Volume 14, Issue 19

Friday, September 18, 2015

Hot Topics

In the Republican Presidential debates this week there was no mention of education, not even preschool, which has been found to be a popular bipartisan issue with strong public support in recent polls.

The candidates didn’t hesitate to weigh in on the science of early childhood health however, with Trump asserting a connection between vaccination and autism. The New York Times cited the following: ‘Dr. Schaffnera professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, who said he cringed through the autism exchange at the end of the debate. “I would have hoped — since two of the discussants were physicians — that there would have been a ringing discussion about safety and value of vaccines, and an affirmation of the schedule set out by the American Academy of Pediatrics.”’

Instead, the two doctors involved in the debate, Rand Paul and Ben Carson, agreed that it might be OK to spread out vaccination schedules, and allow parents ‘freedom’ in their scheduling and use of vaccines. Carson confirmed “We have extremely well-documented proof that there’s no autism associated with vaccination, but it is true that we are probably giving way too many in too short a period of time,” although the American Academy of Pediatrics does not agree on that either—their schedule is based on an Institute of Medicine study indicating the schedule is best practice for children’s health.

Fox news reported that the autism-vaccine connection is clearly nonexistent: “Medical researchers have debunked claims that vaccines given to children can lead to autism and developmental disorders. The Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, says vaccines are not free from adverse effects, "but most are very rare or very mild."

A study that drew a connection between autism and vaccines was retracted in 2010. The author of that study lost his license after investigation, and the article promoting the idea was withdrawn from the journal in which it was originally published, after methodology and conflict of interest issues were exposed.

One benefit to early childhood education, not always a focus of attention, is that low-income children who are enrolled in programs are more likely to be up-to-date on vaccines than children who are not, and may experience better health outcomes in the short- and long-term, related to their participation. Indeed, “high-quality early education programs can be expected to have substantial impacts on health that extend into adulthood through both direct and indirect mechanisms.”

A study of the Canadian Better Beginnings, Better Futures (BBBF) initiative, “a community-based early intervention project for young children living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods during their transition to primary school,” found a return on every dollar invested of $2.50 per family saved. The cost-savings analysis covered four program years (for children ages 4 through 8), then measured government service costs on 19 items for the study children through 12th grade (a 10-year follow-up). The study used a quasi-experimental, longitudinal two-group design. 

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

Rebecca Gomez blogs about P-3 governance–What is it, and why is it important? Noting that  no time is more critical than the present to consider governance and how a state’s approach to governance affects the development and implementation of P-3 systems.

Jim Squires blogs about Buried treasure: Discovering gold in the NIEER State of Preschool Yearbook. A wealth of information on early education is available annually into the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), as specialists from state education agencies provide data for the Annual State of Preschool Yearbook.


An article in Forbes suggests that child care is poised to grow as a business in the US. The article suggests that profitability has improved, but “operating a child day care business can be an ongoing struggle to balance expenses with parents’ ability to pay.”

A recent study in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management reports on the effects of U.S. child-care subsidies on the cognitive and behavioral development of children in low-income female-headed families, using data from the Kindergarten cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. They find 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, but that that these negative effects largely disappear by the time children finish first grade.

Zero to Three cited a recent study in Psychological Science looks at the impact of early entry into child care on children’s aggression, finding that age of entry may predict aggression at age 2, but prediction ‘faded to negligible levels’ between ages 2 and 4.

A REL Northeast & Islands study explored how early childhood education programs are collecting and using data, how they would like to use data, how they could use the data that they have, and the challenges they face in these efforts.

Research Connections reported on a study examining validity of the ECERS-R for understanding program quality in relation to children’s school readiness.

FPG has details of an implementation tool available. “The Initiative Inventory is an Exploration Stage activity that is used to guide a discussion of past and current initiatives in a state, regional entity, district, or school. This review process can provide valuable information as to why some programs or strategies were successful, and others were not.

Research Connections reported on two briefs from the Save the Children Action Network that “explore innovative ECE financing mechanisms and funding streams at federal, state, and local levels.”

There is a new Joint policy statement from ED & HHS on inclusion in early childhood programs. The “Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs,” released by the Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) on September 14, 2015, states that all young children with disabilities should have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs, where they are provided with individualized and appropriate support in meeting high expectations.

A new report from New America, Building Strong Readers in Minnesota: PreK-3rd Grade Policies That Support Children’s Literacy Development, examines “state policies and local initiatives in Minnesota that aim to improve literacy outcomes for all students by shaping their learning trajectories from a young age.”

A recent study considered the impact of reading on child language outcomes. The NPR report on the study includes book suggestions for young readers.

Tap, Click, Read is a book addressing the issue of raising readers in a high-tech society. The book website includes more information about the authors and their recommendations.

This report from the Urban Institute looks at factors affecting children that influence outcomes in adulthood. “Using 40 years of data, this analysis follows children from birth to age 17, then through their 20s, to examine how childhood poverty and family and neighborhood characteristics relate to achievement in young adulthood, such as completing high school by age 20, enrolling in postsecondary education by age 25, completing a four-year college degree by age 25, and being consistently employed from ages 25 to 30.” 

Early Educator Central: Pathways to Credentials and Degrees for Infant-Toddler Educators is a web site that focuses on the careers of infant-toddler (I/T) educators and on tools to advance their education and to improve competencies. Key features of Early Educator Central include: High-quality course work to support I/T educators and others; Tools for leaders to build all aspects of the I/T career pathway; Supports for those teaching in higher education ; and Outreach tools, available at Spread the Word, including digital banners, social media messages, powerpoint, infographic and talking points.

Seeking Papers

The Creative Education (CE, ISSN Online: 2151-4771), a peer-reviewed open-access journal, is seeking papers for the upcoming special issue on "Early Childhood Education and Care." Submit or recommend original research papers to this issue through the Paper Submission System.


ECE Progam Manager Position at National Council of La Raza

NCLR is seeking an experienced ECE program manager. The position will be in the DC office, although there is some flexibility in terms of location.  See more details here.  

CEELO Update

View the Webinar Highlights of the 2014 Nieer State of Preschool Yearbook: P-3 policy in context. This webinar featires highlights of the latest yearbook and guidelines on how to dig deeper for more data.

For those who will be completing the Yearbook survey this year, view the NIEER Yearbook Orientation 2015, for updates on survey format and delivery, and some new subsets of questions.

Shannon Ayers will be giving the keynote address, Bringing West Virginia into Focus, at the WV Universal Pre-K Leadership Institute on Wednesday September 23rd.  She will share the national perspective, talk about how West Virginia is doing, and then discuss the Pre-K evaluation that NIEER is doing there.  

Shannon Ayers will also be presenting at the Early Childhood Summit on Saturday, October 17, 2015, for the Child & Family Services Department of Human Services in Arlington, VA.

CEELO will be hosting a peer exchange, Improving Systems to Support Continuous Improvement of Pre-K Program Quality, September 16-17, 2015, in Washington DC.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 10:00am to Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 4:00pm

The eighth annual WV Universal Pre-K Leadership Institute is scheduled for September 23-24, 2015 at the Embassy Suites in Charleston, WV. The Leadership Institute will begin at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, September 23rd and conclude at 4:00 PM on Thursday, September 24th. As in the past, the Leadership Institute has limited seating and each county team will have four reserved spaces, one for each core team member or representative. 

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Who: As a Bright Spot, LAUP will be part of a national online catalog that includes over 230 programs that invest in key education priorities for Hispanics.

What: The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (WHIEEH) announced LAUP as part of its online catalog of Bright Spots organizations. The catalog includes more than 230 national programs.

Why: The Initiative seeks to leverage these Bright Spots to encourage collaboration between stakeholders focused on similar issues in sharing data-driven approaches, promising practices, peer advice, and effective partnerships, ultimately resulting in increased support for the educational attainment of the Hispanic community, from cradle-to-career. . .

LAUP's CEO, Celia C. Ayala, attended the press conference. "Since LAUP's inception 10 years ago, we have been dedicated to serving all families, including our large population of Hispanic families, with quality early care and education for their young children in Los Angeles County," Ayala said. "LAUP is thrilled to be a part of the national effort committed to Hispanic educational achievement, and is honored by this recognition as an exemplary program."

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
(MMC News)

A new federally funded early education program will allow five large cities in Massachusetts to open all-day preschool classrooms. The money will fund the Massachusetts Preschool Expansion Grant program, which will bring together local public schools with community-based early educations programs. The cities will receive a combined total of more than $14 million this year to set up 45 new classrooms, according to a statement from the state Department of Early Education and Care.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
(U.S. Department of Education)

The “Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs,” released jointly by the Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) on September 14, 2015, states that all young children with disabilities should have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs, where they are provided with individualized and appropriate support in meeting high expectations.

Children with disabilities and their families continue to face significant barriers to accessing inclusive high-quality early childhood programs, and too many preschool children with disabilities are only offered the option of receiving special education services in settings separate from their peers without disabilities.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015
(Kansas City Star (Editorial))

The enthusiasm for universal pre-kindergarten was exceptionally high during Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s visit to Woodland Early Learning Center in Kansas City.

But Duncan, on the first stop Monday of a seven-state bus tour, explained that the millions of dollars the Obama administration wants for early childhood education is on the Republican chopping block in Congress.

That would take the country and President Barack Obama’s push for universal pre-kindergarten in the wrong direction. More funding, not less, is needed to make high quality preschool available for all 3- and 4-year-olds.

Duncan argues that early education programs lead to lower dropout rates, teen pregnancy and incarceration. They make children ready to enter kindergarten and give them a better chance at succeeding throughout school and becoming ready for college and careers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Pennsylvania Legislature is still working to get a budget on the books, and it's not alone. The federal budget is being fought over in Washington, and at least one senator said families in need of early education are getting caught in the cross-hairs. Study after study shows the benefits of early childhood education. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat said, despite having room, thousands of families are being left out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015
(Al Jazeera )

A clear majority of Americans agree: high-quality preschool should be guaranteed by the public, just as our primary and secondary schools are. It’s an idea that Democrats are hoping to add to their legacy — something to stand along aside Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and the Earned Income Tax Credit as lasting institutions in American life. But it’s also a policy that even business-minded Republicans have reason to support. Not only does it provide a cost-effective educational intervention for our kids; it also gives their parents the freedom to participate in the job market.

On July 7, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania introduced legislation to Congress proposing state-run pre-kindergarten programs that would be freely available to families earning less than $48,000 a year. Unfortunately, Casey’s bill, which was an amendment to No Child Left Behind, has stalled on Capitol Hill. However, at the state level, several Republican governors have already gotten behind their own proposals, creating bipartisan support for an issue whose time has come.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015
(The Atlantic)

Halley Potter, a fellow at the Century Foundation, said the program’s universality is essential to ensuring its survival, especially given the program’s lack of permanent funding. (New York State pledged to finance it only through 2019.) “The fact that this has been rolled out so quickly has been able to really motivate parents and families in the city to be advocates for universal pre-k,” Potter said. “I think that’s really valuable.”

Most importantly, she argues, is the underlying goal of fostering diversity. “One of the best things that we can do for [disadvantaged] children is to give them pre-school classes that have an economic mix of kids,” she said. “That is something that we know in K–12 education as well, that economically-mixed schools tend to have much stronger outcomes for students.”

Monday, September 14, 2015
(Imperial Valley News)

Assembly Bill 47 relating to the expansion of the state preschool program passed the State Assembly and now heads to the Governor’s desk for approval. The Preschool For All bill would expand on last year’s commitment from the Governor and Legislature to expand state preschools for all low income families who do not have access to one year of state preschool or transitional kindergarten. AB 47 is being authored by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty and co-authored by local Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella).

Friday, September 11, 2015
(Online Athens)

Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan to spend $50 million to reverse cuts to Georgia’s pre-kindergarten program was good news for parents, teachers and the state’s 4-year-olds. The money will lower class sizes and increase teacher pay for the lottery-funded program. Deal said he plans to get the extra funding from a lottery reserve fund. The fund had roughly $350 million last year, after growing about $60 million a year the past three years. Deal previously opposed requests to tap the fund.

Friday, September 11, 2015

While most students headed back to school this week, a large portion of eligible youngsters were unable to because of an opportunity gap. Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey announced Thursday thousands of children are unable to attend much-needed Head Start and Early Head Start programs because of a lack of funding.

Data provided by Casey’s office revealed fewer than 10 percent of eligible Pennsylvania children up to 3 years old are able to attend the programs. In Washington County, roughly 31 percent of the eligible participants take advantage of Head Start and similar programs. In Greene County, only 42 percent of eligible participants take advantage of the programs available.

Head Start promotes school readiness of young children from low-income families through agencies in their local communities.

Friday, September 11, 2015
(Huffington Post)

Debate in early childhood education has largely shifted from the kindergarten to the pre-kindergarten. For a long time, programs for four-year-olds have resembled kindergartens of the past. Children are painting, playing with blocks, dressing up for make-believe, using sand and water tables, singing, and listening to stories. . .

Our review supports the idea that young children can benefit from literacy experiences, to learn letters and sounds, while they continue to play, pretend, draw, and sing. Keeping literacy out of the mix does not benefit children immediately or one year later.

Thursday, September 10, 2015
(The Hill (Op-Ed))

The desire by all voters to prioritize early childhood education is clear; it is not a topic that can be labeled as progressive or conservative. Fifty-nine percent of survey respondents said they would be more likely to support a presidential candidate who came out in favor of increased early childhood education spending. That figure cuts across partisan and demographic lines, with several critical voting subgroups asserting that this issue could define their vote. 

Voters believe the facts about early education, which accounts for this broad-based support. Investments in the early years lay the foundation for success in school, career and life. They pay dividends for society with higher literacy and graduation rates, reduced crime statistics and a more educated, better-prepared workforce. Moreover, expanding access to high-quality education for young kids is the most effective way to close the growing opportunity gap in our country. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015
(Daily News)

Mayor de Blasio kicked off the school year Wednesday — marking the first time ever that every child who wanted to start pre-kindergarten was given a seat.

Some 65,504 4-year-olds are now enrolled in full day pre-K — up from about 50,000 last year and 20,000 before de Blasio took office with universal pre-K as the top item on his agenda.

Thursday, September 10, 2015
(EdWeek )

Indiana's decision to close its state-funded preschool pilot program to 4-year-olds who are not legal U.S. residents has drawn national attention and raised sticky questions about the access of such children to education before they reach kindergarten.

The news organization Chalkbeat Indiana reported in August about the restriction on undocumented children, which Indiana officials say puts the program in line with rules governing other social service programs in the state. The preschool pilot is now in its first full year of operation.

"It would not be terribly surprising if there were calls in other states to limit access to this scarce resource," said Margie McHugh, the director of the Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. In that role, she focuses on educational quality and access. "Even though there's generally strong bipartisan support for expansion of pre-K services, the immigration conversation is such a hot-button one."

Wednesday, September 9, 2015
(Hartford Courant)

It's a question parents have long had to answer: Should they send their child to kindergarten at age 5, or wait a year until they believe their child is ready? Last school year, one in 12 children old enough to attend kindergarten was not enrolled. And while the parents of many of those children may hope the extra year of preschool and development will mean their children are better prepared for school or ahead of their classmates when they start kindergarten, state officials at the Office of Early Childhood want to outlaw the practice. State law allows parents to have their children start kindergarten when they are as young as 4 years and 8 months old. But parents can also wait until their child is 6 or 7 to enroll.

Narrowing the age span — as the state agency recommends — would largely impact the state's most affluent towns. For example, one in four students in Darien, New Canaan and Wilton kindergarten classrooms could have enrolled one year earlier. Such a shift is likely to generate pushback from parents. "To me, this really should be a parent's choice. Does the parent believe the child is going to be successful? That's what it should come down to," said Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross, who spoke as a parent and not as the chairwoman of Darien's school board.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015
(New England Public Radio)

In New York City, some 65,000 children have enrolled in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new, universal preschool program. To put that number in context, that’s more than all the public school students — in all grades — in either Washington, D.C. or Boston. Free pre-K for all 4-year-olds was a key de Blasio campaign promise.

The effort puts New York City at the forefront of a movement that has yet to take hold in many American cities. The price is high. De Blasio’s program costs roughly $400 million a year. And making sure preschool is “high quality” isn’t just expensive, it’s a logistical challenge: recruiting and vetting teachers and determining which private providers meet the city’s standard.

Robert Siegel, host of NPR’s All Things Considered, spoke with Mayor de Blasio today about the city’s pre-K rollout and ongoing efforts to register students. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway shares his plan for education. The Democratic candidate spoke at Louisville's Main Free Public Library downtown Tuesday morning.

Conway says he wants to expand early childhood education and make it available to more kids. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
(Route Fifty)

Policymakers in Minnesota, like many across the country, have been impressed by studies that show early education can improve a child’s life and save taxpayers money over the long term. But while there’s a growing consensus on the value of preschool, states disagree on where the programs should be based, who should run them, or how the government should support them. . . 

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University surveys state administrators every year to find out whether states have a preschool program and how much they spend per child. Over 65 percent of 4-year-olds in Florida, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Vermont participated in a state-supported program last year. NIEER calculates that between state programs and Head Start, a federal program for poor families, 41.5 percent of 4-year-olds nationwide attend publicly funded preschool.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
(Gant Daily )

We need to reshape the primary years and re-envision the elementary school. The K-5 model starts too late and is usually disconnected from early care and education providers such as pre-K centers. Instead, primary education should start at age 3, and each year of a young child’s life should be marked by teachers who work together, grade by grade, to offer age-appropriate and research-based learning experiences up through third grade.

This does not mean shoving little kids into schools made for big kids. In fact, a re-envisioned elementary model can include classrooms that are situated off campus and run by community organizations. What matters is not the location so much as the fact that their teachers and leaders work in tandem with those in other grades.

Today there is a false assumption that by age 5, children leave early childhood behind. That leads educators to make misguided attempts to make kindergarten and early grade classrooms resemble those for older students. But research on children’s development shows the benefits of guided play, exploration, read-alouds and socializations continue at least through age 8. Kids need to be taught in small groups and through hands-on activities.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
(High Plains Public Radio)

 . . . Jose agrees. He says preschool gave him a big jump-start: "Once I got into kindergarten and first grade, I knew how to count, read ... and everything got easier from there."

Researchers who've been studying preschoolers in Tulsa say the same is true for most of the children who entered the city's pre-K program in 2005. "These children did show huge gains in early math and early literacy skills," says Deborah Phillips, a developmental psychologist at Georgetown University has been overseeing the study. "They were more likely to be engaged in school, less timid in the classroom and more attentive."

Phillips didn't just look at grades and test scores. Her team looked at student mobility, whether kids were in advanced or special education classes. They examined retention rates, absenteeism and they even surveyed students' attitudes about school. Researchers then compared these eighth graders to a large sample of Tulsa eighth and seventh graders who did not attend preschool. They found that those students were not doing nearly as well. These findings are important because Tulsa's program is considered a model for high-quality preschool programs nationwide, and the city has received extensive funding from the state to make it so. Phillips says her research now shows precisely how children have benefited over time.