cuts in 2012-13.

Overall, 29 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled in a state-funded pre-K, a percentage that's changed little since 2010. The numbers don't reflect participation in the federal Head Start or special education programs.

There were some positive signs in the report: Total state funding for pre-K programs increased by more than $116 million in the 40 states and District of Columbia that offered pre-K throughout the 2013-14 school year. And several states made inroads in meeting more of the 10 benchmarks considered key to a quality program.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(NPR)

Are you a glass half-full kind of person? Or glass half-empty?

Depending on your answer, you'll find the new report on state-funded preschool programs from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University either delightfully encouraging or downright depressing.

For example, glass half-full: Pre-K enrollment is up!

Glass half-empty: It's still pretty low.

Twenty-nine percent of the nation's 4-year-olds were in state-funded preschool last year. Sure, that doesn't include all the kids enrolled in federally-funded Head Start. But, even when you lump them all together, NIEER director Steve Barnett says less than 40 percent are enrolled in any kind of public preschool.

For you glass half-full folks, spending in the 2013-2014 school year was also up.

For the rest of you, Barnett says "we're still a thousand dollars per child below where we were a decade ago." Thanks, Great Recession.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(Huffington Post)

The number of children enrolled in state-funded preschool programs increased modestly during the 2013-14 school year, even as states still struggle to return to pre-recession levels of funding, says a new report.

The National Institute for Early Education Research report, which was released Monday and analyzes the preschool landscape in all 50 states, reveals that preschool enrollment is growing -- but it is doing so at a tortoise's pace. Furthermore, there are still many places around the country with deep pockets of inequality, where kids are severely underserved.

"There have been some great improvements," NIEER Director Steve Barnett told The Huffington Post. "But it matters more than ever what ZIP code you live in."

Monday, May 11, 2015
(Telemundo)

 The National Institute for Early Childhood Research published a study showing that while the number of children registered for preschool has grown, still far from the desired figures.

"It would take 75 years to cover this growth rate is even 50% of children between three and four years, that is, we are far from achieving universal coverage," said Milagros Nores, a member of the Institute.

According to the report, last year only 29% of four year olds were enrolled in preschool programs supported by their home states. In addition, about half a million did not receive proper education as many of these programs do not meet the requirements that guarantee their quality.

The preschool also represents financial outlays that not all families can afford. "Prices are high so it is very difficult for many of our families pay the costs," said the teacher Rosalba Bonilla before stressing the benefits.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(Las Vegas Review Journal)

Bucking a national trend of states increasing their investment for pre-kindergarten programs, Nevada continued to lose ground in its percentage of children enrolled and per-child spending in early childhood education.

A new study from the National Institute for Early Education Research found Nevada fell one position to 37th among 41 states for its level of access to quality early childhood education.

Only 3.8 percent of 4-year-olds in Nevada were enrolled in pre-K last year, according to the report. Nevada serves no 3-year-olds.

Currently, Nevada spends just $2,383 per child enrolled in a preschool program, according to the study. That’s nearly $2,000 less than the state spent in 2004 and the lowest level of spending on record.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(Florida Times Union)

Enrollment in Florida’s voluntary preschool program fell for a second consecutive year in 2013-14, dropping the state to 36th among 41 states for providing preschool funding on the per-child basis. Florida is one of 20 states that cut its per-child state preschool spending last year, the institute said.

Florida serve 170,266 4-year-olds, that’s more than 3,800 fewer preschoolers than the year before. The state spends $ 2,238 per preschooler in the program, down $24 from the year before and much lower than the national average of $ $4,125.

“Florida’s young children will not be well served until the state’s leaders give quality the same attention they have devotged to providing access” to preschool, said Steven Barnett, the insitute’s director. He noted recent budget proposals to increase funding are encourgaging signs.... “still much remains to be done before the state constitutional amendment requiring that ever Florida child has access to a high quality pre-K program is honored.”

Also the state’s quality standards and measures for preschools are among the lowest in the nation, meeting three of the 10 quality recommendations by institute, he said.

Monday, May 11, 2015
(KXAN News)

 A new study on early education finds more parents are enrolling their children in Pre-K. The report from the National Institute for Early Education Research breaks down enrollment and funding by state.

In the last two years here in Texas, there’s been no change in enrollment, but there has been a slight increase in funding. That funding could increase next school year.

State lawmakers are still working to give public schools an extra $130 million.  The money would be used to improving existing Pre-K programs. House members will now have to look over the Senate version and come to an agreement before sending the bill to the governor’s desk.

Sunday, May 10, 2015
(The Journal Gazette)

“The benefits of high-quality early education to children and taxpayers are well-established as indicated by a consensus letter to the public now signed by more than 1,200 researchers,” said W. Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, in an email. “Unfortunately, too many policymakers continue to see only the cost of providing preschool education while they are blind to the much higher costs of not effectively educating our young children. This requires well-qualified teachers and reasonable class sizes. What most families can afford and what too many politicians think is alright won’t produce the results.

“Other states are making strong new investments – including Ohio and Michigan,” Barnett wrote. “With each new year, Indiana falls further behind its neighbors. Down the road fewer children will succeed in school and life. Fewer businesses will locate in Indiana. And, in the long-run Indiana’s taxpayers will pay more rather than less.”

Sunday, May 10, 2015
(MagicValley.com)

There’s growing support for funding preschool in Idaho, but it’s too early to tell if legislators will take action in 2016.

The Gem State is among only a handful of states without state-funded preschool. Without it, many children are unprepared for kindergarten and struggle to catch up, education experts say.

“With students going into kindergarten, it’s not a level playing field,” said Ted Popplewell, elementary programs director for the Twin Falls School District.

Idaho public schools chief Sherri Ybarra told the Times-News she’s more supportive of community-based preschool programs — not a mandatory approach. Conversations about moving forward have been “really positive,” she said, noting there’s a will among legislators to find a solution. “Folks are willing to look at the research now and they actually want to see that,” she said.

Saturday, May 9, 2015
(Grand Rapids Herald Review (Letter to Editor))

What? Yep. It’s looking very possible. Democrats are feeling confident that they can blame the GOP for a shutdown again and the Republicans are in no mood to see billions more in new taxes after a DFL-fueled 30 percent increase over the past four years. The S word (shutdown) is being whispered by DFL legislators at the capitol.

The Governor is loudly proclaiming that, with nothing to lose (he can’t run again) he is going to insist on getting his way on choice ideological items on his wish list. Specifically, he has dug in his heals on a 50 percent increase in automotive fuel taxes and universal preschool for four-year-olds. The fuel tax would placate the noisy transportation lobby and the pre-school plan would vastly bloat membership in the public employee union that is the biggest contributor to DFL campaigns.

Friday, May 8, 2015
(Mail Tribune (Opinion))

Child poverty has long-term costs to Oregon and to the United States. These costs have been well documented, with economists calculating the economic losses associated with child poverty to be nearly 4 percent of gross domestic product. To put this number in perspective, the total amount the federal government spends on poverty outside of Medicaid is less than 2 percent of GDP. Needless to say, there are also more important costs that go beyond GDP. These involve children’s development as independent and happy people, able to be part of and contribute to their community for life.
What can we do about this? The evidence is pretty clear. There are two primary factors that have significantly reduced child poverty in other countries: high-quality early childhood programs and paid parental leave.

Friday, May 8, 2015
(The Missoulian)

As attention has been drawn to the importance of early childhood education at both the state and federal level, a new University of Montana program is set to help advance training for teachers and others in the field.

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s Master of Education in early childhood education is the only degree program of its kind in the state and focuses on children from birth to age 8, during which time they rapidly develop.

Thursday, May 7, 2015
(WSKG North Country Public Radio NY)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called universal preschool one of his big priorities, and last year state lawmakers approved a large grant program that provided $340 million a year for five years to increase full-day preschool slots. That grant was just approved for its second round, but the first year brought mixed results. . . . There is such a thing as free preschool. In New York, many public schools run free programs with state money. Much of that money is from the so-called “universal pre-k” push. Despite the name, free preschool is far from universal. In fact, whether you can get it or not depends in which school district you live. Full-day programs are even rarer.

 
 
Thursday, May 7, 2015
(Think Progress)

Without such an opportunity, she could have ended up paying more than $10,000 a year to put her four-year-old in a daycare center. Families who don’t qualify for Head Start –- they have to live below the poverty line –- or can’t find an opening can sometimes get subsidies to cover the cost, but spending on those subsidies is at a decade low and there are longwaiting lists in many states.

That high-quality, stable source of care changed their lives. “When it’s continuous support, every day, you know your kid has a place to go, that really makes a difference,” Israel said. “I used that time to push myself, to work, and try to get somewhere.” That support and his wife’s extra income meant he could focus on striking out on his own. “I was more relaxed. When you’re so tense, you can’t really think,” he said. “I didn’t have the weight of [wondering] where are my children going to be… It allowed me to think clearly and to actually plan something.”

Thursday, May 7, 2015
(IndyStar)

Jason Kloth handed me a memo with the numbers — numbers making clear the wisdom of the city’s new investment in preschool.

“They are incredible,” Kloth, the Indianapolis deputy mayor for education, said. “This is a demonstration of the overwhelming demand for high-quality preschool in Indianapolis. And it is an affirmation of common sense.”

He was talking about the number of low-income families that signed up for the city’s new preschool scholarship program. More than 5,000 applications for scholarships arrived before the April 30 deadline. Almost all of them — 4,967 — qualified for the program, meaning they came from families with incomes of 185 percent or less of the federal poverty level. That’s the level that qualifies children for free-and-reduced school lunches, a general indicator of deep financial struggles.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
(GoLocalProv)

Recently, New America published an article suggesting that it is time to re-envision elementary education. Authors Lisa Guernsey and Laura Bornfreund argue that the current school structure, with preschool education ending at pre-kindergarten and elementary education starting at Kindergarten, no longer makes sense (if it ever did). They believe that the K – 5 model starts too late, leaving elementary school teachers disconnected from early care and education providers. 

In fact, early childhood education is a continuum that begins at birth and runs through age eight. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) provides resources for parents, childcare providers, and educators working with children up to eight years old. Their mission is to promote high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research.

Monday, May 4, 2015
(InForum)

Parents applauded the $695 million in new school spending proposed by Gov. Mark Dayton, but were careful not to praise how he wants to spend the money. Roughly half the new money would be spent on universal preschool, which school leaders worry will force them to build costly classrooms and hire more staff.

Hobbie delivered a letter to House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, asking them to put a high priority on increasing the per pupil funding formula schools use for general operations.

"If not now, in a time of surplus, then when?" Hobbie wrote. "This is the question parents are asking?"

Monday, May 4, 2015
(InForum)

Parents applauded the $695 million in new school spending proposed by Gov. Mark Dayton, but were careful not to praise how he wants to spend the money. Roughly half the new money would be spent on universal preschool, which school leaders worry will force them to build costly classrooms and hire more staff.

Hobbie delivered a letter to House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, asking them to put a high priority on increasing the per pupil funding formula schools use for general operations.

"If not now, in a time of surplus, then when?" Hobbie wrote. "This is the question parents are asking?"

Monday, May 4, 2015
(Honolulu Civil Beat)

When legislators worked out a last-minute agreement on Friday that might maintain current funding levels for Preschool Open Doors, it ended months of suspense for low-income parents and early childhood education advocates.

The negotiations to find $6 million for the program — which helps low-income families pay for preschool — came near the end of a legislative session that saw little action on early childhood education.

Former Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s push to expand access to early childhood ed largely collapsed in November with voter rejection of a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the state to spend public funds on private preschools.

Monday, May 4, 2015
(OPB FM)

Research shows preschool builds a foundation for literacy. Oregon students who are strong readers by third grade graduate 77 percent of the time. If they’re not? The Oregon graduation rate is 53 percent.

“Kids who are in high-quality preschool  particularly low-income kids  are far more likely to graduate from high school,” said Swati Adarkar of the Portland-based Children’s Institute. “They’re far more likely to go on to college, they’re far more likely not to need special education as they go on in the elementary grades. These are all huge game-changers.”