Volume 15, Issue 7

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hot Topics

Last week EdSource reported on a brief from The Learning Policy Institute entitled The Building Blocks of High-Quality Early Childhood Education Programs and how important it is to California legislators as they consider funding for preschool in the coming year. The brief summarizes "the substantial body of research on programs demonstrating positive results" and focuses on ten key points for policymakers to consider. This is all the more crucial as new data released on March 28th from the American Institute for Research (presented in this brief) shows that 16% of eligible 4-year-olds and 35% of eligible 3-year-olds are not enrolled in preschool, meaning that over 150,000 children are missing out. An analysis of California's 2015-2016 early education budget can be found here.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

Parents looking for good early care and education face a formidable challenge.  In this blog we provide some helpful resources, but ultimately parents have to spend time learning about any program they are considering– asking questions, observing, and thinking about whether it is the right fit for your individual child.


The Migration Policy Institute released a report on the challenges in providing for early education for children in refugee families.


The Council of Chief State School Officers published a statement entitled Equity Starts Early: How Chiefs Will Build High-Quality Early Education.


A report from the Inspector General's Office at the Department of Health and Human Services showed violations in 96% of commercial daycare centers and in-home providers. MSNBC summarizes it succinctly here.


The Department of Health and Human Services has recently started an initiative called the Impact Project with the aim of helpings States and Territories "design projects, new or already under way, that are meaningful to them and that are based on their particular context and vision and goals for the development of a strong early childhood system." Ten States and Territories will be selected for this project, with programs expected to start in Summer 2016 and extend for the next four years. Applications are due by April 22nd.

The Buffet Institute issued a report on Tuesday that showed that more than two-thirds of Nebraskans say that "early care and education has a lot of impact on the long-term success of students in school and in life." It also finds that only six percent of Nebraskans believe that it's affordable.


The Baltimore Education Research Consortium released the results of a study showing that "by 4th grade, children assessed by teachers as socially and behaviorally 'not ready' for kindergarten" were 80% more likely to be retained in their grade and seven times more likely to be suspended or expelled.



The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) expects to hire one or more Research Professors (rank open) to help inform early childhood education policy through research and policy analysis. Fields of specialization are open. However, all applicants should have interest and knowledge in early care and education policy.  All candidates are expected to have strong analytical skills. To express interest, please send a letter and curriculum vitae to jobs@nieer.org and reference the research professor position. For more information check our webpage.
The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) also expects to hire be adding an experienced early childhood policy analyst to our team.  To express interest, please send a letter and curriculum vitae to jobs@nieer.org and reference the policy analyst position.


NIH Toolbox iPad Training Workshop

April 4, 2016 - 1:00pm to April 5, 2016 - 4:30pm
The NIH Toolbox iPad app Training Workshop is a 1.5 day, intensive workshop on how  to administer NIH Toolbox measures using the new NIH Toolbox app.
Sessions will teach the basic knowledge and skills to familiarize users with the administration of the NIH Toolbox app,  self- and proxy-report measures of emotional function, and the performance-based tests of cognitive, motor and sensory function.
Click here for more information and registration.


National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Training Course: Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011)

Friday, April 8, 2016 - 8:00am

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) will be conducting a 1-day training and information course providing researchers with information about the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011). Data from the ECLS-K:2011 allow researchers to examine the relationships between a wide range of family, school, classroom, and individual characteristics, and children’s development, learning, and school performance in kindergarten and across the elementary school years.

You must be registered for the AERA Annual Meeting in order to purchase tickets to attend this Professional Development Course. Registration information and policies are explained here.

For additional AERA registration assistance, please contact their Registration Support at email: aerameetings@expologic.com or phone: (800) 893-7950.

For more information about the 2016 AERA Annual Meeting, please visit: http://aera.net

If you have any questions about the ECLS-K:2011 study, please send an email to ecls@ed.gov or ecls@air.org


Nature at Play

April 16, 2016 - 8:00am

Germantown Academy, in partnership with DVAEYC and the Schuylkill Valley Nature Center, is excited to present "Nature at Play,” a conference for early childhood educators.  Early childhood research reveals the critical connection between time spent in nature and a child’s developing brain.  Join us as keynote speaker, Cheryl Charles from the Children & Nature Network, and local educators explore this important topic for young learners.  Participants can receive 3 hours of PQAS credit for attending this interactive workshop.  Click on this link to learn more about the event and to register. 

First Early Childhood Education Action Congress

June 6th-7th, 2016

You are invited to join the First Early Childhood Education Action Congress, hosted by the Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to be held in Paris on June 6-7th, 2016.  This event will bring together 450 leaders from many countries to discuss how to build the political and public support needed to ensure that all children of the world get a good start in life.

Participants will discuss how to attract new advocates for early childhood, what messages are most effective in building support, and what programs can be scaled up to reach large populations of children.  The meeting location is the OECD headquarters at the historic Chateau de la Muette.  

For more information and registration, visit www.eduensemble.org. 

Third Annual Conference of Early Childhood Social Impact Performance Advisors

June 22, 2016 - 8:30am to 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.


National Training Institute, Effective Practices for Addressing Challenging Behavior

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 - 8:00am to Thursday, April 21, 2016 - 5:00pm
This unique and inspiring educators’ conference has been designed by The Florida Center for Inclusive Communities along with the Pyramid Model Consortium to bring educational professionals a unique learning experience. The format of this event focuses on bringing teaching experts from around the world together to offer practical, ready to apply techniques on social and emotional development to be used to address challenging behavior in the classroom.
This event provides an unparalleled opportunity to increase your knowledge and skill base for dealing with behavior issues in your classroom as well as connecting with colleagues and build your connection with the professional educational community.
You can learn more about the conference here.

Fordham University and Los Niños; Young Child Expo and Conference

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - 8:00am to Friday, April 15, 2016 - 5:00pm
This New York event is designed to help teachers as well as parents of very young children and others who care for young children in any capacity. The speakers, sessions and vendors present at the Young Child Expo hope to provide these individuals with resources, products, and information to improve the growth, learning and development of the young children under their care. This is a unique event in that the sessions and events are not limited to one group of professionals, but rather individuals from all professions that interact with young children are welcomed to come and participate and learn.
The Young Child Expo and Conference began in 2003 as a development project out of Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education and the Los Ninos Services provided there. The goal was and is simple: provide useful information that can be used by professionals, parents, and other caregivers in order to help young children learn, grow and reach their full potential. This inclusive event aims to bring together individuals from all types of professions and occupations who have an interest and concern for the development of young children.
You can learn more information about the conference here.

ASCD – 70th Annual Conference

Saturday, April 2, 2016 - 8:00am to Monday, April 4, 2016 - 5:00pm
If you are an educational professional in any respect; teacher, principal, school administrator, this is the one event you do not want to miss in 2016. Professionals who want to hone their teaching or administrative skills will find hundreds of resources and educational sessions tailored just for you. This event is hosted by The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. This mega event boasts twenty-two pre-conference institutes along with over two hundred professional development sessions. Keynote speakers from around the country will convene to share their wisdom, experiences and tips with you. Attendees will return to their classrooms inspired and ready to implement the wonderful new skills they have learned.
You can learn more information about the conference here.


Global Summit on Childhood

Thursday, March 31, 2016 - 8:00am to Saturday, April 2, 2016 - 5:00pm
While childhood is being shaped during such a transformational time in a human’s life. This event brings together experts and professionals from around the world to explore and teach the role of childhood in ensuring a positive human future despite the rapid changes all around us. The Summit is a chance for professionals to connect and learn together as well as celebrate innovative research and practices that support a positive childhood for each child.
You can learn more information about the conference here.


Early Education News Roundup

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pennsylvania's protracted budget negotiations stalled the expansion of new pre-kindergarten seats across the state this year. On Tuesday, one high-quality center in Far Northeast Philadelphia finally celebrated its delayed opening. State funds earmarked for pre-K expansion were released in late December, but logistics delayed the highly rated provider SPIN from opening a new 80-seat school in Parkwood until this month. Providing free, quality pre-K to all families in need is a top priority of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. He proposes adding 16,000 new city seats by 2020 with some proceeds of a 3-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks. Even if that boost comes through, top pre-K providers say systemic concerns still will have to be addressed.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
(Arkansas Online)

JONESBORO -- An advocacy group for pre-kindergarten programs urged Arkansas legislators to better fund high-quality preschools to help eventually create a developed workforce and improved economy in the state. Preschool programs in the state need an infusion of $43 million, Rich Huddleston, executive director for the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, said at a news conference Tuesday in Jonesboro. He said the money was needed to compensate teachers and assistants and to provide better education opportunities for the 3-, 4- and 5-year-old children who attend the programs. About 45,000 Arkansas children attend pre-kindergarten classes yearly, he said. "We need more funding," Huddleston said. "Pre-K is facing some tough choices. Will they cut corners? Have less children? Close doors? The Legislature has to make pre-K a higher priority." Huddleston, along with school officials, civic leaders and business representatives, held the news conference in the Jonesboro School District's Pre-K Center to tout the Craighead County city's support of the center. "Jonesboro is a leading example of what we want to see ... in collaborations with the school, business and the community," he said.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Just paying for basic child care takes a big bite out of the family pocketbook. And it costs even more if you want a real educational experience for your child, not just babysitting. In many cases, it costs as much as college. While families may have a college savings fund to build as a child grows, nobody's really starting a preschool fund for each new baby. It's a cost that strains the budgets of affluent families and puts overwhelming pressure on parents with low income. Without help from federal, state and local agencies, preschool would eat up 1/4 to 1/3  of the income of the low income families who most need it to help their kids keep pace with affluent peers.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
(The Salt Lake Tribune)

The state budget approved by Utah lawmakers earlier this month includes an extra $2 million for UPSTART, an online preschool program children complete at home. That funding opens the program up to 7,800 students, or 20 percent of the state's 4-year-old population, Utah-based Waterford Institute announced on Monday. Families interested in enrolling can register at www.utahupstart.org.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
(U.S. News & World Report)

As we've been witnessing during this current election cycle, American voters are frustrated with elected officials and candidates for public office. Voters across the country don't believe candidates are addressing their priorities – and candidates would be wise to listen to these frustrations and acknowledge them. Education is an issue that serves as a linchpin for many of the other issue concerns of voters, such as job security, economic opportunity, wage stagnation and economic mobility. Helping families and communities provide children with high-quality early education from birth to age five has emerged as a family issue which the vast majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents can agree upon and urge action. The overwhelming public support behind this issue is becoming impossible for Washington politics to ignore much longer. Despite the slow-moving nature of the current political environment, lawmakers are recognizing the strong popular backing behind early childhood education and seeing it as a mandate to increase early learning access across the country.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

About 170,000 California children who are eligible for publicly funded preschool are not enrolled because there are not enough spots for them, a new report says. The report by the American Institutes for Research found that 33,209 4-year-olds eligible for California State Preschool programs were not enrolled and that 136,588 eligible 3-year-olds were not enrolled. Between 2008 and 2013, the report said, California cut early education funding by $984 million and eliminated 110,000 childcare and preschool slots. Early education advocates said the report’s findings showed the state’s spending in early education remains far behind what it needs to be, despite restoring 23,827 preschool slots in the last two years. There are currently 168,101 children in California State Preschool programs. “We are missing an opportunity to reduce achievement gaps when they are best addressed, before children start kindergarten,” Deborah Kong, president of Early Edge California, said in a statement, referring to persistent disparities in academic performance between lower-income, black and Latino students and higher-income, white and Asian students. Early Edge, an early education advocacy organization, commissioned the report. A growing body of research has found that early learning programs – if they include certain qualities such as appropriate teacher qualifications, family engagement activities and small class sizes – help prepare children for school academically, socially and emotionally, and improve their economic prospects. Studies have found that to be especially true for lower-income students, those learning English and others considered disadvantaged. The report, released Monday, found the greatest number of non-enrolled eligible children were in larger population centers: Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties. In those five counties, 115,824 3- and 4-year-olds were not enrolled in preschool or transitional kindergarten.

Friday, March 25, 2016
(Yahoo News)

When former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his foundation was awarding $5 million to launch Providence's high-tech idea to improve the vocabularies of the city's youngest children, he said he hoped the pilot could take root in Rhode Island and spread across the nation. Three years later, more than 500 families have participated in Providence Talks, which uses wearable audio recorders to count every word spoken by toddlers and their parents in low-income households. Most child development experts agree on one thing: Poor preschool children hear far fewer words than wealthy children. That can lead them to fall behind in building early literacy skills, and, when they grow older, to do poorly in school.

Thursday, March 24, 2016
(The Dallas Morning News)

Tennessee is doubling down on pre-K after a recent study found little lasting impact on children, leading to many questions about the quality of the state’s programs. Researchers from Vanderbilt University followed students in Tennessee’s statewide prekindergarten program — which was amped up in 2005 — and found that children who attended had only an initial bump in academic achievement before a “fade out” effect that showed they did worse than peers by third grade. Critics of pre-K across the nation have pointed to the study as evidence that spending taxpayer money on early education doesn’t have the big payoff many have long insisted it does and should be limited, if done at all. This was counter to numerous other studies that have found pre-K can help close achievement gaps and put students on track toward graduating and being successful in college. Supporters of pre-K were quick to criticize the findings, including the Nobel Prize-winning economist who has done one of the most-often quoted studies on the return of investment in early childhood education. So what does this mean for Texas? To be sure, policymakers and pre-K supporters/critics here — and nationwide — will be following Tennessee to see how/if addressing quality improves outcomes. That can significantly affect how future dollars are spent.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
(Montgomery Advertiser)

Pre-kindergarten advocates have pushed for a $20 million increase for the voluntary program, which they say would extend the program to 3,800 4-year-olds. Gov. Robert Bentley included the $20 million increase in his budget proposal in February. The House-passed version of the Education Trust Fund budget gives the program a $14 million increase, which would bring it to about 2,700 4-year-olds, about 25 percent of those who qualify. The budget is still pending in the Senate. Allison Muhlendorf, executive director of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance, said they were “optimistic” they might see the full funding in the budget. But she said either would be a significant boost for the program.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
(The Boston Globe)

An advisory committee on universal preschool established by Mayor Martin J. Walsh recommended that the city take the lead in creating and funding a public-private network of preschools of consistently high quality — but 15 months later he has yet to initiate such a partnership. Walsh, who received the recommendations at the end of 2014, kept the report under wraps, claiming it was exempt from public disclosure law. A summary of the committee’s findings was provided last week, after the Globe successfully appealed to the state Supervisor of Public Records.

In the meantime, the mayor beseeched Governor Charlie Baker in his second State of the City address to invest dramatically in preschool, a request so far rebuffed. And two weeks ago, the city scaled back its own additional funding for preschool — one of several budget adjustments made to stave off program cuts fiercely opposed by older students.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
(Education Dive)

It's not just states and local-level decision-makers planning how to better invest in early childhood education. In his proposed FY 2016-2017 budget, President Barack Obama suggested a $434 million increase for Head Start, whuch would bring total funding to around $9.6 million. President Obama's budget also contains small increases to U.S. Department of Education special education programs aimed at infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

The new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) mandates that pre-existing Preschool Development Grants, which are designed to “support coordination and alignment of states’ early learning systems” and “expand access to preschool,” will become permanent by law. The law also requires states to align their academic standards with relevant early learning guidelines, and lets districts use Title I funds for low-income children in early education programs if they meet Head Start performance standards.

Monday, March 21, 2016
(The Boston Globe)

LaRussa and more than 15 other students from Boston-area colleges gathered in front of the Boston Public Library Saturday morning to start conversations with passersby about a state bill to expand preschool programs. “There are proven differences in the educational outcomes of students who have pre-k as opposed to students who don’t, especially in districts that are underfunded and that have a disproportionate amount of minority populations,” said LaRussa. “Pre-k education is something that college students can have a voice on,” said 23-year-old Jon Hebert, a membership and policy coordinator at the national level for Students for Education Reform. “They’re just out of the system themselves.”

Bill H.462, sponsored by state Representative Alice Hanlon Peisch and Bill S.267 by state Senator Sal N. DiDomenico, would develop a grant program for high-quality pre-kindergarten education programs, prioritizing school districts with the highest need. Children from low-income families who attend preschool are 30 percent more likely to graduate high school, according to the pamphlets handed out by students, but the waiting list to get into state-funded preschool care in Massachusetts is over 5,000 people long, said Hebert.