Volume 15, Issue 13

Friday, June 24, 2016

Hot Topics

The White House announced a new joint report from the U.S. Departments of Education (ED), and Health and Human Services (HHS) highlighting the importance of supporting the early learning workforce for both the workforce and the children and families they serve. The report, High-Quality Early Learning Settings Depend on a High-Quality Workforce—Low Compensation Undermines Quality, summarizes the relevant evidence and includes recommendations for pay parity.

The national median annual pay for preschool teachers is $28,570, barely more than half the pay of kindergarten ($51,640) and elementary teachers ($54,890).  Detailed comparisons are provided in a fact sheet and in a national graphic, and state graphics.

Before releasing the report, Secretary John King Jr. shadowed Raquel Lima, a preschool teacher in Clifton, New Jersey, who demonstrated what it takes to be a strong early learning educator (video). Contrary to national standards, Clifton Early Learning Academy preschool teachers are paid at the same level as district teachers due to federal funding for expanding high quality preschool. 

On June 15, the California Legislature approved a $171 billion spending plan for fiscal year 16-17. The plan calls for 8,877 full-day/full-year California State Preschool Program (CSPP) slots to be added over four years, funds for activities that support the Quality Rating and Improvement System, and $1.4 million towards job training, mentoring, and college courses through the Early Care and Education Apprenticeship Pilot Program.

 

Children in center-based ECE the year before kindergarten demonstrated higher academic and behavior skills at kindergarten entry  than those with no nonparental ECE arrangements, according to a new report. The National Center for Education Statistics released Primary Early Care and Education Arrangements and Achievement at Kindergarten Entry on June 30, 2016. The report explores the relationship between children’s primary ECE arrangements the year before kindergarten and their academic skills and learning behaviors at kindergarten entry, after accounting for child and family background characteristics. Fall 2010 kindergarten reading, mathematics, and cognitive flexibility scores were lower for children who had no regular ECE arrangements the year before kindergarten and for those whose primary arrangements were home-based relative care than for children who primarily attended classroom-based arrangements.

To view the full report, visit
http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2016070.

 

new report by the Learning Policy Institute, The Road to High-Quality Early Learning: Lessons from the States, describes how four states—Michigan, North Carolina, Washington, and West Virginia—have built high-quality early education systems at scale. Recognizing that it is not easy to provide high quality pre-K at scale, the report identifies key lessons for policymakers looking to expand and deepen access to high-quality preschool. These include prioritizing quality and continuous improvement, investing in training and coaching for teachers, coordinating administration of birth-through-grade-3 programs, combining multiple funding sources, and creating broad-based coalitions and support.  

 

Resources

One-third of the 400,000 children in foster care enter the system before age five, just as­ they should be making the transition from preschool to kindergarten. Seventy-five percent must change schools when they enter the foster care system, and during their first year in foster care, they experience an average of three different home placements—often changing schools again and again. It’s no surprise that these young students tend to fall behind their classmates, miss more days in school and, over time, experience lower high school graduation rates, and less success in college. In a blog post from the Education Policy Center at AIR, Growing Up in Foster Care: Our Littlest Ones, AIR’s Patricia Campie offers five research-based ways to bolster school readiness and reduce risks when early entry into foster care disrupts children’s educational opportunities.

The Early Childhood Action Collective Is Seeking ECE Writers.The Early Childhood Action Collective (ECAC), a new initiative at Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), sponsored by The William Penn Foundation, is seeking subject matter experts (SME) to author or co-author one or more policy reports related specifically to Philadelphia early childhood education, but intended for a broader general audience. The papers will inform the development of a Universal Pre-K Program in the city and examine related issues. The topics are not yet finalized, but will include subjects related to quality, access, resources, funding, workforce, infants and toddlers, and services for at-risk children. The reports will range from 2 to 15 pages in length, and will be developed throughout 2016 and 2017. All will be widely publicized by PHMC and shared with diverse audiences including policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and the general public. Stipends will be available for authors. To indicate your interest, please complete the 8-question surveyECAC will provide general outlines of proposed topics, and local contacts to provide context and information. Deliverables will be reviewed by advisors and ECAC staff. Please follow us on Twitter@PHMCEarlyEd and like our Facebook page ECAC: Early Childhood Action Collective for updates. You can reach us at ecac@phmc.org.

CEELO Update

Recognizing that a professional pipeline needs to cultivate leadership on multiple levels, the Alabama Dept. of Early Childhood Education (DECE) recently held its first Early Childhood Leadership Institute (ECLI) for state regional directors. As is often the case, many highly skilled educators move into new positions of leadership and authority, frequently with little or no training beyond the classroom or program level about shifting to the larger system of state government. Leaders from DECE invited Jim Squires, Senior Fellow at NIEER/CEELO, to co-create a leadership institute specifically designed for regional directors using CEELO Leadership Academy as a springboard. The emerging model examined issues of management versus leadership, navigating uncharted waters, barriers to leadership, balancing professional effectiveness with personal ethics and fulfillment, and other topics of interest to the group. CEELO will continue to partner with DECE to build out the “office-embedded” professional learning model through distance learning and additional support with the intention of developing state capacity at all levels. 

Calendar

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 8:30am to Friday, June 24, 2016 - 4:00pm

The Third Annual Conference of the Early Childhood Social Impact Performance Advisors, will be held June 22-24 in Denver, Colorado. Cohosted by the Institute for Child Success, ReadyNation, and the Sorenson Impact Center at the University of Utah, this is a major national conference on Pay for Success (PFS) social impact financing and the only such conference focused on early childhood Pay for Success.

Individuals and jurisdictional teams must apply for attendance by April 20. To get more information and apply, visit this page: http://pfs.instituteforchildsuccess.org/third-annual-early-childhood-soc...

Monday, August 8, 2016 - 9:00am to Tuesday, August 9, 2016 - 5:00pm
Research Connections will be holding a free summer data workshop on the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (Baby FACES) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on August 8-9. Baby FACES is a descriptive study of Early Head Start programs designed to inform policy and practice at both national and local levels. Baby FACES project leads from Mathematica Policy Research will instruct this two-day data training, which will introduce researchers to the study objectives, methods, instruments, key findings, and data structure. Throughout the day there will be hands-on time with the data files and structured exercises.
 
The workshop is free, but space is limited. Researchers interested in using the Baby FACES data to answer policy relevant questions in early care and education are encouraged to apply. Participants must have programming experience in one or more of the following software packages: SAS, Stata, or SPSS. In addition, participants should have experience using large, complex survey data. The application deadline is June 10, 2016.
 

Early Education News Roundup

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
(NJ.com)

The nation's top education official is coming to New Jersey on Tuesday to promote the importance of early childhood education. John King Jr., the U.S. secretary of education, is scheduled to visit Clifton Early Learner Academy, where he will shadow a preschool teacher. The academy receives a portion of a federal grant awarded to New Jersey for high-quality preschool programs.

King, a former New York state education commissioner, will participate in a discussion about early education, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The Obama administration has pushed for the expansion of pre-K programs for four-year olds through a federal-state partnership and has awarded $750 million to expand preschool in 230 high-need communities across 18 states.

New Jersey is scheduled to receive as much as $17.5 million a year for as long as four years through the grant program. King's vist comes as state officials are calling for more funding to be allocated to public preschool programs. Both State Sen. President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) have endorsed plans to increase spending on early childhood education. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
(EdCentral)

Last week the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights released the long-awaited data from the 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), an extensive survey of all public schools and districts across the United States. The Office of Civil Rights has been collecting this data since 1968 to track issues related to equal educational opportunity and has been adding data points over time. The CRDC measures everything from course offerings to enrollment to bullying and was last released in March 2014. In this blog we’d like to highlight what the data tell us about early learning in the United States. We’ll be digging into the data more over the next several months.

Here’s an overview of major findings and what the data show around early learners.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
(The Times-Tribune)

For politicians, early childhood education is a case of a narrow window and a far horizon. In Pennsylvania, state legislators are too focused on that horizon. Abundant research on education and brain development shows that there is a relatively narrow window, between ages 3 and 5, in which to best establish a solid educational foundation in most kids — especially regarding language. Yet in Pennsylvania, only one in six of Pennsylvania’s 300,000 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs. According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, in 2015 Pennsylvania ranked 15th nationally in pre-K access for 3-year-olds, down from 11th in 2010, and 30th in access for 4-year-olds, down from 24th five years earlier. . .

A big part of the problem is that far horizon. Politicians often are reluctant to dedicate state funds to early childhood education because the results are not instantaneous. Unlike a rebuilt highway or bridge, the results are not immediately marketable and, therefore, not politically marketable. Results of increasing pre-K access don’t show up until the kids’ academic performance is assessed much later in their school careers.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
(cleveland.com)

Ohio preschool teachers make less than their peers in 48 states, and their median salary is low enough to qualify families of four for food stamp benefits, according to a report from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education.

Only Utah and Arizona preschool teachers have lower median salaries than the $23,690 Ohio preschool teachers earn, and early childhood educators' salaries in all states pale in comparison to the pay of elementary and kindergarten teachers, the report states.

Recent research shows that a child's first five years of life are some of the most important for brain development, and indicates early childhood education teachers are the "single most important factors in these early experiences," according to the report. But their salaries don't reflect the teachers' level of responsibility.

The study coincides with Cleveland Connects: The First 2,000 Days, a series examining the importance of a child's first 2,000 days of life and how society might see long-term returns on investments in early childhood education. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
(US News & World Report)

Early childhood educators, who are tasked with helping children build a solid foundation for academic, health and social achievement, are woefully underpaid, argues a new reportfrom the Obama administration – some even earning so little that they qualify for public benefits.

"Undervaluing the nation's early childhood educators flies in the face of what we know about brain development and the optimal time for learning," Secretary of Education John King said.

Early childhood educators, who are tasked with helping children build a solid foundation for academic, health and social achievement, are woefully underpaid, argues a new reportfrom the Obama administration – some even earning so little that they qualify for public benefits.

"Undervaluing the nation's early childhood educators flies in the face of what we know about brain development and the optimal time for learning," Secretary of Education John King said.

And in 13 states, they earn less than 50 percent of the annual wages earned by kindergarten teachers.

Thursday, June 16, 2016
(NJTV News)

As teacher Raquel Lima leads her excited 4-year-olds in a counting song she knows she’s lucky because Clifton’s part of a special, federally-funded preschool program. That means Lima earns a salary that’s comparable to other teachers in Clifton’s public schools. Most pre-K teachers earn less. A lot less.

“I have been there. My first job out of college was at a daycare, making $6 an hour. You can’t live on that. You can’t have a family of four on that,” she said.

Federal labor statistics show a big pay gap. Nationally preschool teachers earn a median salary of $28,570 a year — that’s just 55 percent of the $51,640 earned by kindergarten teachers. While higher overall, Jersey’s median salaries show a similar gap: $35,160 for preschool teachers compared to $61,350 for kindergarten teachers. And it makes a difference, according to U.S. Education Secretary John King.

“Because of these salary differentials, you see lots of turnover in childcare facilities and preschool. If folks can’t support themselves and their families, they simply can’t afford to stay. And that means you don’t have the benefit of the experience those teachers have gained, because they’re leaving those early learning settings,” King said.

Thursday, June 16, 2016
(wlfi.com)

Preparing Indiana’s youngest for that first day of kindergarten is something Lafayette Community Schools Superintendent Les Huddle says shouldn’t wait.

“Having that access or opportunity for every student would be a huge step forward for our entire state,” said Huddle.

Indiana Superintendent for Public Instruction Glenda Ritz agrees. This month, she called on state lawmakers to adopt a program for all students statewide by 2020.

“We have to absolutely invest in our little ones, and I want it open to all students who might want to attend a high quality pre-K program,” Ritz told reporters during a press conference.

According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, there are currently 57 state-funded preschool programs in 42 states.

Indiana has adopted a pilot program for lower-income preschool students and Republican Gov. Mike Pence said he’d like to expand it. A spokesperson for Pence’s re-election campaign said the governor looks forward to working with the General Assembly to do so “in a responsible manner” using state funds, philanthropic funds and possibly federal funds.

Monday, June 20, 2016
(cleveland.com)

The skills employers value most, some experts contend, are not learned in high school or college and can't be measured by standardized tests. The ability to problem-solve, plan, stay organized and deal with clients and co-workers — so-called "soft skills" —are best learned in preschool, when children's brains are sponges and every experience helps form the mental framework that lasts a lifetime.

"If you want to increase the average skills of your workers 20 years from now, one of the most cost-effective ways of doing that is investing in early childhood education," said Tim Bartik an economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

In the latest installment of Cleveland Connects: The First 2,000 Days, an informational series on the importance of investing in the first five years of children's lives, cleveland.com looks at soft skills and the roles that parents and preschools play in developing the skills.

Monday, June 20, 2016
(nprED)

Something's wrong in America's classrooms. According to new data from the Education Department, black students — from kindergarten through high school — are 3.8 times more likely to be suspended than white students. Now the really bad news. This trend begins in preschool, where black children are already 3.6 times more likely to be suspended than white students. In all, 6,743 children who were enrolled in public pre-K received one or more out-of-school suspensions in the 2013-14 school year.

Glass half-full: That number's down slightly and relatively small considering the 1.4 million kids who, according to the Education Department, attended public pre-K that year. Glass half-empty: That's 6,743 kids too many, say several top child development experts.

"To be clear, preschool suspension just shouldn't be a thing for any kid," says Maryam Adamu, who until recently studied early childhood policy at the Center For American Progress. To stop preschool suspensions, Adamu argues, it's important to understand why they happen. One reason: money. "You get what you pay for. When we're underfunding programs, we're sort of setting ourselves up to fail."

Monday, June 20, 2016
(Philly.com)

While Philadelphia could sweeten this narrative with the recently passed soda tax, aimed at funding pre-K, a new federal report shows that Pennsylvania's low pay for early-childhood teachers undermines its ability to deliver high-quality education at a critical developmental stage.

Nationwide in 2015, the median annual wage for preschool teachers was $28,570 - about 55 percent of what elementary teachers were paid, according to a report released this month by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. For a child-care teacher, it was even lower, around $20,320. Such low compensation leaves many early-childhood educators around the poverty line, which is $20,160 for a family of three.

The report also listed Pennsylvania preschool teachers, excluding special education, in the lowest bracket for annual median pay, earning $21,930 to $23,890. Median annual wages for child-care teachers was $19,590. The average kindergarten teacher in the state made more than double: $51,050.

Monday, June 20, 2016
(Mountain Messenger)

Many 3- and 4-year-olds still lack access to high-quality preschool education despite modest gains in enrollment, quality, and funding, according to an annual report by the nonpartisan National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. While several states made significant progress through a concerted effort to increase enrollment and funding and improve quality, progress is slow and uneven nationally and quality standards are particularly low in some of the nation’s largest states such as California, Florida and Texas. Despite the relatively good news this year, the rate of progress is so slow that it will take 150 years for the nation to reach 75 percent enrollment in state pre-K even at age 4.

In West Virginia, enrollment was 16,622, down by 212 children in 2014-2015. However, the state serves 70 percent of 4-year-olds in the state and ranks 5th in the nation in access for 4-year-olds. West Virginia also saw gains in terms of quality standards – meeting all 10 of NIEER’s minimum quality standards benchmarks with the new requirement for assistant teachers to have at least a Child Development Associate credential. Only 5 other states meet all 10. The passage of SB 146 (2016) helps move West Virginia forward in the provision of equitable services for all children, serving as a model for other states by requiring a minimum of 25 hours of weekly instruction.
“West Virginia recognizes that the state’s economic future depends on early investment in its youngest citizens,” said NIEER Director Steve Barnett. “Ensuring that every child has access to high-quality preschool can help pave the way for their success in school, on the job, and in West Virginia communities,” he said.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
(High Plains Public Radio)

The U.S. spends a lot of money on preschool — billions of dollars each year. When invested wisely, research suggests the costs are justified by significant returns to society, including savings from crimes not committed, welfare dollars not distributed, and taxes on higher earnings.

But a new report suggests many preschool programs aren't as good as they could (or should) be — because their teachers arrived on the job poorly trained.

"There's a lot of attention to expanding access [to preschool], but there's insufficient attention to the quality of the programs," says Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).

Walsh and her colleagues studied 100 training programs for aspiring preschool teachers: five associate's degree programs, 54 bachelor's programs, and 41 master's or graduate degree programs.

They found that most offerings only briefly touched on skills specific to early-childhood teaching, including how to build children's language abilities and introduce them to early mathematical concepts. Roughly 40 percent of training programs didn't specifically require a course on teaching preschool, and 20 percent didn't allow student teaching in an actual preschool.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
(Indiana Public Media)

Although most Indiana students do attend kindergarten, students are not required by law to go to school until age seven.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count data book, a national report on child wellbeing, reports Indiana ranks 40th in the nation for preschool enrollment: parents of 60 percent of Indiana’s three and four year olds say their children are not in school. Only 10 states have fewer young children in school programs.

According to some experts, missing out on those early years is a big deal.

“Success starts early,” said Kent Mitchell of Early Learning Indiana. “You know kids who start behind stay behind.”

Early Learning Indiana is an preschool provider and advocate.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
(Philadelphia Magazine)

While the soda tax battle finally ended on Monday when Mayor Jim Kenney signed the long-contested sugary drinks tax into law, local business leaders are saying more needs to be done.

They’re calling on the state to to pump an additional $90 million into funding for high-quality pre-K, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports.

Representatives from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Main Line Chamber of Commerce, the African American Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. military say the investment would bridge the STEM workforce skills gap beginning in the formative pre-K years. The money would expand pre-K access for 7,400 more children and extend the school year for 6,200 students, CBS Philly reports.

To back this position up, the leaders have cited STEM and Early Childhood — When Skills Take Root, a report released on Friday by Mission:Readiness, an education advocacy organization run by retired military leaders and Washington D.C.-based education advocacy group, ReadyNation.

Thursday, June 23, 2016
(Local News 8)

According to a 2016 kid count study by Idaho Voices for Children, 69 percent of young children in Idaho are not enrolled in early education programs. The survey shows 31 percent of kids ages 3 through 4 are not in any type of preschool.

Idaho STARS and the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District said kids who don't go to preschool could be at a disadvantage when entering elementary school.

"The range when they come to us in that kindergarten is from students who cannot recognize one letter to students who know all of their letters and all of their sounds and they're reading and so that gap is so wide," said Lori Craney, elementary education director for School District 25.

"They're not being prepared for elementary school," said Laura Thomas, an education consultant at Idaho STARS. "There's a huge discrepancy of children entering kindergarten or first grade."

"Just that exposure to learning, just that exposure to all that is going to be happening when kids get to school is really important in preschool," Craney said.

 

Thursday, June 23, 2016
(KY3)

Choosing a childcare provider for your little one is one of the hardest decisions a parent has to make. A new law signed by Governor Nixon Wednesday in Springfield will help Missouri parents be more informed in that choice.

Every parent hopes the place their little ones go while they're at work is safe, educational and fun. But there is currently no quality rating system for childcare providers in Missouri. Inf fact, it was outlawed.

Judy Dungan, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Missouri Children's Leadership Council says, "I mean, it's one of the most important decisions they're going to make, and our state, by policy, said we weren't allowed to rate the quality of those providers."

But with Governor Nixon's signature on Senate Bill 638, multiple state departments will begin building a ratings system, which will be voluntary for providers.

 

Thursday, June 23, 2016
(Delaware Online)

Preschool hasn't always been front and center when it comes to education spending. But Delaware is gaining ground, Gov. Jack Markell said Wednesday in visiting a Georgetown preschool center that's been helped by a sought-after federal grant.

The governor spent time at a Parents and Children Together at Tech United Cerebral Palsy of Delaware, or PACTT, child care center at Sussex Technical High School. The center is wrapping up the first year of a five-year stretch in which it's being helped by a $7 million federal Early Head Start grant. Only six other states received the grant, state officials said.
 
Alison May, a Department of Education spokeswoman, said 434 children attend the seven early learning centers around the state that are receiving the grant. In all, according to a 2015 report from the National Institute for Early Education Research, more than 2,500 three- and four-year-olds attend government-supported pre-K and Head Start programs in Delaware.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
(Save the Children Action Network)

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (H.R. 5170), bipartisan legislation that would expand effective social interventions, like early learning programs.

Sponsored by Representatives Todd Young (R-IN) and John Delaney (D-MD), this legislation would allow private and philanthropic investors to enter into contracts with the government to fund programs that serve a public good while also saving the government money. The outcomes of these programs are rigorously evaluated to assess if predetermined goals are met. These goals are intended to save state and federal tax dollars by avoiding more costly interventions in the future.

“All children are born ready to learn, yet far too many children in the U.S. currently do not have access to the early learning opportunities needed to prepare them to succeed in school and life,” said Mark Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network (SCAN). “This bill is crucial in helping pay for critical early learning programs, like pre-K – something every child deserves.”

A portion of the savings would be used to repay investors with a modest return. If the outcomes are not met, no taxpayer money is spent.

Friday, June 24, 2016
(Education Week)

Mississippi, which has made early literacy an educational focal point, has good news to report on test scores for its kindergartners.

The children who started kindergarten in fall 2015 performed better on a test of early literacy compared to the previous year's kindergarten class. The children who were kindergarten students in fall 2014 were the first ones to take the state's new STAR Early Literacy Exam. The test is administered twice to kindergarten students, and is intended to give teachers an idea of what children know once they start school.

Friday, June 24, 2016
(LA School Report)

Dino-dances, stomach agriculture debates, and other adorable activities resounded across the city that morning, testifying to the fact that Washington, D.C. sends nearly all of its children to pre-K. Spurred by a landmark 2008 law, the District enrolls 85 percent or more of its four-year-olds (depending on who’s counting) and an even more remarkable 60-plus percent of three-year-olds. “The city has committed to providing a high-quality seat [to every pre-K child,]” said Travis Wright, who leads early learning programs for District of Columbia Public Schools. “That’s not something every child in the United States has.”

The National Institute of Early Education Research, which tracks enrollment nationally but uses a different methodology than the District, said 86 percent of Washington, D.C.’s four-year-olds and 64 percent of three-year-olds were enrolled in publicly-funded programs in 2015. By contrast, Vermont, which leads all states in NIEER’s early-education enrollment analysis, had 84 percent of four-year-olds and 26 percent of three-year-olds in programs that year.

The District’s high numbers reflect a surge over over the last decade. Just 61 percent of four-year-olds, and 28 percent of three-year-olds, were enrolled in 2004, according to NIEER. In all, more than 12,500 children out of an estimated 16,400 were enrolled in public preschool, according to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. An additional 1,221 children were in full-day subsidized daycare, according to the state superintendent’s office. Early childhood educators and advocates attribute the city’s high enrollment to its commitment to provide sufficient support — preschoolers are funded using the same formula that funds older students, teachers are paid on the same salary schedule as teachers in higher grades, and city leaders have refused to cut support even in lean budget years.