Volume 14, Issue 18

Friday, September 4, 2015

Hot Topics

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush recently criticized Mayor Bill DeBlasio on New York City’s universal preschool program at a New Hampshire Education Summit. The former Governor of Florida compared New York City’s program to Florida’s early childhood program, saying Florida’s program is less expensive and privately driven and accusing DeBlasio’s program of appeasing teachers unions. Bush called New York City’s preschool program “another thriving business for the bureaucracies and for the unions.” According to the State of Preschool Yearbook, Florida enrolls about 80% of children in their preschool programs--making it one of the largest in the country--and spends about $2,238 per child for part-day classes, making it among the least well-funded in the country. Florida’s teacher requirements for the school year preschool program are abysmally low, at the level many others set for teacher assistants, and shamed by the higher standards of neighbors Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana. In comparison, NYC spends about $10,000 per student for full-day programs while aiming to enroll an even higher percentage of children than Florida. Last year, NYC was able to expand its high quality preschool program to thousands of 4-year-olds with strong public support.  Teachers are required to have the same high levels of preparation as NYC’s K-12 teachers, but they do not necessarily affiliate with a union. Like Florida, NYC provides preschool through private for-profit and non-profit providers as well as public schools (including charter schools). Though still new, NYC will offer insights into just how quickly a city can expand preschool and still meet high standards for quality and effectiveness. 

From the National Women’s Law Center, news that the Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) released a new poll. “Results from our interviews in battleground states show conclusively that early childhood education should be a mainstay on candidates’ agendas and at the forefront of national debate on educating the next generation. Voters realize the value of early development, support universal access to early childhood education and are willing to pay for it. With convincing arguments in hand and a variety of funding options available to proceed forward, we see a foundation for voters and candidates to make early childhood education issues more visible in the months to come.” This memo provides detailed findings that would-be elected officials will find of interest:  “A strong majority of voters believe public education should start with preschool and that preschool should be offered to all four-year olds. 63% of all voters, including 69% of all parents and 67% of those who are unmarried, want public education to start with preschool.”

Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) will be hosting a webinar next Wednesday, September 9th, at 10:30 AM ET to review this polling. Details:

Meeting URL: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/347641725

Meeting Password: SCAN092015

Meeting ID: 347-641-725

Conference Call Line: 877.903.2255 or internationally 303.928.2617

Conference Call Password: 7445737

Please send all RSVPs to Bowen Lee at blee@savechildren.org or 202-640-6959.

Another highlighted article described findings from a poll released by Every Child Matters and the Child and Family Policy Center in Iowa, and conducted by Ann Seltzer. “"The strong interest in a positive agenda for policies affecting kids held true in our survey for voters across party, ideology, education level, income and age," Brian Ahlberg, president of the ECMEF, stated in a news release. found that more Iowa voters rank improving the health, education and well-being of America’s children as their top concern than any other issue.”

HMH has been hosting a Conversations on Early Learning discussion series throughout the year to promote the importance of quality early learning experiences for all children, and plans a block party around that in Boston on September 25. They have  proposed a panel discussion for at SXSWedu 2016, one of the largest annual gatherings for education stakeholders, in Austin. They’re seeking people to vote THUMBS UP for a panel, Research to Recess (Early Learning in Practice), to encourage discussion around how to prioritize early childhood education. Here’s a video overview.

The Child and Family Policy Center has announced that Charles Bruner will be retiring December 31 of this year, the 25th anniversary of the organization. “Charlie is a well-known presence in the child policy and advocacy community throughout Iowa and the nation. Between his time at CFPC and his 12 years in the Iowa legislature before that, he played an integral role in establishing and strengthening a remarkable array of policies that have improved the lives of Iowa children and their families. Iowa kids are truly better off for Charlie's work.” 

From the ASCD newsletter: “US Rep. John Kline, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, will not seek re-election in 2016. Kline said he will continue his work to overhaul and replace No Child Left Behind and expand access to higher education while still in office." [More on] Minnesota Public Radio.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

Continuing (and completing) the leadership blog series, the past two weeks featured posts from Steven Hicks, Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Early Learning at the U.S. Department of Education and from Valora Washington at the CAYL Institute.


The Committee for Economic Development has released a new report, Child Care in State Economics, which examines the child care industry’s effect on parent participation in the labor force, and provides extensive details regarding the industry’s state economic impact, including: usage rates, the role of public funding, revenues, and business structure.

Two new articles discuss impact of subsidies experiences and outcomes for children, relevant as CCDBG is under discussion. In terms of experiences, the researchers asked “How does receiving subsidies affect (a) the type of care children receive, (b) the quality of care children receive, and (c) their developmental outcomes? Theoretically, the answers to these questions should cohere, yet they do not; though subsidies increase exposure to the type and quality of care known to predict more optimal outcomes for children, the direct effect of subsidies on outcomes has been null or negative.” For outcomes, “We identify the effect of subsidy receipt by exploiting geographic variation in the distance that families must travel from home to reach the nearest social service agency that administers the subsidy application process. Using data from the Kindergarten cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, our instrumental variables estimates suggest that children receiving subsidized child care in the year before kindergarten score lower on tests of cognitive ability and reveal more behavior problems throughout kindergarten. An auxiliary analysis of longer-run outcomes shows that these negative effects largely disappear by the time children finish first grade.”

NWLC shared an Op-ed by Amy Gillman of LISC on early childhood facilities: “Why are we sending children to pre-K programs in converted salons, bars, and turkey coops?”  discussing the variation in quality of child care facilities, especially for low-income families.

CRRU has shared a report on the impact and value of outdoor education for children.

CEELO Update

True leadership is defined by one’s thinking and behavior, not necessarily by one’s position within an organization. It requires adapting to a constantly changing environment, often using an ever-changing skill set to tackle dilemmas for which there are no available solutions. Further, there is seldom a clearly defined pathway for persons assuming leadership roles to help prepare them for the demands they now face. This was part of the take-away for five Fellows who recently completed the inaugural CEELO Leadership Academy. Hailing from Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Tennessee, the Fellows learned new skills and approaches to deal with complex environments and lead organizations. They discovered the power of collaborative leadership throughout the process. The deeply reflective year-long Academy provided Fellows with some of the best thinking on leadership from national experts, as well as individualized coaching to support applying their new learning in job-embedded projects. A second Leadership Academy is planned for 2015-2016; the deadline for application is now closed.

On August 25, 2015, the CEELO | BUILD team and guests provided a webinar on the Teaching and Learning work they have conducted together.  You can find the Webinar Presentation Slides, and a Recording on our website.

An annotated bibliography covering early childhood suspension and expulsion is now available on the CEELO website. It identifies selected research studies and federal and state policy resources on early childhood suspension, expulsion, and discipline and what can be done to prevent these practices.

The latest edition of the ECE Directory is now available on the CEELO website. 


Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 1:00pm

Join us for an overview of the results of the 2104 State of Preschool Yearbook survey. CEELO and NIEER are hosting a discussion of the major cross-state trends in the 2014 yearbook and highlight major policy changes related to publicly funded preschool. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of NIEER staff following the presentation.

Preregistration is required. Register here

Monday, September 14, 2015 - 1:30pm

Please note changes in date and time

Individuals from State Education Agencies (SEAs)and related agencies responsible for (or who will have a role in) completing the 2015 State of Preschool Yearbook survey are invited to participate in a webinar that provides an overview of the process for completing the revised survey. It will include an introduction to the new survey platform, new survey topics, and frequently asked questions. This webinar is strongly recommended for both new and experienced survey participants.

Preregistration is required. Register here.

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.

Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 3:00pm to Friday, October 16, 2015 - 4:00pm

The Research Symposium will address a range of critically important issues and themes relating to the health and wellbeing of young children. Plenary speakers include some of the leading medical and scientific thinkers, as well as workshop presentations and a poster session.

The annual Symposium will focus on the health, education, and developmental of young children, particular in terms of: Physical Health and Wellbeing; Mental Health and Executive Function; and Epigenetics and Environment.

Friday, October 16, 2015 - 7:00am

The Center for Early Education Evaluation at HighScope will hold its 4th Annual Conference for Early Childhood Research and Evaluation on the theme "Assessing Children’s Progress in Early Education and Intervention:  Challenges and Innovations in Diverse Contexts.”
Registration is now open and the conference is seeking sponsorships

Opening Speaker: Linda Espinosa, PhD
Discussion Panel:
• Mike Lopez, PhD, Abt Associates (Discussant)
• Sherri Oden, PhD, Oakland University (Discussant)
• Richard Lower, MA, Michigan Department of Education (Moderator)
• Rachel Brady, PT, DPT, MS, Georgetown University (Panelist)
• Hiram Fitzgerald, PhD, Michigan State University  (Panelist)

• Kyle Snow, PhD, NAEYC Center for Applied Research
• Christina Weiland, EdD, University of Michigan
• Christine A. B. Maier, PhD, Oakland Schools
• Beth Marshall, MA, HighScope and Lisa Wasacz, Michigan Department of Education
• Tomoko Wakabayashi, EdD, CEEE at HighScope and Sheri Butters, Early Childhood Investment Corporation
• Maria DeVoogd Beam, LMSW, Oakland University; Lisa Sturges, PhD, Macomb Great Start Collaborative and Cynthia Schellenbach, PhD, Oakland University
• Kate McGilly, PhD, Parents as Teachers
•  Matthew Fifolt, MEd, PhD, Evaluation and Assessment Unit, Center for the Study of Community Health; Julie Preskitt, MSOT, MPH, PhD, University of Alabama, Birmingham and Tracye Strichik, EdS, Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education

Early Education News Roundup

Thursday, September 3, 2015
(Chalkbeat Colorado)

The reception in the marbled lobby of the Colorado Trust building was for adults, but all about kids.

Little kids to be exact.

They are the focus of the brightly colored brochure that was officially unveiled on Wednesday evening and will soon find its way onto the desks of early childhood policymakers, advocates and educators—including K-12 administrators—across the state.

Officially called the Early Childhood Colorado Framework, the document outlines the state’s strategies and goals around early childhood education, health and family support.

The new framework is a simpler, more streamlined version of one first released in 2008. The revision cost about $100,000, with the money coming from the state and six foundations.


Thursday, September 3, 2015
(Daily Journal)

 American Federation of Teachersnational president Randi Weingarten is scheduled to unveil a plan aimed at expanding early childhood education in New Mexico amid a stalemate over funding.

Weingarten is slated Thursday to join Democratic Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez at a Los Ranchos De Albuquerque preschool to discuss efforts to put pressure on state lawmakers and Gov. Susana Martinez to expand the program.

Thursday, September 3, 2015
(San Antonio Express News)

Texas began its own preschool program in 1985. Students are eligible if they come from low-income households, know English as a second language, are in foster care, are homeless or have parents who are active-duty military.

“Some of the issues with Texas pre-K is that we offer it to a lot of kids but compared to other states it’s low quality,” said Christopher Brown, an associate professor of early childhood education at UT.

Brown noted that there is no cap on the number of students who can be in a class, adding with a laugh, “Have you been around 4-year-olds?”

Bipartisan support for House Bill 130 in 2009 would have changed that. Carried by a Republican, Rep. Diane Patrick of Arlington, it aimed to gradually increase teaching qualifications for the state’s program and reduce the ratio of children to teachers in a classroom. Then-Gov. Rick Perry vetoed it.

Support for pre-K has grown over the years but support for public funding of its expansion has tended to break along party lines, with conservatives questioning its effectiveness or calling it needlessly expensive and not government’s job.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
(Washington Post)

Here is a new post from pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom, author of a number of popular posts on this blog, including “Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today,” as well as “The right — and surprisingly wrong — ways to get kids to sit still in class” and “How schools ruined recess.” Hanscom is the founder of TimberNook, a nature-based development program designed to foster creativity and independent play outdoors in New England. . .

Research continues to point out that young children learn best through meaningful play experiences, yet many preschools are transitioning from play-based learning to becoming more academic in nature. A preschool teacher recently wrote to me: “I have preschoolers and even I feel pressure to push them at this young age. On top of that, teachers have so much pressure to document and justify what they do and why they do it, the relaxed playful environment is compromised. We continue to do the best we can for the kid’s sake, while trying to fit into the ever-growing restraints we must work within.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday he has appointed Rep. Ross Hunter, the House budget writer, to be the new director of the Department of Early Learning.

The former Microsoft executive has been involved in education policy debates for most of his 13 years in the state Legislature. Hunter replaces Bette Hyde, who in March said she was retiring after six years leading the department.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
(CBS Philly)

As the state budget impasse enters its third month, “Pre-K Counts” and “Head Start” supplemental grants are among the funds being held hostage in the budget stalemate.

Erinn Finn with ‘Today’s Child’ in Delaware County says without state funding to pay for supplies and 14 teachers’ salaries and benefits:

“We did have to take out a loan this past month.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
(Chicago Sun-Times)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday he will apply $9 million in city funds toward prekindergarten programs next year to partially make up for child care cuts wrought by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The mayor said the funds should allow 5,000 children, who would no longer be eligible under new rules put in place by Rauner’s administration, to remain in full-day preschool.

Those rules will eliminate state subsidies for 90 percent of Illinois families who previously would have qualified for the state’s Child Care Assistance Program by drastically lowering income limits.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Gov. Nathan Deal wants to spend $50 million next year to start reversing changes he engineered to a lottery-funded early-childhood program aimed at keeping HOPE programs from going bankrupt that also led to waves of teachers leaving pre-kindergarten classes and tarnished its national reputation.

The governor said in an interview that the specifics are still in the works but that the funding would reduce class sizes in pre-k programs and increase the salaries for teachers and assistant teachers.

Monday, August 31, 2015

 The University of Mississippi School of Education is offering a new online master's degree in early childhood education. The Master of Education program is designed to prepare professional educators for a variety of roles within the field. . .

According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, several studies show quality preschool programs can produce lasting gains in academic achievement, including gains in reading and mathematics. Studies also show an estimated $7 return on every $1 invested in public pre-K education in the form of long-term cost savings.

The 30-credit degree program includes a program track that leads to licensure from the Mississippi Department of Education. Coursework within the program will cover child development, theoretical foundations, educational research, the integration of arts and play in pre-K learning, contemporary issues and more.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The cost of childcare is bankrupting America’s parents. But providing free, universal childcare for all parents is easily affordable by simply cutting a small handful of military programs whose absence almost nobody would notice.

High-quality childcare and early childhood education are largely inaccessible to middle-class parents such as Richmond-Smith, who doesn’t qualify for federal childcare subsidies under programs such as Head Start. To qualify, a family of four needs to make less than the incredibly outdated federal poverty limit of $22,000. Worse still, families that do qualify for a low-income childcare subsidy have to get in line — according to Richmond-Smith, more than 500 low-income families are on the Head Start waiting list in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. In 2010, Head Start workers were penalized for enrolling middle-class families who couldn’t afford childcare, but didn’t meet federal qualifications for subsidies. One solution for funding free childcare for all parents could be found by simply cutting out Pentagon waste that nobody would notice

Monday, August 31, 2015
(Los Angeles Times)

Understanding all the pre-kindergarten programs can be daunting for parents in L.A. these days. L.A. Unified has some new programs — with new names — that can be a challenge to navigate for what is typically a family's first foray into public education.

Children in the U.S. are not required to attend school before kindergarten; many, including Californians, aren't required to enter school until they're 6 and past preschool age.

But it's important for children to be in a classroom setting before they turn 5, according to educators and researchers. In California and Los Angeles, that has resulted in a hodgepodge of pre-kindergarten programs. The newest one in LAUSD and in some other California districts is called expanded transitional kindergarten.

Friday, August 28, 2015
(The Gainesville Sun)

When Jeb Bush called for attention to be paid to early childhood education, scrutiny of Florida's mixed record on the issue probably isn't what he had in mind. . .

As Politico reported, Bush boasted about Florida's pre-K system while criticizing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's pre-K program. Florida's program is a cheaper, privately driven alternative, Bush said, to a New York system that benefits teacher's unions and bureaucrats.

Bush is right to be proud on one count: Florida ranks among the best states in the nation in the reach of its pre-K program, providing access to about 80 percent of 4 year olds, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. But the same group found that Florida's pre-K standards are among the lowest in the nation, meeting just three of the institute's 10 quality recommendations.

“Florida's young children will not be well served until the state's leaders give quality the same attention they have devoted to providing access,” Steven Barnett, the institute's director, told the Florida Times-Union.

Friday, August 28, 2015
(CBS Miami)

The Florida Children and Youth Cabinet voted Thursday to send a letter to state leaders, urging them to prioritize early-childhood education, intervention and other services for “the first 1,000 days” from pregnancy to age 3.
“These are the years of 85 percent of a child’s brain growth, and are immensely important to childhood development,” draft language said.

Friday, August 28, 2015
(Public News Service)

Many children are about to start school for the first time, but doctors say the key to successful learning may be found long before children enter a classroom. In the first years of life, according to pediatricians, children's brains develop at a remarkable rate, and developmental problems often are detectable well before a child reaches school age. Dr. Dina Lieser, co-director of Docs for Tots and director of community pediatrics at Nassau Community Medical Center, said it's something that should be part of regular health care.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Down Payment on the Preschool Promise – 4C for Children pitched this plan, which would create a foundation for the educational future of children through Cincinnati Preschool Promise. The still-in-development organization aims to ensure every child in the region has access to two years of high-quality, affordable preschool regardless of income.

Thursday, August 27, 2015
(The Atlantic: Citylab)

For parents with multiple kids under one roof, being poor has a compounding effect. That’s why in America, children make up 23 percent of the population but 33 percent of all people in poverty.

If that isn’t staggering enough, those children are concentrated together at school. 25 percent of the nation’s school districts contain 82 percent of children living in poverty. And the communities defined by those districts have swollen since the Great Recession. In 2006, there were 15.9 million studentsliving within school districts where the overall child poverty rate was 20 percent or higher. In 2013, there were 26.3 million—a stunning 60 percent increase over just seven years.

Now, that doesn’t meant that all 26.3 million of them are living in poverty, or even attending public school. But it does mean that about half of all U.S. children live in places where a significant number of families are just scraping by.

Thursday, August 27, 2015
(King 5 News)

Less than two weeks from the first year of universal preschool, interest in the city-funded program has well exceeded expectations. Seattle officials said they weren't sure how many families would apply, but the city has received four times as many applications as there are spaces available.

Universal preschool is a chance for children to start out on the right path, according to the city. It’s an investment for children that will cost Seattle $55 million over the next four years.

“The opportunity means it’s available, it’s accessible and it’s affordable,” said Sid Sidorowicz, Seattle’s deputy director of education and early learning.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

More and more evidence tells us that investing in the education of America’s young people needs to begin earlier in their lives—stimulating socialization and a desire to learn, and dramatically improving their long-term life prospects. The return per dollar spent on early childhood education is among the most productive human-capital investments possible, yet as a society we’re not making enough of those investments.

The presidential candidates of both parties would do well to make this a defining issue of the election—encouraging governments and the private sector to cooperate in boosting Pre-K learning programs.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
(Norwalk Reflector)

Mental health consultant Wendy Jones is trying to explain how a 3-year-old child gets expelled from a preschool school class, and it’s taking a long time.

Her explanation includes cultural differences and parental struggles in the family that put pressure on children, seeping into their psyche and coming out as bad behavior. It also involves teachers who lack consistent support and are more concerned with starting the day’s lesson than exploring why four boys in her classroom described their feelings that morning as “mad,” “sad,” “angry,” and “upset. . .”

African-American boys make up 18 percent of preschool enrollment but 48 percent of preschoolers who are suspended more than once, the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights reported last year.

Black girls also are more likely to be suspended than their white peers, but boys account for the overwhelming majority of preschool suspensions. Males make up 79 percent of preschoolers who are suspended once, and 82 percent of those suspended multiple times, the civil rights office reported.

That data affected members of a House Appropriations subcommittee, who urged urging the Education and Health and Human Services departments to highlight interventions that prevent and limit suspensions and expulsions in preschool and the first few years of elementary school.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Supporting early education and growth for at-risk children has been a focal point in Richmond in recent weeks. The subcommittee is examining several areas, including teacher pay and credentials, and class sizes. Rutgers University Director of the National Institute for Early Education W. Steven Barnett, says supporting children from lower-income families at the beginning of life can make a difference.

Monday, August 24, 2015
(U.S. Department of Education)

Building on the significant progress seen in America's schools over the last six years, the U.S. Department of Education announced today that Florida, Idaho, Ohio and South Dakota have received continued flexibility from provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Monday, August 24, 2015

Rep. Courtney Allen Curtis, (D) St. Louis was joined by Senators Jamilah Nasheed, (D) St. Louis, and Maria Chappelle-Nadal, (D) St. Louis, Saturday afternoon argue for the need to empower young black children with enhanced academic resources at the earliest age possible.

“We have seen some of our elected officials propose a Missouri Promise to help kids afford to go to college, but I ask what is our promise to the young people in failing schools who will never be in position to pursue the benefits of higher education?,” asked Curtis. “We need a greatly enhanced commitment to putting our children in a position to succeed at the earliest age possible. Early childhood education represents the best possible investment for minority children who may otherwise never have an opportunity to obtain a quality education.”

Monday, August 24, 2015
(New Haven Register News)

Experts are focusing more money and attention on the health of young children in Connecticut in an effort to prepare them to be successful in school later on.

The efforts include developmental screenings at child-care centers; home visits and information hot lines for parents; better collaboration with pediatricians; and more support for preschool staff members dealing with emotional and behavioral issues.

The idea is that if a child’s basic health needs aren’t met, he or she won’t be able to keep up with academic and social expectations in school.

Friday, August 21, 2015
(U.S. News & World Report)

Hillary Clinton's campaign has made support for universal preschool one of her earliest education policy positions (preceding even her recently released plan to reduce college debt). Contenders for the Republican nomination have been less eager to talk about early childhood education, however. That's not surprising, given that primary dynamics push candidates to appeal to their base, rather than advancing policies that will appeal to middle-of-the-road voters in the general election. But that doesn't change the fact that some candidates have early childhood policy records that deserve greater attention.

Jeb Bush may have the most obvious early childhood track record. As governor of Florida, he endorsed a ballot initiative that amended the state constitution to offer voluntary pre-K to every Florida 4-year-old. Following the initiative's passage, Bush signed legislation to create Florida's voluntary pre-K program – making the Sunshine State only the third in the country to offer universal pre-K (following Georgia and Oklahoma).