Volume 15, Issue 17

Friday, August 26, 2016

Hot Topics

As children across the country return to classrooms for another academic year, focus has turned to those teaching our youngest students--specifically how their wages and working conditions fail to reflect the crucial role they fulfill. Recent articles explore the impact low wages can have on teaching quality, efforts to bring parity to preschool educators and what this debate reveals about attitudes toward early education.

NIEER Research Project Coordinator Richard Kasmin illustrates in his presentation "Public Pre-K Financial Landscape" how the lack of local investment in early education reflects the mindset that preschool is more a social entitlement than an educational program, and fails to provide preschool the same resources as K-12 classrooms. 

In “What do preschool teachers need to do a better job?,” the fourth story in a series about public preschool, Lillian Mongeau addresses the factors that hinder the success of preschools nationally, including majority of the country’s preschool teachers and child care workers being under-educated and under-paid.

Hari Sreenivasan of PBS interviews various child care program directors and teachers for its education series "Making the Grade." In “Why are early childhood educators struggling to make ends meet?,” they explore why pre-K teachers and early child care workers all over the country are struggling to make ends meet with minimum wage or just above, with 46 percent of child care workers relying on some type of federal income support according to the Workforce Index.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

As we celebrate Team USA’s success setting world records and earning medals at the 2016 summer Olympics, we cannot escape the fact America has fallen off a world class pace in education.


This webinar produced by the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands presents findings from a study that explores the collection and use of data in several New England preschool programs. The analysis focuses on three domains: early learning outcomes (math, reading, and social-emotional); classroom quality measures; and dosage. 

The Oklahoma School Readiness Reach-by-Risk Report 2015 is intended to provide policy makers and other early childhood education stakeholders with the most current data available on multiple school readiness risk factors across multiple domains, and the reach of services provided in each of the state's 77 counties. The Risk section consists of an analysis of nine socioeconomic and demographic indicators found by empirical research to increase a county's risk for poor school preparedness. The Reach section assesses the county-level service density of six early childhood programs and services designed to contribute to the cognitive and social-emotional development of young children. 

This research brief by Rutgers University Graduate School of Education doctoral students provides a look at the “Fairness Formula,” New Jersey Governor Christie’s school funding plan. The report asserts:

The “Fairness Formula” will greatly reward the most-affluent districts, which are already paying the lowest school tax rates as measured by percentage of income.

The “Fairness Formula” will force the least-affluent districts to slash their school budgets, severely increase local property taxes, or both.

The premise of the “Fairness Formula” – that the schools enrolling New Jersey’s at-risk students have “failed” during the period of substantial school reform – is contradicted by a large body of evidence.

Applications for New Awards; Preschool Development Grants-Preschool Pay for Success Feasibility Pilot
The purpose of this Preschool Pay For Success (PFS) Feasibility Pilot is to encourage State and local PFS activity for preschool programs by providing grants for Feasibility Studies. The Feasibility Studies will determine if PFS is a viable and appropriate strategy to implement preschool programs that are high-quality and yield meaningful results. For more information and to apply, click here

Participate in a Thesis Study?
Angelica Addison of Mills College is currently recruiting African American fathers who are 18 years or older and have a young child aged between 0 and 5 years for a thesis study. Recruiting will go on for two months, from August to the end of September. If interested please fill out the survey.

Share Your Ideas
NIEER will be revamping the newsletter as we upgrade our website over the next few months--and we'd like your advice! This is your opportunity to tell us what you find useful, what you don't need and what we should add. Please share your ideas with Michelle Ruess, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications

NIEER Activities

First-year findings in a long-term National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and Marshall University study of young students and early education classrooms in West Virginia reveal performance advantages among children attending Pre-K and provide useful information on classroom quality.

“We recognize that our state’s future depends on early investment in our youngest citizens,” said State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano. “We must ensure that every child has access to high-quality preschool to build the foundation for success.”

CEELO Update

An in-person peer exchange on August 9-10, 2016 in Boston attracted state education teams from Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Tennessee. Participants, in discussion with CEELO and NIEER experts, discussed:

1.Determining adequacy of funding, including “true” costs of preschool quality and how states allocate funds.
2.Best practices and approaches to ensuring funds are used efficiently, including blending and braiding funds to serve all children.
3. How to develop a strategic financing plan that results in equitable access to high quality preschool programs.
4. Building stronger relationships and sharing among states to support continuous improvement of state-funded prekindergarten programs.

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education interviewed Jana Martella, Co-Director of the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) at the Education Development Center. She has worked on multiple initiatives designed to advance high quality in early education, and is focused on education system and program improvement through standards-based reform. She has dedicated over 30 years to education and has served as a state legislative liaison, coordinator for federal programs, school administrator, and teacher.

"I am an unapologetic school person," she said. "I’ve been in public education for more than 30 years, and I am totally committed to improving the way states do business as well." 


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

Friday, August 26, 2016
(Voice of San Diego)

Next year, San Diego Unified will offer preschool to all families. All families who can afford it, that is. Earlier this week, Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined Superintendent Cindy Marten to announce a “game changing” initiative to that would expand access to preschool. Faulconer and the city didn’t actually help fund the preschool initiative, called Pre-K for All. 

District officials have long touted the quality of its preschool programs, but until now those seats were limited to families who meet strict income eligibility standards – which only covers the very poorest San Diegans. It’s ridiculously hard to qualify – and stay qualified – for free preschool. A family of four, where mom and dad work full-time but earn minimum wage, could actually make too much money to attend free preschool.

So this year the district will try something different. It will open up a certain number of spots to parents who make above the income cap but are willing to pay for a district-run preschool.

Costs range from $530 a month for a half-day program to $1,060 a month for full-day spots. Anyone who makes above the income cap will pay a flat fee for preschool, and pay extra if they can’t pick up their kids until 6 p.m. The annual registration fee is $150.

District officials say that’s cheaper than what parents would pay for private preschools in many San Diego neighborhoods. According to data from the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, the average cost of preschool in San Diego County was $9,952 a year, or about $830 a month, in 2014.

Friday, August 26, 2016
(The Atlantic)

This is one of the wealthiest states in the union. But thousands of children here attend schools that are among the worst in the country. While students in higher-income towns such as Greenwich and Darien have easy access to guidance counselors, school psychologists, personal laptops, and up-to-date textbooks, those in high-poverty areas like Bridgeport and New Britain don’t. Such districts tend to have more students in need of extra help, and yet they have fewer guidance counselors, tutors, and psychologists, lower-paid teachers, more dilapidated facilities and bigger class sizes than wealthier districts, according to an ongoing lawsuit. Greenwich spends $6,000 more per pupil per year than Bridgeport does, according to the State Department of Education.

The discrepancies occur largely because public school districts in Connecticut, and in much of America, are run by local cities and towns and are funded by local property taxes. High-poverty areas like Bridgeport and New Britain have lower home values and collect less taxes, and so can’t raise as much money as a place like Darien or Greenwich, where homes are worth millions of dollars. Plaintiffs in a decade-old lawsuit in Connecticut, which heard closing arguments earlier this month, argue that the state should be required to ameliorate these discrepancies. Filed by a coalition of parents, students, teachers, unions, and other residents in 2005, the lawsuit, Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. Rell, will decide whether inequality in school funding violates the state’s constitution.

Friday, August 26, 2016

In the landscape of Indiana education politics, it’s rare to find a topic people on opposite political and ideological sides agree on. But over the last few years, one such topic has come forward: affordable pre-k.

Most of the people working toward this goal agree the state should offer funding to make that possible. But opinions diverge there, over how much funding and who should qualify.

Some believe every child in the state should attend pre-k on the state’s dime, others think we should focus on low-income families.

And this discussion is in the public spotlight now, with the upcoming election and the 2017 General Assembly determining a new two year budget.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A new study by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and Marshall University finds that kids who go to preschool are ahead of those who have no pre-K experience in every measure.

Since legislation was passed in 2002 to make preschool available to all families through the universal pre-K program, more children are now getting an early start to success.

Paula Volansky has worked as a teacher for 17 years and said preschool is promising."It has been really beneficial. They are seeing that it is an important part of getting into kindergarten. They need to know certain things, so it helps everyone. They are really promoting it here and I do believe that it is very, very important. You can see the difference in kids who haven't has preschool," said Paula Volansky, teacher at Pleasant Day Schools.

Thursday, August 25, 2016
(Seeker/Education Week)

More than 109,000 U.S. students received some form of corporal punishment in 2013-14, including paddling and swatting, reports Education Week. After analyzing the most recent federal civil rights data, they found that more than 4,000 schools in 21 states across the country are still using corporal punishment as a form of discipline.

Nineteen states still allow corporal punishment in public schools -- although parental permission is often required -- including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. The recent federal civil rights data shows that corporal punishment is still used in some states where it's currently banned.

The data also shows that black students disproportionately receive physical discipline as opposed to white students. Black students make up 22% of enrollment in schools using corporal punishment, and make up 38% of the population that receives this form of punishment. White students make up 60% of the population in schools using corporal punishment and only 50% of those that receive it.

Thursday, August 25, 2016
(The Star Ledger/nj.com)

There are very few unchallenged successes in New Jersey's long effort to improve school performance, but preschool is one of them.

Calling our state-funded preschools "baby-sitting" programs, as Gov. Christie has done, is just plain ignorant. The fact is, New Jersey is among the top states in national rankings of preschool quality, and research shows the results are lasting.

By the time they reached fourth or fifth grade, kids who attended pre-K in our poorest cities were, on average, three-quarters of an academic year ahead of their peers who didn't, according to a promising 2013 study.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
(The Washington Post)

The first children of Head Start are old enough now to have children of their own. They’ve moved through high school — if they were able to get that far — and some much farther than that. They’ve entered the workforce and formed their own families.

That means it’s increasingly possible to track the long-term effects of a federal program, created in the mid-1960s, that sought to give 3- and 4-year-olds from struggling families an early lift out of poverty.

A new analysis from the Hamilton Project suggests that their lives today are measurably better in some important ways than those of poor children who never enrolled in the program. Their chances of finishing high school, attending college and earning postsecondary degrees or certificates were higher.

As adults, blacks in particular rated better on indicators of noncognitive skills such as planning and problem-solving. And as parents, the children of Head Start appear to invest more in their own children, suggesting that years after the government’s initial investment, the program could indirectly touch a second generation.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
(The Washington Post)

Soon many of our nation’s young children will be starting school for the first time. What they will likely find is something dramatically different from what their parents experienced at their age. Kindergartens and pre-K classrooms have changed. There is less play, less art and music, less child choice, more teacher-led instruction, worksheets, and testing than a generation ago. Studies tell us that these changes, although pervasive, are most evident in schools serving high percentages of low-income children of color.

The pressure to teach academic skills in pre-K and kindergarten has been increasing since the passage of the No Child Left Behind act 15 years ago. Today, many young children are required to sit in chairs, sometimes for long periods of time, as a teacher instructs them. This goes against their natural impulse to learn actively through play where they are fully engaged–body, mind, and spirit.

Play is an engine driving children to build ideas, learn skills and develop capacities they need in life. Kids all over the world play and no one has to teach them how. In play children develop problem solving skills, social and emotional awareness, self-regulation, imagination and inner resilience. When kids play with blocks, for example, they build concepts in math and science that provide a solid foundation for later academic learning. No two children play alike; they develop at different rates and their different cultures and life experiences shape their play. But all children learn through play.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
(NBC Washington)

Five members of the Prince George's County school board are calling for the board's chair and vice-chair to resign. The fallout comes after the county lost a $6.5 million federal grant for its Head Start program following a federal investigation into allegations of student abuse.

The county's public schools system and board of education were told that the grant was terminated due to failure to "timely correct one or more deficiencies," a spokesperson said last week.

The program was apparently under a federal investigation for months after a review by the Administration for Children and Families allegedly revealed poor instructor training and alleged abuse of students.

In a letter to County Executive Rushern Baker III dated Monday, five school board members expressed their lack of confidence in the leadership of Board Chair Segun Eubanks and Vice Chair Carolyn Boston. They criticized the handling of an incident involving the alleged abuse of 3- to 5-year-old children, saying the board was not informed of the allegations until an emergency conference call held Aug. 17.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
(NJTV News)

At La Casa de Don Pedro in Newark, staff are preparing for the new school year where they expect over 600 kids to enroll in their head start and preschool programs. Executive Director Ray Ocasio knows about Gov. Chris Christie’s so-called Fairness Formula and, like almost every urban-based preschool provider, he doesn’t think much of it.

But the governor says he’s dead serious about turning the state’s school funding formula on its head and that includes no special protections for the Abbott-decision mandated full-day preschool, which has created early childhood education opportunities for thousands of kids across the state, especially in poorer, urban districts like Newark. Ocasio says his programs have already suffered from flat funding from the state for almost six years.

Gloria Jerez runs one of La Casa’s three early childhood centers. She says a cut from the state would be catastrophic to her program. She says without full-day preschool, hundreds of Newark kids would fall even further behind. She says her program will not be able to accommodate the same number of students as it does currently.

But Christie — who has said all along that he considers preschool little more than a babysitting service — says Abbott districts need to sink or swim without what he says is a funding imbalance created by the Supreme Court’s Abbott decision. But advocates point to studies that say kids who have access to preschool do better socially, academically and even physically than kids who don’t.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
(The Atlantic)

Any child in England who has turned 3 by Sept. 1 is guaranteed 15 hours a week of free childcare or preschool for 38 weeks a year, or 570 hours total, paid for by the national government.

“We don’t think of it as socialism at all,” said the Oxford University professor Edward Melhuish, who studies child development and was instrumental in conducting the research that largely led to England’s current policies. “We think of it as common sense.”

Apparently, so do most parents—94 percent of whom take the government up on its offer of free education starting at age 3, according to government data. At age 4, 99 percent of children have started “reception,” the English version of kindergarten. Most 4-year-olds attend reception at their local primary school, but parents can choose to send their 3-year-old to a private center, a publicly funded nursery, a state-funded primary school, or a home-based daycare provider. Parents can also spread their 570 hours out over all 52 weeks of the year at centers with year-round enrollment options. Parents who need more coverage pay the difference between tuition and the amount covered by the government.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
(Studer Community Institute)

During the first few years of life, a child learns so much about themselves and the world around them, and parents are their first teachers. Parents, at their best, teach their children how to speak, how to walk, how to feed themselves. They teach them the alphabet, shapes and colors, and in some instances how to count and spell very simple words.

But for healthy development, children need active stimulation and interaction with others. This is where early childhood education is the most beneficial. In trying to identify what quality early learning should look like, it’s not always easy to find a model for success.

But New York City has moved to the forefront in offering some useful examples and good ideas for others to consider and emulate. In the last two years the Big Apple has made tremendous strides in accommodating all of the city’s public school 4-year-olds in high-quality preschool classrooms.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
(West Virginia Department of Education )

First-year findings in a long-term National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and Marshall University study of young students and early education classrooms in West Virginia reveal performance advantages among children attending Pre-K and provide useful information on classroom quality.

Results include:

Children who attended Pre-K outperformed those who had no Pre-K experience in every measure
Benefits of Pre-K were most profound in print knowledge
Classroom quality averages all exceed minimal quality, and several demonstrate higher quality
On average, classrooms demonstrated high quality in fostering a nurturing and safe environment
The initial West Virginia Universal Pre-K Evaluation showed, on average, children with Pre-K experience outperformed those without Pre-K in every measure. Benefits were “large and statistically significant,” with the widest margin in print knowledge.

“We recognize that our state’s future depends on early investment in our youngest citizens,” said State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano. “We must ensure that every child has access to high-quality preschool to build the foundation for success.”

Monday, August 22, 2016

By not protecting preschool funding, Christie would allow the money currently spent for three- and four-year olds in districts like Irvington and Camden to be  sent to districts such as Montclair and Cherry Hill to lower property taxes. 

While that may please homeowners in highly taxed communities and critics of public preschool, it would come at the expense of one of New Jersey's most effective school reforms, said Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers.

"The benefits of high quality pre-K are an order of magnitude larger than the cost," said Barnett, a professor and an economist. "Taking it away from the kids who need it most is not the solution to the problem."

Monday, August 22, 2016
(Allentown Morning Call )

,,, as Pennsylvania grapples with a heroin epidemic fueled by cheap access to the drug and the overprescription of painkillers that act as a gateway. But seldom do families speak publicly about addiction and its impact on children, given the stigma and shame that surrounds it.

Instead, the story of drug abuse's reach is often kept to hospital intensive care units, where babies born dependent on opiates cry inconsolably as their first weeks of life are spent in withdrawal. Or in the halls of social work, where caseworkers struggle to keep families together while ensuring that mom or dad's drug problem doesn't bring their children harm....

The children are enrolled in SafeStart, a Head Start program in east Allentown that serves 64 at-risk children, the majority of whom were born to mothers who abused drugs or alcohol while pregnant.

Since the children are often sensitive to light and sound, the center is decorated in muted colors and lights are kept low.
Therapists are on hand, and in each classroom there is a one-way mirror. This is used by caseworkers and others who must observe the children and report their findings to a judge.


Friday, August 19, 2016
(WCPO Cincinnatti)

 As Cincinnati Public Schools tries to dramatically expand preschool, Ohio is rolling out a policy change that could mean less funding for full-day care for low-income families around the state.

Barring a last-minute reversal, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services will forbid agencies from layering state subsidies for daycare on top of federal Head Start funding on Sept. 3.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Most kindergarten programs were, until recently, more social and less academic from what I witnessed last school year as a literacy tutor for full-day kindergarteners in St. Paul. One person’s reaction to my position says a lot: “Literacy tutoring? How much literacy tutoring can you do in kindergarten?!”

Thursday, August 18, 2016
(NJ Spotlight)

As we celebrate Team USA’s success setting world records and earning medals at the 2016 summer Olympics, we cannot escape the fact America has fallen off a world-class pace in education.

The United States used to be a world leader in college graduation. As recently as 1995 we were number one, but we have made relatively little progress since then while the rest of the world has picked up its pace. By 2014, we were 19th out of 28 developed countries — clearly not a medal contender.

At the other end of the education spectrum — preschool — which is my specialty, the United States has made little to no progress in the past decade and seems to be going nowhere fast while other countries have moved far ahead.

Thursday, August 18, 2016
(The Columbus Dispatch)

A state plan to change how Ohio pays for child care and early learning has some concerned that services will be diminished for thousands of poor children.

The policy change would save $12 million a year, money state officials say will be reinvested in Ohio’s child-care system. But critics say it also will cost tens of millions more in federal matching dollars.

The state argues that the current system allows some child-care providers to be paid twice — once from the state and again through the federally funded Head Start preschool program. But Head Start officials say the children are receiving additional services.

Thursday, August 18, 2016
(The Washington Post)

Federal officials have terminated a $6.4 million grant that funds the Head Start program in Prince George’s County, Md., after a review found that teachers used corporal punishment and humiliated children in the early-education program for children from ­low-income families.

Authorities noted that county school officials did not appropriately address problems discovered within the program, including when staff forced a 3-year-old in wet clothing to mop up his own urine in front of the class — as a teacher texted a photo to the child’s parent. They also found that Head Start staff made two children who played during nap time hold heavy objects over their heads for an extended period. In another case, a 5-year-old left a school unnoticed and walked home alone.

The findings came as part of a notification to school officials that the county’s Head Start grant would be terminated because of a failure to “timely correct one or more deficiencies” for which it had been put on notice. The decision means that the Prince George’s school system, which serves a large number of minority children living in poverty, is no longer eligible to apply for federal funding for the program that serves preschoolers and includes health, nutrition and parent-involvement services.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016
(Louisville Courier-Journal)

As children go back to school, it’s important to remember that school readiness includes not only cognitive and academic skills, but also learning style, physical well-being and social and emotional skills. The responsibility for school readiness resides not only with the child, but also with families, schools and communities.

Recent research on brain development points to the importance of early relationships and experiences in building the neural connections that constitute learning. These experiences, if positive and supportive, help build confidence and resilience in young children. Negative experiences and environments serve as toxic stressors; these adverse childhood experiences are risk factors for long-term physical and mental health problems.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016
(The Dallas Morning News)

With grants barely a month old, some conservative lawmakers are already questioning whether the state will get its money worth from the $116 million Texas is investing to ramp up pre-K efforts.

The Senate Education Committee listened to an update on the prekindergarten grants aimed at boosting early childhood education in the state, one of Gov. Greg Abbott's emergency items during the last legislative session.

"We knew that we could do better with pre-K. Everyone knew that," said Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, who sponsored the legislation. Campbell cautioned her colleagues to be patient as the grants start to roll out but said the state needs to make sure it's spending money wisely. That's why stepped up reporting on pre-K progress will be required.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Zoe Hanson, the young mother of a year old infant, was feeling down: She and her husband Scott had just moved to Pacifica near San Francisco, to an apartment in a “crumbly house,” a tract home, that, nevertheless, at $3,000 a month, was untenably expensive. She didn’t have a job and didn’t know where to put her child while she looked for work.

Hanson and other middle class and rural parents are on the receiving end of an emerging type of unequal system that could be called daycare inequality.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A coalition of business, government, education and philanthropic leaders say they are determined to push state lawmakers to expand state-funded preschool in the upcoming legislative session. “All IN 4 Pre-K” is a new advocacy group that includes Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, outgoing Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Early Learning Indiana. Lechleiter says the state's pre-k pilot program is not enough to meet demand. He says only 2,300 families of low-income three- and four- year olds in five counties received scholarships in the past two years. “We believe that families and their children in all of Indiana’s 92 counties should have access to high quality, early learning environments,” he says. The group members say they will directly lobby lawmakers to pass new laws in 2017.

Monday, August 15, 2016
(The Columbus Dispatch)

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have released ambitious plans aimed at cutting the costs of child care in America, signaling that in this election, one of the most hotly contested groups might be those pushing strollers.

Friday, August 12, 2016
(Business Wire)

The Center for Early Learning at Silicon Valley Community Foundation announced today that it will receive a $1.5 million grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, a national project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation.

The grant will support an ambitious three-year effort to make early learning for California’s youngest children a state budget and policy priority. Specifically, the Center will partner with legislators, scholars and community leaders to promote research, public opinion data and key messages that make the case for increased investments in high-quality early learning programs.

California currently ranks 28 out of 42 states in access to preschool programs for 4-year-olds, according to a 2015 report from the National Institute for Early Education Research. The report also found that California’s early .education quality standards are among the nation’s worst. These facts are unsurprising given that nearly $1 billion in funding has been cut from the state’s budget for preschool programs since 2008. Recently, through the advocacy of SVCF and other statewide leaders, the state has committed to reinvest $500 million into early learning programs over the next four years

Friday, August 12, 2016
(US News & World Report)

The real problem is not that child care costs too much, but that we as a society have failed to acknowledge that caring for children is demanding, labor-intensive and therefore costly.

State child care subsidies, designed to help low-income working families afford care, typically pay providers far less than the typical costs of care, let alone the costs of quality programs. The typical state-funded preschool program spends just $4,489 per child, less than half the per-pupil spending in K-12 public schools, even though many state pre-K programs offer a full-school day (or longer) program and employ teachers with bachelor's degrees. Head Start, the federal program for children in poverty, provides more funding than the typical state pre-K program, but less than K-12 schools, while also requiring extensive additional health, family engagement and comprehensive supports that K-12 schools don't offer.

The hard reality is that giving all our children quality care that supports their development and prepares them to succeed in school requires someone – whether parents, government, or someone else – to spend much more on young children than we currently do.

Friday, August 12, 2016
(The Oklahoman)

Early childhood education is essential for success later in life, and every state needs solid resources to reinforce the benefits of schooling. 

Oklahoma has seen the results of making early childhood education a priority. Children are excelling at rapid rates in their earliest stages, and are more prepared for the rigors of each level of schooling. It's a statistic we're proud of, and is the result of collective work across all levels of government, as well as the diligent efforts of private organizations.

People are quick to see the negative in Congress every day, and hardly realize there is bipartisanship in our work. Rest assured, Congress takes education very seriously. One of the most bipartisan issues quite frankly is education — especially education at the earliest stages. We passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, in a bipartisan manner, to improve and maintain education standards, including early education. There's never a disagreement or misunderstanding that our nation's underserved children need all the resources they can get, and that they should have access to a quality and effective education. That's an issue I think everyone can agree on.