Volume 15, Issue 16

Friday, August 12, 2016

Hot Topics

More than 50 years after President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the first national preschool program,  policymakers continue debating how best to help low-income children enter school healthy and ready to learn -- and how much to invest. Recent articles explore the legacy of Head Start, its impact on middle school students, how Boston has achieved preschool success and the role early childhood education plays in achieving a world-class education system:

The Hechinger Report writer Lillian Mongeau explored the legacy of Head Start in “The Never-Ending Struggle to Improve Head Start". Critics charge the program fails to meet its goals, while supporters argue the fault lies not in the program but in a lack of resources. 

A recently published study of the long-term impacts of Head Start in Tulsa OK indicates benefits can extend beyond kindergarten. The report found significant positive effects on achievement test scores in math and on both grade retention and chronic absenteeism for middle-school students as a whole.

Boston’s public preschool program has been lauded for providing quality preschool to nearly 70 percent of 4-year-olds. The only complaint: lack of resources has prevented expanding more quickly.

The first report by the National Conference of State Legislatures bipartisan study group ranked quality early childhood education as the number one element required to build a world-class education system. 

Without giving due attention to the quality of K-3, early education advocates miss an opportunity to continue the positive momentum created by improved pre-K experiences.

Education Commission of the States released a 50-State Comparison and Companion Report summarizing state statutes, rules and regulations related to K-3 quality. A few key issues stood out as particularly important: pre-K to kindergarten transitions, social-emotional learning and third grade reading policies. The comparison also addresses full-day kindergarten, teacher-to-student ratio requirements and instructional quality.

Negative narratives surrounding Black men and the misuse of data have real consequences and can manifest as barriers to high quality learning environments or workforce development opportunities. Opportunity should not be informed by stereotypes, hyperbole and conjecture. “Erasing the Deficits: “My Brother’s Keeper” and Contemporary Perspectives on Black Male School Achievement” underscores the importance of a meaningful interpretation of the data and a compassionate understanding of opportunities to support Black males.

The essay co-authored by Ivory A. Toldson, PhD., deputy director for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and David J. Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, is included in a special issue of the Teachers College Records 118(6).

We are deeply saddened by the recent passing of Deborah Cassidy, president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, on July 21, 2016. She was a deeply committed teacher, mentor, and advocate for young children and those who serve them. She was a strong supporter of the association’s efforts to advance our profession.

The Executive Committee recommended that Tammy Mann be appointed to fill the position of Board President for the remainder of the term, ending May 31, 2019. The National Governing Board unanimously accepted this recommendation and appointed Tammy to the position on Monday, July 25.

Tammy Mann served on the Governing Board from June 2012 to May 2016. She was an active member on both the Finance and Audit Committees, and she chaired the Board Development Committee. In her role as chair, she led the complete restructuring of NAEYC’s bylaws, policies, and procedures and the development of the Governing Board self-assessment. Tammy was also an active and engaged Board member during the search for NAEYC’s executive director and during the development and implementation of NAEYC’s Strategic Direction. 

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

Thursday, July 28, 2016
(NIEER)

NIEER Executive Director discusses Arkansas' early education programs, cited by former President Bill Clinton in remarks during the Democratic National Convention, and urges voters to press all candidates about how they plan to support early learning and development for all children.

 

Resources

The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama followed First Class Pre-Kindergarten graduates through the sixth grade and found that they outperformed their peers in reading and math at every grade level. The same study found that participation in Alabama's high-quality, voluntary pre-k program led to a significant and long-term reduction of the academic achievement gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers. Details from the PARCA study, as well as the broader body of research on pre-k, can be found in the Alabama School Readiness Alliance's Business Case for Pre-K brief. 

August 25 marks 100 years of the National Park Service, and their “Every Kid In a Park” program. The White House, in partnership with the Federal Land Management agencies, launched the Every Kid in a Park initiative to help engage and create our next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates. The immediate goal is to provide an opportunity for each and every 4th grade student across the country to experience their federal public lands and waters in person throughout the 2015-2016 school year. Beginning September 1st all kids in the fourth grade have access to their own Every Kid in a Park pass at www.everykidinapark.gov. This pass provides free access to national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and more!

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) new Health Impact in Five Years (HI-5) or “High-Five” initiative highlights a list of non-clinical, community-wide approaches with a proven track record. Each intervention listed is associated with improved health within five years and is reported to be cost-effective or cost-saving over the lifetime of the population or even earlier. Public and private organizations can use this list to quickly assess the scientific evidence for short-term health outcomes and overall cost impacts of community-wide approaches.

Each Web Forum in this series will provide stakeholders with the opportunity to learn about the full range of evidence-based, community-wide approaches that the CDC has identified, and hear real world examples highlighting how local and state-level organizations have implemented them to meet the needs of their communities.

NIEER is seeking submissions to a special issue of the Journal of Applied Research on Children (JARC) that is focused on Research and Progress in Early Education and Early Brain Development. JARC is published by CHILDREN AT RISK and the Texas Medical Center Library and edited by the CHILDREN AT RISK Institute. NIEER's Dr. Barnett and Friedman-Krauss will serve as guest editors for this issue. Topics could include new trends, developmentally appropriate practices, social and emotional wellbeing, engaging children and families, identifying Childhood Adversities (ACEs), language development, immigrant education, technology integration, and how our institutions and communities contribute to improved child outcomes. The CHILDREN AT RISK Institute is seeking articles that include data-oriented evidence on the most pressing early brain and education related issues and what programs and policies are needed to combat these issues.

The Journal of Applied Research on Children is available online in an open-access format (jarc.childrenatrisk.org). We encourage interested authors to submit an abstract or letter of interest to jarc@childrenatrisk.org by August 22, 2016. To view past issues of the journal or to submit a manuscript, please visit jarc.childrenatrisk.org. If you have questions, please contact afriedman-krauss@nieer.org.

 

Atlanta Public Schools expects to hire for the position of Director of Early Learning. The Director of Early Learning is responsible for overseeing the district’s early learning work, from birth to 3 years of age, including leading the ongoing implementation of the Pre-K Program and the Georgia P-3 Alignment Initiative; building coherence with community-based early learning programs and the district’s K-2 program; fostering collaboration with community providers; building support for sustainability; and helping to establish a consolidated early learning governance structure. Find out more here

New on nieer.org

Over the last 25 years, hundreds of studies have produced evidence of the impacts of early education on learning and development.  Many of these have found long-term impacts on outcomes that include: achievement test scores, rates of special education and repeating grades because of failure, completion of secondary school and post-secondary education.  Long-term effects have been found for social development including reductions in classroom behavior problems, delinquency, and crime.  These developmental results translate into very long improvements: increased employment and earnings, decreased dependence on public welfare, decreases in risky behaviors like teen pregnancy, smoking and drug use, and improved mental health.

These improvements in development and adult success have implications for public expenditures resulting in cost savings in education, social services, the criminal justice system, and health care.  Of course, it is not just the government cost savings that are important, but the improvements in the quality of life.

CEELO Update

CEELO graduated its second cohort of state-level early childhood leaders following their completion of the year-long CEELO Leadership Academy.  Fellows from Alabama, Arizona, Delaware Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Nevada gathered August 2 – 4 in Washington DC with Academy directors Lori Connors-Tadros and Jana Martella and individual coaches to share results of their job-embedded policy projects and resulting professional/personal growth; discuss leadership issues with national expert and author Maurice Sykes  from his recent publication Doing the Right Thing for Children: Eight Qualities of Leadership; meet with national leaders, including US Education Department’s Office of Early Learning Director Libby Doggett and Senior Policy Advisor Steven Hicks to address current trends and opportunities for states; and navigate the Potomac River in an armada of kayaks as lasting relationships were reinforced.

Fellows accepted into the 2016–17 CEELO Leadership Academy will be announced shortly.

State early education administrators and policy makers need comprehensive and valid information on the costs of alternatives fore expanding access and raising quality. 

The Cost of Preschool Quality Tool (CPQ), developed by CEELO, includes settings for “best practice” based on the 10 National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) quality benchmarks and federal Preschool Development Grant (PDG) requirements, but also allows for changes on these setting so that States can understand implications for cost of various alternate modes of delivery.

CEELO hosted a webinar earlier this month demonstrating the tool, which Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz recently employed in a successful presentation on the benefits of expanding pre-K in her state.

Calendar

Friday, September 23, 2016 - 7:30am to Saturday, September 24, 2016 - 4:30pm

The Georgia Association on Young Children (GAYC) Conference mission is to provide the most current evidencebased research, training and skill development for early childhood educators and others who work with children and families. To meet this mission, GAYC hosts an annual conference – two days of workshops, seminars, exhibits and organizational
meetings along with an awards ceremony. The GAYC Conference offers nearly 75 sessions that can count for BFTS licensing credit, PLUs and CEUs. GAYC’s Together for Children Conference brings together more than 1,200 early childhood professionals from around the state for professional development, learning, and networking.

 

Early Education News Roundup

Thursday, July 28, 2016
(The Chronicle for Social Change)

In terms of forward movement of policy, the party convention platform has little political value. It is not binding in any way on the candidate of the party and his or her administration.

But they are interesting historical markers, a testament to the political zeitgeist every four years. Youth Services Insider dug into a couple of decades worth of Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention platform statements to see what the parties had to say about juvenile justice, child welfare, and services for disadvantaged youth over the years.

Friday, July 29, 2016
(Time)

Just how popular is federal money for child care? Let’s put it this way: Ivanka Trump, daughter of the GOP candidate, made it a centerpiece of her introduction at the Republican National Convention, to plenty of applause. Even though her father hasn’t actually proposed anything of the sort.

A concrete child-care proposal comes from Hillary Clinton. It arrived late in the election cycle, and never quite drew the attention of college costs, maybe the Democratic primary’s flagship issue. Ironically, child care now costs more than college in more than half the states in the U.S.

The Clinton proposal is in three parts: free public pre-kindergarten for all kids, higher pay for child-care workers, and a promise that families will not have to pay more than 10% of their income for child care. That last part is really transformative. The cost of having one infant in a child-care center ranges from $4,822 in Mississippi to $17,062 in Massachusetts, according to Child Care Aware, a research organization. For a single mother in many states, it’s more than 40% of income. Remember: That’s for just one child.

Monday, August 1, 2016
(The Washington Post)

Early education across the United States is a mishmash of day care, Head Start and preschool programs with a wide range of quality and effectiveness. But a federally sponsored program in 20 states has been effective at giving those states a way to assess and quantify early-childhood education options and make that information available to parents, educators and legislators, according to a study the U.S. Education Department plans to release Monday.

The report looks at data from the 20 states that received more than $1 billion in federal aid to make quality education accessible to high-needs preschool children — those from low-income families or those in need of special assistance, including children with disabilities or developmental delays. The funding, the study says, has rapidly improved the quality of learning for the students while simultaneously enrolling a significant number of new students in top-tier programs.

Monday, August 1, 2016
(Education News)

Leaders in the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) have said that $3.5 million in pre-K funds that were unused would be routed into the Early Pre-K program, and the influx would bring the total investment in the year-old effort to over $10.5 million.

The pilot program started last summer and affords early childhood education possibilities to three-year-olds who are not eligible for the state’s Pre-K program.

Writing for the Las Cruces Sun-News, Damien Willis says the increased funding will allow nearly 1,000 youngsters in child-care centers in approximately one-half of New Mexico’s counties to access the early pre-K opportunity.

The National Institute for Early Education Research announced in May that New Mexico had risen ten spots in ranking for funding early childhood education. The improvement made the state 18th in the country in this area.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016
(Chalkbeat Colorado)

Colorado got a high-profile pat on the back Monday with a visit from U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, who lauded the state’s efforts to raise child care quality and improve early childhood systems. He whirled through Denver before heading to Delaware, where he’ll conclude a two-day tour meant to spotlight states that have launched successful early childhood initiatives using federal Race to the Top dollars. The signature Obama administration program awarded more than $1 billion to 20 states. In Colorado, the money helped create a new mandatory child care rating system called Colorado Shines. Launched in February 2015, the program gives parents a simple way to gauge child care quality and comparison shop. It also sets a high bar for providers seeking the top rating, a feat only 12 of the state’s 4,600 providers have accomplished so far.

King started the day with a stop at Mile High Early Learning, a Montessori-inspired preschool in Denver’s City Park West neighborhood, where he joined children in singing songs about sea creatures and eating pretend sushi. Next up was a roundtable discussion with more than two dozen of the state’s early childhood heavy hitters.
Leaders from state agencies, advocacy groups, child care centers and early childhood councils highlighted efforts to create the new rating system, improve data infrastructure and expand training opportunities for child care providers.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016
(The Huffington Post [Op-Ed])

Our children’s future is our future, and therefore a crucial element to consider when solving the challenges facing our nation. Studies show the human brain develops most rapidly between birth and age 5, yet almost all public investments in children happen after the age of 5. We cannot let our nation’s leaders forget this as they forge our future at the conventions. Our organizations - Save the Children, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) and Johnson & Johnson - joined forces to act as a catalyst to try to drive a policy consensus among influential Republicans and Democrats in Cleveland and Philadelphia, respectively. . .

When we talk about ensuring equal opportunity for all kids and investing in our shared future, liberals, moderates and conservatives agree we cannot wait any longer to accomplish meaningful change. We believe there are two bipartisan initiatives that should be injected into the debate at the conventions and serve to unite our nation behind our leaders from both sides of the aisle. First, we must increase access to high-quality early childhood education in the United States. High-quality early learning programs are the best investment our country can make. A study from Nobel Prize winning economist James Heckman shows that for every dollar invested in early education, there is a return of at least $7. Parents have the ultimate responsibility to raise their children, but high quality early learning programs can assist families so all children have an equal opportunity to succeed in school and in life.

Second, bipartisan support for children’s issues also extends beyond America’s borders. Republicans and Democrats understand that when we engage and lift up some of the most vulnerable populations abroad, we are not only acting morally but we are solidifying America’s reputation as a beacon of hope and creating allies in an increasingly dangerous world.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016
(The Atlantic)

Boston’s preschool program, called K1 locally, serves about 68 percent of the 4-year-olds likely to enroll in public kindergarten. And while it has been criticized by some for its slow growth, the program has won repeated recognition from experts in the field for its quality and has been validated by outside researchers for being student-centered, learning-focused, and developmentally appropriate. “If it’s not a quality program and it’s just a place for 4-year-olds to be all day, it’s not effective,” said Marie Enochty, a program director in the school district’s early-childhood education department, neatly summarizing the message heard at every turn here in Boston, from the classroom to the mayor’s office.

Providing high-quality public preschool is no small feat. Only a handful of city and state programs meet the quality standards established by the National Institute for Early Education Research, a think tank which publishes annual reports evaluating state preschool programs across the country. Boston’s program exceeds those standards. In fact, the school district here is so enamored of its preschool program that city school officials hope to soon bring the principles of high-quality early education to later grades. The key elements of quality are simple, says Jason Sachs, the director of the district’s early-childhood education department: A great curriculum and ongoing, effective staff support. “Who the teacher is and what the teacher is teaching? Huge,” Sachs said.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016
(US News & World Report)

This July, Republican and Democratic convention leaders selected Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as their nominees for president. Although each party platform and nominee talked up the promises of pre-K–20 education, no clear agenda was put forth. With less than 100 days to the election, I offer the nominees five pillars to preserving America's liberty to "L.E.A.R.N."

If we want to continue our legacy of liberty, then Americans should demand that candidates put forward ways to truly make education work for all of our nation's citizens.

Thursday, August 4, 2016
(Cabinet Report)

More than 500 additional 3-year-olds in New Mexico will have access to early prekindergarten programs after a $3.5 million increase in early education funding—doubling the number of children who can now enroll.

The extra funds announced last month by Gov. Susana Martinez brings the state’s investment in the Early Pre-K pilot program to $10.5 million over the past two years.

The pilot program, which began in 2015, will expand to 51 child-care centers in 16 counties, covering almost 1,000 children.

Thursday, August 4, 2016
(News Works)

By the city of Philadelphia’s count, more than 17,000 low- and middle-income kids don’t have access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-K. Money from the new soda tax is supposed to help close that gap. But just because there’s more demand than supply doesn’t mean parents will necessarily rush to fill the new seats.

That paradox is rooted in how parents choose pre-K for the kids.

When we think about school choice we often think about the K-12 sector. And in the K-12 space, quality heavily influences the choices parents make. Open up an awesome public school — or at least a school perceived as awesome — and parents will gladly flock to it. If their kids have to travel a little further to attend a better school, so be it. Indeed families often orient their entire lives — where they live, how they commute to work, etc. — around finding the best school for their children.

It’s a safe bet that if the city of Philadelphia opened scads of new high-quality schools, it would have very little trouble filling them.

Friday, August 5, 2016
(WYPR)

Universal pre-kindergarten. That’s the notion that preschool, especially the year just before kindergarten, should be free for everyone. It’s an idea with broad bipartisan support, and champions at the highest levels of government. Many cities and states already have begun to move towards universal pre-k. Advocates say good programs can help low-income kids catch up with their peers, and that making pre-k universal benefits everyone. But the question of whether pre-k makes a difference in the long run is sharply debated. What does the evidence suggest pre-K can do for children? Is making it universal the best way to help disadvantaged kids? The pros and cons of universal pre-k.

Monday, August 8, 2016
(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

When Ivanka Trump introduced her father at last month's Republican convention, she described a tough-talking deal-maker who also worries about family leave, equal pay for women and the cost of child care.

It's was one of the first times during Donald Trump's campaign for president those subjects had come up, which made it all the more notable Monday when the GOP nominee dropped a brief mention of child care into his speech about the nation's economic future.

"My plan will also reduce the cost of child care by allowing parents to fully deduct the average cost of child care spending from their taxes," Trump said.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016
(NIEER)

Over the last 25 years, hundreds of studies have produced evidence of the impacts of early education on learning and development. These developmental results translate into very long-term improvements: increased employment and earnings, decreased dependence on public welfare, decreases in risky behaviors like teen pregnancy, smoking and drug use, and improved mental health.

These improvements in development and adult success have implications for public expenditures resulting in cost savings in education, social services, the criminal justice system, and health care. Of course, it is not just the government cost savings that are important, but the improvements in the quality of life.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016
(MPRNews)

While 74 school districts and charter schools will participate in an initial round of state-funded preschool, more than 100 districts were turned down, Minnesota education officials announced Monday.

That gulf between demand and available funding prompted Gov. Mark Dayton to renew his call for more money for what has been one of his top priorities.

"The fact that more than half could not be funded to me is the impetus for why the program needs to be expanded in the next biennium," Dayton said at a news conference announcing which districts would share in the $25 million preschool appropriation.

Preschool run through public schools should especially benefit English language learners and special education students, said Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. "The school system is the only educational system we have that can provide the supports that preschool programs need to be high-quality," he said.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016
(The Hechinger Report)

Fifty-one years ago this summer, former President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the launch of Head Start in the White House Rose Garden.

“Five and six year old children are inheritors of poverty’s curse and not its creators,” Johnson told his audience as he explained that the federal government would be, for the first time, funding education and health services for children living in poverty in the form of a public preschool program. That first summer, according to a press release from the time, the program was to serve 530,000 children in 11,000 centers at a cost of $112 million, or $857 million in today’s dollars.

“This program this year means that 30 million man-years — the combined life span of these youngsters — will be spent productively and rewardingly, rather than wasted in tax-supported institutions or in welfare-supported lethargy,” Johnson promised.

But has that come to pass?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016
(cleveland.com)

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services plans to ban a funding mechanism that allows preschools to receive money from multiple public sources. It's a policy change that could save the state about $12 million annually.

But it has Cuyahoga County preschool providers – particularly those serving children in poverty — scrambling to figure out how to deal with an estimated $2 million reduction in funding, weeks before the school year is scheduled to begin.

The state views the funding mechanism as a double-dipping of sorts, and claims some preschool providers have been receiving "dual payments" from both state child care coffers and the federal government's Head Start program, according to an Aug. 1 memo from Job and Family Services Director Cynthia Dungey. The memo, which was sent to advisors for Gov. John Kasich, explains that the department will rectify the problem by enforcing a rule in the Ohio Administrative Code, "which ensures that if a state or federal program is providing payment for a specific child the publicly funded child care program will not pay for the same time period." 

Thursday, August 11, 2016
(The Missouri Times)

Gov. Jay Nixon awarded nearly $1 million to an early childhood education project in New Madrid on Wednesday, another event in a growing statewide conversation over early learning. He made another $1 million grant in Salisbury later in the day.

In addition to Nixon’s grants through Missouri Start Smart, this summer he signed a bill to allow Missouri to rate preschools and in the past he called for pre-kindergarten learning to be funded through the foundation formula.

These actions joined Tuesday’s certification of an initiative petition designed to raise money for early childhood education as advocates seek to raise what they see as Missouri’s lagging efforts.

Wednesday’s action joined $23.1 million in Missouri Start Smart grants that have been awarded for 24 projects across the state. That’s just a drop in the bucket compared to an estimated $300 million the Early Childhood Health and Education Amendment could provide.

Thursday, August 11, 2016
(The Huffington Post)

One of the most pressing issues with mass incarceration is the school-to-prison pipeline and the current education system. One of the most effective ways at reducing incarceration is ensuring that as many people as possible have access to quality education throughout their lives, beginning as early as possible.

Universal Pre-Kindergarten programs have a range of demonstrable benefits, from ensuring school readiness, to lessening the likelihood of special education needs, to longer term effects such as higher earning potential, and reduced risk of incarceration.

Pre-K programs ensure school readiness, higher levels of literacy and other skills, and works towards reducing the achievement gap. Universal Pre-K is equally as critical. While the earliest Pre-K programs targeted only low income and at-risk children and families - who receive the most benefit from these programs - Universal Pre-K has benefits for middle and upper class children as well. Integration in these programs also ensures that a broad range of demographics are brought together, reducing segregation based on wealth or race, and reducing prejudice.