Volume 2, Issue 1

February 6, 2003

Hot Topics

President Bush recently stated that, “the single most important goal of the Head Start reauthorization should be to improve Head Start and other preschool programs to ensure children are prepared to succeed in school.” NIEER Director Steve Barnett suggested that the proposed budget should follow suit rather than providing a bare minimum cost-of-living increase from 2002 to 2004. He also urged that there be provisions in Head Start to enforce current standards and raise teacher qualifications. According to Barnett, the cost to ensure that every Head Start classroom has a fully qualified teacher would be roughly $1 billion. “For an increase that is essentially insignificant in a $2.23 trillion budget, the nation could take a major step toward ensuring that every child in America is prepared to succeed,” he said.
Joan Lombardi’s 2003 book suggests a beginning for reversing the history of neglect in America’s early child care system. She provides an agenda for investing in and reforming child care – to make it work better by redesigning the system to promote child development, support family life, and foster the spirit of community. Joan Lombardi is a Senior Policy Fellow at NIEER. The book is available at Temple University Press.
A study by Arthur Reynolds, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of social work and human development and member of the NIEER Scientific Advisory Board, provides new evidence that preschool programs can impact not just school readiness, but long-term family outcomes. The study found that children who attended the Chicago School District's Child-Parent Centers (CPC) preschool intervention program had a 52 percent lower rate of maltreatment compared to those who didn't. Teachers at these centers help children acquire basic skills in language arts and math while resource coordinators help parents receive support and services.

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NIEER Activities

NIEER Co-Director Linda M. Espinosa, Ph.D., was the featured instructor for the January 30, 2003 segment of the HeadsUp! Reading distance-learning program. The course is designed to help teachers improve their knowledge of literacy development and their early-literacy teaching skills. Espinosa instructed Week 2 of the course, which focused on “appropriate assessment of children’s development and learning.”
NIEER Director W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., called for increased support for the Head Start program when he spoke at the National Head Start Association’s Capitol Hill Briefing session on January 29. Stating that Head Start fade-out is a myth, Barnett set forth specific strategies to strengthen the program even further to fully recreate the model programs that served as the blueprint for the Head Start program.

Calendar

February 15, 2003 - February 18, 2003
Washington, DC -- Join 1,200 other college and university presidents, chancellors, senior administrators, and other higher education leaders at ACE's 85th Annual Meeting on competition, collaboration, continuity, and change.
March 5, 2003 - March 8, 2003
Washington, DC -- The 15th annual symposium is intended to encourage dialogue and debate around policy issues affecting the fields of resource and referral, child care, early childhood education and out-of-school time services, children and families.
April 8, 2003 - April 11, 2003
Washington, DC – The Children’s Defense Fund National Conference focuses on finding new strategies to ensure that our nation lives up to the commitment to Leave No Child Behind®.
April 13, 2003 - April 16, 2003
Phoenix -- The Association for Childhood Education International's Annual International Conference will feature more than 250 workshops and seminars on topics of interest to teachers, teacher educators, college students, child care personnel, and other care givers.
April 24, 2003


The conference will focus on infants and young children, in the context of relationships with family, care givers and community.
April 27, 2003 - April 29, 2003
St. Louis, Missouri -- The Born to Learn Conference aims to inform both early childhood educators and parents.
April 29, 2003 - May 2, 2003
Ypsilanti, Michigan -- The High/Scope International Conference will provide workshops and discussion of topics related to all aspects of the High/Scope Curriculum.
May 13, 2003 - May 16, 2003
Acapulco, Mexico -- The primary objective of the World Forum is to promote an on-going global exchange of ideas on the delivery of quality services in diverse settings.
May 27, 2003 - May 30, 2003
New York City – NHSA celebrates 30 years of nurturing children and families with their annual training conference.
June 3, 2003


The Association of Educational Publishers is holding a one-day workshop designed to help professionals improve their skills in the development of children’s software.

Early Education News Roundup

February 5, 2003
Los Angeles Times
Just as state governmental finances are going from bad to worse, the Bush administration is proposing to give the states more responsibility for running an array of programs for the poor. For the Head Start program for impoverished preschoolers, critics warn that the states would be tempted to use their federal dollars to fill in gaps in their own education programs.
February 1, 2003
The Washington Post
The White House is proposing a historic shift in the Head Start preschool program for poor youngsters that calls for the federal government to offer states broad new control over decision-making and replaces the program's traditional mission with an emphasis on literacy, officials said yesterday. In the fiscal 2004 budget that will be unveiled Monday, President Bush will give governors the option of taking charge of key aspects of the program that have been managed by the federal government.
January 29, 2003
Courier-Post Online, Cherry Hill, NJ
The Department of Education expects to spend $20 million more next year on court-ordered preschool classes in 30 of the state's poorest urban districts, an education official said Tuesday, even as Gov. James E. McGreevey plans steep cuts in other programs. The districts covered by the long-running Abbott vs. Burke school funding lawsuit have been given preliminary approval to spend $397.3 million on next year's classes for 3- and 4- year-olds, said Ellen Frede, the education commissioner's assistant for early childhood education.
January 28, 2003
Daily Record
New Jersey, like most states, is grappling with how to adequately fund K-12 education, without having to provide for an additional two years of early childhood instruction. Polling in New Jersey shows that the vast majority of citizens believe the government should be doing more to give everyone access to preschool, said Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.
January 27, 2003
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
From coast to coast, many Head Start parents and teachers are speculating that the administration wants to transform their comprehensive program of educational, medical, dental, developmental and social services for some 900,000 low-income preschoolers into a cheaper reading-prep program in which teachers are judged by their children's scores on a new national test.
January 27, 2003
Daily Record
Founded in 1965, Head Start has enjoyed bipartisan support throughout the years and has seen its funding rise from $96 million to $6.5 billion today. Head Start has not been immune to criticism, however, and the Bush administration is responding by calling for an unprecedented change to the program.
January 26, 2003
Daily Record
Countless low- and moderate-income families struggle locally to find affordable, quality preschool.
January 23, 2003
The Neshoba Democrat
Early childhood education is vital to future economic development in east Mississippi, an elite group of educators and business professionals has determined. The conclusion of the experts was that community resources must be committed to closing those gaps in education for economic growth to occur.
January 23, 2003
Wisonsin State Journal
It's no secret that preschool can boost a child's school readiness and performance. But a new UW-Madison study is the first to show that a school-based program -- with parent involvement -- reduces the chances of childhood abuse and neglect.
January 21, 2003
Press Release
According to a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, this type of learning environment does more than strengthen skills - it helps cut the rate at which enrolled children will be abused or neglected by their parents or caregivers. The findings, published in the current issue of the journal Child Development, provide new evidence that preschool programs can impact not just school readiness, but long-term family outcomes.

Resources

The Education Commission of the States recently announced it has a new database with information about the progress each of the 50 states has made in attaining the goals and requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. Is your state on track? You can find out more by visiting the ECS web site.
The Children’s Defense Fund’s Emerging Leaders Project focuses on expanding and enhancing the leadership capacity of advocates as well as fostering the development of new strategies for improving child care, early education, and school-age care policies. Each year, the project offers specialized training, networking, support, and technical assistance activities to provide emerging leaders across the country the information, support, and resources they need to be successful agents of change.
A Society for Research in Child Development Social Policy Report highlights the importance of emotional development as a factor in school readiness. Read more