Volume 15, Issue 9

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hot Topics

Alabama governor Robert Bentley recently announced the creation of the Alabama Children's Cabinet in order to help streamline various children's services. “Whether it is education, health care, nutrition programs, or other needs, children need someone to advocate for what is best for them. We have put together a great group of individuals, already working hard on children’s issues, that has the knowledge and experience necessary to improve the lives of the children of Alabama. The Children’s Cabinet will be an important group dedicated to Alabama’s children,” he said in a press release. The cabinet includes representatives from the State Department of Education, Alabama Department of Human Resources, and Alabama Department of Public Health, among others.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

Last week we reviewed Kaufman, Kaufman, and Nelson’s book Learning Together: The Law, Politics, Economics, Pedagogy, and Neuroscience of Early Childhood Education. The book weaves together research and arguments from various disciplines to present a solid case for investing in high quality early childhood education programs.

Resources

On April 1, five free Sesame digital storybooks became available at sesamestreet.org/words and are also being promoted on pncgrowupgreat.com. The storybooks are bilingual, contain three different reading levels to choose from, and provide children with over 30 new vocabulary words. To support this new initiative, as part of Grow Up Great, PNC branches have been supplied with with "Reading Adventures" Passports that families can take home to access the storybooks. Children can check-off each story they read using the stickers included in the passports.

The National Conference of State Legislatures posted a new legislative tracker for pending bills related to pre-K through 3rd grade education. It is available for download here.

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 be adding an experienced early childhood policy analyst to our team. Compensation will be commensurate with ability and experience. To express interest, please send a letter and curriculum vitae to jobs@nieer.org and reference the policy analyst position.
 
 
Martha Montag Brown & Associates, LLC is pleased to announce a search for a new Program Officer – Early Education with the Heising-Simons Foundation http://www.heisingsimons.org/ in Los Altos, California. The Program Officer will manage the Foundation’s Early Education (ages birth to eight years) grantmaking with an emphasis on children’s educational transitions and learning trajectories from preschool through third grade. The position reports to the Education Program Director. 
 
The ideal candidate will have: 1) a relevant graduate degree in child development or early childhood education with a focus on ages birth to eight years (a PhD or EdD strongly preferred); 2) a deep understanding of early childhood development in the context of family and community; 3) in-depth knowledge of research/evaluation methods and expertise in translating research for improvement of policy and practice; 4) substantive experience building programs and/or grantmaking in early childhood education ages birth to eight years; 5) expertise in approaches to aligning professional development and instruction from preschool through third grade; and 6) knowledge of workforce dynamics for early education systems.  
 
Interested applicants should send a resume, cover letter and salary information by email to martha@marthamontagbrown.com.

CEELO Update

Preschool Development Grant Teaching & Learning Table cohorts continue to meet focusing on effective, inclusive instructional tools and credentialing of teachers and administrators, and Leadership Academy fellows continue to enhance their leadership skills by making significant progress on selected job-embedded projects.
 
Presenters for this year's Roundtable will be: Steve Barnett, Steven Hicks, Gail Joseph, Tammy Mann, Evelyn Moore, Kimberly Oliver-Burnim, and Marcy Whitebook.

This policy report provides policymakers with a review of published research on ECE workforce education and credentials as well as research on the current status of ECE wages, recruitment and retention challenges, and promising practices. It summarizes trends in state requirements regarding ECE teachers with bachelor’s degrees and specialized certification, licensure, or endorsements of pre-K teachers. The paper includes recommended actions and strategies, based on research and state suggestions, regarding approaches that states can use to recruit and retain teachers with bachelor’s degrees and ECE credentials.

Calendar

Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 1:00pm
Save the date and time for this webinar which will examine the recent policy report from CEELO. The paper provides policymakers with a review of published research on early childhood (ECE) workforce education and credentials as well as on the current status of ECE wages, recruitment and retention challenges, and promising practices. It summarizes trends in state requirements regarding ECE teachers with bachelor’s degrees and specialized certification, licensure, or endorsements of pre-K teachers. The paper includes recommended actions and strategies, based on research and state suggestions, regarding approaches that states can use to recruit and retain teachers with bachelor’s degrees and ECE credentials. Join the webinar to discuss the findings with the author and respondent state contributors.
 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
May 26, 2016 - 12:01pm to May 28, 2016 - 12:01pm
Registration: Early bird deadline approaching! Register before the early bird deadline (4/15 at 11:59pm EST) and receive discounted conference registration. Also save money by becoming a member of ICIS before registering and take advantage of member benefits.
 
Pre-Conferences: We are happy to announce that there are 5 groups organizing pre-conferences on Wednesday May, 25th. Follow the link for more information on the 5 pre-conferences and other special events at the ICIS conference.
 
Program: The online program is now available. Be sure to check out the 2016 Invited Program for exciting sessions at this years’ conference.
 
For more information about the meeting please visit the ICIS website.
June 6, 2016 - 8:00am
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. 

 

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.
 
Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 8:30am to Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 12:00pm
The National Smart Start Conference provides professional development for early education leaders and gives participants the opportunity to access the latest research, learn new skills and share lessons learned.
 
The dates for 2016 are May 2-5, 2016 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.
 
Please email all questions to conference@smartstart.org.
Sunday, May 15, 2016 - 4:00pm to Friday, May 20, 2016 - 1:00pm
NHSA’s 43rd annual National Head Start Conference and Expo is the largest national event devoted to the Head Start and Early Head Start community. From May 16th - 20th, more than 5,000 executive directors, directors, administrators, managers, teachers, policy council members, and parents from every state and territory will gather in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Head Start and Early Head Start community is driven like none other to provide opportunities for success in the lives of our nation’s vulnerable children. Every year the Head Start community pulls together to discuss the latest developments, innovations, and obstacles in early learning and to inspire ideas for turning challenges into opportunities.
Beginning Head Start’s 51st year, we enter a new phase in Head Start’s history - and we find ourselves in the spotlight more than ever. The 2016 national conference provides the perfect opportunity to turn our sights and our imaginations toward the future and explore ways to drive Head Start’s mission even farther!

Early Education News Roundup

Thursday, April 28, 2016
(The State-Journal Register)

Some Illinois business leaders said Wednesday the state needs to invest more in early childhood programs to ensure students will be prepared for future careers in fields requiring math and science education.

Members of ReadyNation Illinois called on lawmakers to support a $75 million increase in early childhood programs that can help prevent children from falling behind early in academic areas that can prepare them to take jobs in fields related to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
(Mountain View Voice)

When it comes to education, the first five years of a child's life are in many ways the most important. Early brain development is in full swing, making it a critical time to cultivate cognitive and emotional skills that will put kids on track to succeed when they hit kindergarten.

But for most families of young children in California, important resources for early childhood development remain out of reach. Most families are unable to pay for child care and preschool on top of the high cost of living, meaning many kids are going into kindergarten well behind their peers, a cascading disadvantage that follows them into middle and high school.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
(Star Tribune)

Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday urged legislative leaders to approve additional funding to hire school counselors, among other professional staff, and a grant program to improve the state's preschool facilities.

Dayton said he wants $13.1 million for a grant program that would increase the number of school counselors, psychologists, social workers and other staff. Minnesota has 1 counselor for every 792 students, a high ratio that advocates say leaves students under-served.

The governor also wants $40 million for a grant program that school districts could tap into to pay for facilities expansion for Dayton's goal of eventual universal preschool.

Dayton's request comes with about a month left in the legislative session. House Republicans on Monday approved a supplemental budget for education that had no new spending. The legislation paid for new programs through savings -- about $55 million -- the state expects once some school districts repay outstanding state loans by the end of the year.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
(Medical Daily)

A child’s brain is designed to absorb information at a fast pace: During the first few years of life, they create 700 to 1,000 new neural connections every second, making their early years integral to how their brain functions for the rest of their childhood and adolescent development. Knowing this, a team of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine studied parental impact at each stage of development, and discovered the earlier parents invest in their child’s brain structure growth, the better.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
(Now Decatur)

Baby TALK has been recognized by ExceleRate as a top early learning and development provider.

Baby TALK Early Head Start received the Gold Circle of Quality designation from ExceleRate Illinois. ExceleRate is a comprehensive system that allows early childhood programs to apply to be recognized for the services that they offer to their families. Gold was the highest designation that could be given. The award was available to all early childhood programs in the state of Illinois.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
(The Manchester Journal)

In Vermont, teachers who work in early learning tend to have satisfaction with their jobs. What they don't have is good pay unless they work in the public schools, according to a report from the Department for Children and Families.

The report is based on three surveys of those who work with children in day care and preschool up through third grade as well as those in after-school programs up to age 14, according to Murphy.

Workers in public school programs and private centers as well as family child care providers were surveyed as part of Vermont's Early Learning Challenge grant. The idea was to take a snapshot of what is happening in the field to get a baseline and see what is working and what could be changed to support high-quality early care and learning.

The results showed that public school programs had the most-qualified and best-paid instructors, while child care that is based in family homes had the least-educated and lowest-paid workers.

Monday, April 25, 2016
(MPBN News)

Before her family moved closer to the city, where they could afford more living space, she attended the more affluent Upper Moreland district, which is predominantly white and, according to state and local records, spends about $1,200 more per student than William Penn. That difference adds up, Jameria says, to better buildings, smaller class sizes, take-home textbooks and less teacher turnover. "It's never going to be fair," she says, comparing her life now to her former classmates. "They're always going to be a step ahead of us. They'll have more money than us, and they'll get better jobs than us, always." So Jameria's parents have signed onto a lawsuit, arguing that Pennsylvania's school funding system is unfair and inadequate. To the Millers, money matters. But not everyone agrees. . .

A new study from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University is just the latest to suggest that preschool, when it's high-quality, can narrow achievement gaps before they grow too wide. With strong support from the state's then-new governor, Mike Easley, the program grew quickly. At peak enrollment, in the 2008-09 school year, it provided free preschool to roughly 35,000 at-risk kids at a cost of $170 million.

Monday, April 25, 2016
(Allied News)

Gov. Tom Wolf and Sen. Robert Casey joined early childhood experts and 200 business executives in Hershey this week to discuss how investing in quality early education reduces public costs in health and education at the Early Learning Investment Commission’s 2016 Economic Summit on Early Childhood Investment. The summit highlights early learning investment strategies that promote workforce and economic development.

“Children who participate in high-quality pre-kindergarten perform better in school, graduate at higher rates, and earn more throughout their working lives compared to peers that do not have access to early learning programs,” said Governor Wolf. “My 2016-17 budget proposes a $60 million increase in high-quality early childhood programs, which will help pave a path for Pennsylvania’s children for life-long success in school and the workforce.”

Monday, April 25, 2016
(Tribune Herald)

According to numbers released last week by the Economic Policy Institute, the average cost of full-time child care for a 4-year-old in Hawaii, either in preschool or at a daycare center, is $9,312. The average price of in-state college tuition in Hawaii was $8,216. The institution’s estimates vary somewhat from those generated by Child Care Aware of America in May of 2015, which tabulated average child care costs in the state at between $7,600-$9,300 yearly and the average annual price tag to attend a four-year, public college at about $9,700. But the conclusions of both studies are essentially the same: Early childhood education is now effectively as hefty of a financial burden as college. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016
(UNICEF)
In a remote community in Timor-Leste, a new preschool gives children like Roque and Domingas a place to play and learn. UNICEF and partners are working together to build more preschools throughout the country, so all children will have access to early childhood education. 
 
Early childhood development and education programmes give children the best possible chance to succeed and stay in school, and playing is an integral part of learning and developing, as well as a basic right for every child.
 
Unfortunately, few children in Timor-Leste have a chance to attend preschool, which contributes to difficulties in education later in life, such as dropping out of school.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
(WFAA)
As enrollment for next school year begins, there’s a new push across DFW to get children in pre-K. Irving ISD is starting a new program aimed at boosting enrollment. For a group of eager four and five years olds inside, every new lesson was a reason to celebrate.
 
At pre-K, they’re learning not just shapes, colors, and numbers. Teachers say they’re building a foundation for a lifetime of learning and working with others. Pre-K shows kids how to make friends and work as a team. It show them how school works, and it’s important to start early.
 
Research shows 80 percent of brain development happens by the time a child is five years old. Studies show children who attend pre-K are more likely to graduate from high school, and do better on state assessment tests than their peers who did not attend pre-K.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
(Huffington Post)

In a recent article for the Brookings Institution, Ruth Curran Neild, acting director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), argued that educational research is on the right track. The one thing it lacks, she says, is adequate funding. I totally agree. Of course there are improvements that could be made to education policies and practices, but the part of the education field working on using science to improve outcomes for children is very much going in the right direction. Many are frustrated that it is not getting there fast enough, but we need more wind in our sails, not a change of course.

What has radically changed over the past 15 years is that there is now far more support than there once was for randomized evaluations of replicable programs and practices, and as a result we are collectively building a strong set of studies that use the kinds of designs common in medicine and agriculture but not, until recently, in education.  We recently published a review of research on early childhood programs, in which we located 32 studies of 22 different programs. Twenty-nine of the studies used randomized designs, thanks primarily to funding and leadership from a federal investment called Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research (PCER). 

Thursday, April 21, 2016
(Philly News)

Philadelphia's soda tax battle has gone full-on presidential.

Following comments former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made in Philadelphia Wednesday in support of Mayor Kenney's a proposed tax on sugary drinks to universal fund pre-K education, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said Thursday he's against the tax.

Kenney's proposal calls for a 3-cents per ounce tax on all non-diet sodas, sweetened teas, sports drinks, sugary juices and other beverages that contain sugar.

Clinton on Wednesday said, "I'm very supportive of the mayor's proposal to tax soda to get universal preschool for kids. I mean, we need universal preschool. And if that's a way to do it, that's how we should do it."

Thursday, April 21, 2016
(PR Newswire)

Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES), a leader in developing Digital Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum and school design, has been named a partner in the Federal government's new Early Education STEM initiative.

TIES is the first organization to deliberately build a Fab Lab – a maker space that uses digital design and fabrication to build STEM skills and creativity – for early childhood. In March 2016, The Bay Area Discovery Museum, in partnership with TIES and FableVision, launched the world's first Fab Lab for young learners (ages 3 to 10) to help them navigate the design process from concept to production, and turn their ideas into reality.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
(Alaska Dispatch News)

According to the Department of Defense, 71 percent of all young Alaskans between the ages of 17 and 24 are unable to join the military, primarily because they are too poorly educated, too overweight, or have a record of crime or drug abuse. This matches the national rate. The National Commission on the Future of the Army recently warned of a “small pool of talent, and it is likely to shrink even more,” leading to “potential future challenges for military recruiting.” While there is no single solution to this problem, research highlighted by the national security organization Mission: Readiness shows that high-quality pre-K can address the major disqualifiers for military service by helping to boost graduation rates, deter youth from crime and reduce obesity rates. Long-term studies of early-education programs show impressive education and crime prevention outcomes. For example, children who participated in Michigan’s Perry Preschool were 44 percent more likely to graduate from high school. Another study found that children left out of the Chicago Child-Parent Centers program were 70 percent more likely than participants to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18.

Since quality is the key to early education’s benefits, the good news is that Alaska’s state pre-K program meets all 10 quality benchmarks from the National Institute for Early Education Research. The bad news is that the state Legislature has cut funding for this program, which currently serves only 3 percent of Alaska’s 4-year-olds. I urge state lawmakers to restore the $2 million for pre-K to help ensure that young Alaskans can “be all they can be” in college, the civilian workforce or the military for those who choose to serve.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
(wral.com)
Child care is an incredibly common expense for American families. According to a 2015 report published by ChildCare Aware of America, an advocacy group supporting access to high-quality child care, 11 million children under the age of 5 are in child care for an average of 36 hours per week in the United States. Though the arrangement can vary from in-home care to the aid of grandparents and neighbors, 35 percent of children receive center-based care at child care centers, preschools and Head Start programs. 
 
The team at Credio wanted to see how child care costs vary for families in every U.S. state. To do this, Credio analyzed data from ChildCare Aware of America's "Parents and the High Cost of Child Care" report -- which details the cost of full-time child care in centers -- along with 2014 median household income from the U.S. Census Bureau, which includes income generated by all members of a household.
 
Depending on the state, the percentage of median household income spent on child care for two children annually ranged greatly, from below 20 percent to north of 45 percent. Credio ranked the 50 U.S. states by this metric, and included the percent of median household income for one child, the average cost of care for two children, as well as the cost of one, as well as median household income for each state.
 
 
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
(Yahoo! Finance)
In more than half of the United States (33 states and Washington, D.C.), paying for child care is more expensive than college tuition.
 
That’s right. Depending on where you live, it’s cheaper to send a young adult to college than it is to send a 4-year-old to day care (or preschool).
 
The Economic Policy Institute recently released data about the cost of child care in the United States. The left-leaning think tank found that child care costs vary across regions and family types, accounting for the greatest variability in family budgets.
 
The Department of Health and Human Services considers child care affordable if it eats up less than 10 percent or less of a family’s income. According to the EPI, just two states — South Dakota and Wyoming — provide “affordable” child care for infants. Overall, in 40 U.S. states, the average child care expense for a family of four exceeds the 10 percent threshold.