Volume 2, Issue 3

April 23, 2003

Hot Topics

"The First Years of School," the April issue of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Educational Leadership magazine, focuses on early education with articles such as “Preschool: The Most Important Grade,” by NIEER Director W. Steven Barnett and NIEER Research Associate Jason T. Hustedt and “The Importance of Being Playful,” by Elena Bodrova and Deborah J. Leong, NIEER Research Fellows. John S. Kendall's article, "Setting Standards in Early Childhood Education," is based on work sponsored in part by NIEER.
An estimated 9,000 Detroit-area preschoolers stand to benefit from an initiative designed to increase the number of teacher trainers and skilled early childhood education teachers in Detroit. The High/Scope Educational Research Foundation’s report, A Systemwide Approach to Improving Early Childhood Program Quality in the Detroit Metropolitan Area, summarizes three years of research on making lasting improvements in Detroit's early childhood programs, and the findings may offer teacher-training solutions for other major metropolitan areas as well.
Analysts at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis make a case for investing in early childhood development.

NIEER Activities

The latest NIEER policy brief, Better Teachers, Better Preschools: Student Achievement Linked to Teacher Qualifications, written by Director W. Steven Barnett, points out that high-quality preschool education depends on effective, high-quality teachers. The brief presents current educational requirements for preschool teachers by state and reviews evidence on the importance of teacher qualifications. Policy recommendations include requiring four-year degrees and specialized training for preschool teachers and providing preschool teachers with salaries comparable to their K-12 counterparts.
NIEER researchers swept into the Windy City this week to take part in the 84th Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association – “Accountability for Educational Quality: Shared Responsibility.” Research Associate Pamela Kelley, Assistant Research Professor Donald Yarosz, and Co-Director Gregory Camilli were among the presenters at the annual conference in Chicago. Ms. Kelley’s “Preliminary findings on labor costs and quality in New Jersey’s Abbott Districts,” and Dr. Yarosz’ “Who goes to preschool?” presentations were part of a roundtable discussion on preschool quality. Dr. Camilli presented “Item difficulty variation (IDV) approach to school assessment,” on Monday and “Replication of the NRP meta-analysis of phonics instruction studies” on Wednesday.

Calendar

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 21, 2003 - May 23, 2003
Charlotte N.C. – This national conference of United Way Success By 6 celebrates 15 years of working to ensure that all children ages zero to six are healthy, nurtured and ready to succeed.
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.
June 15, 2003 - June 18, 2003
Portland, Oregon – The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recognizes that high-quality professional development is not just great for teachers – it’s great for kids because it means better early childhood programs.
July 21, 2003 - July 25, 2003
Washington, D.C. -- The National Center for Education Statistics conference of elementary and secondary education data users and providers.

Early Education News Roundup

April 23, 2003
The Christian Science Monitor
Staff members at the Child Care Action Campaign are packing up papers and books, preparing to vacate the premises in a few weeks. Initially, the organization stood as a lone voice, breaking what [President Faith] Wohl calls a "national silence" about the need for more and better day care and early education.
April 22, 2003
The News Journal, Wilmington, DE
Last week in Delaware and across the country, critics charged the plan is tantamount to dismantling Head Start in favor of block grants to the states. But Head Start in Delaware is such a unique creature -- thanks to state dollars, state standards, and follow-up studies on children -- that on Monday federal officials were in Dover talking about making the state a demonstration model.
April 21, 2003
Gloucester County Times
Child care prices in Gloucester County, N.J., can cost almost half of the typical household income for a baby and a preschooler in a licensed early education program, a new survey stated. Leonard Masse, a research fellow for the National Institute for Early Education Research, said that the high costs could mean that children in low-income homes might not get access to high-quality educational child care.
April 20, 2003
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Rising enrollment for pre-kindergarten services is putting more pressure than ever on the state lottery. Georgia lawmakers are beginning to worry the state won't have enough money soon to fully fund Hope and pre-K.
April 17, 2003
Los Angeles Times
Lead levels now widely believed to be safe in children actually produce a severe impact on intellectual development, researchers report today. Blood levels of lead below current federal and international guidelines of 10 micrograms per deciliter produce a surprisingly large drop in IQ of up to 7.4 points, a U.S. team reports in today's New England Journal of Medicine.
April 16, 2003
The Advocate, Stamford, CT
President Bush has recommended drastic changes to Head Start that would give states more control of the locally administered program. Supporters of the changes, including Connecticut Gov. John Rowland, say it would make Head Start available to more children, but critics say it would diminish services where they are needed most.
April 16, 2003
Erie Times-News
Erie community leaders push for early-childhood education funding.
April 11, 2003
The Star-Ledger
Child care in New Jersey can be more expensive than housing, and infant care can cost more than a minimum-wage job pays, according to a new survey of child-care costs in the state. The study, "Child Care Wage & Benefit Survey and Child Care Market Rates," released yesterday, also found that child-care workers in New Jersey earned $16,900, below the federal poverty level for a family of four.
April 11, 2003
Catalyst: Voices of Chicago School Reform
In the 1980s, Illinois joined a handful of other states in launching a state-financed pre-kindergarten program for youngsters who were considered at-risk of educational failure due to poverty or other socioeconomic factors. The long-term goal is to make it possible for Chicago parents, if they choose, to enroll their 3- and 4-year-olds in an affordable, high-quality program taught by qualified teachers.
April 11, 2003
The Times-Picayune
Even as it makes cuts in day care -- a move that could end up swelling Louisiana's welfare rolls -- the Foster administration is setting aside $10 million to expand prekindergarten in the state. Expanding one promising benefit while slashing one on which families already rely isn't a reasonable trade.
April 11, 2003
Boston Business Journal
Children who participate in high-quality early childhood education programs arrive at school with better language skills and can get along better with their peers. They are 40 percent less likely to need special education or be held back a grade.
April 10, 2003
The Oregonian
On Wednesday, Gov. Gary Locke and top legislative Democrats unveiled an ambitious new Education Trust Fund financed by a permanent, dedicated tax to improve the public education system from preschool through college. The idea is to enhance the school and higher education budgets, not to find a way to pay for what lawmakers already finance, the governor and state schools chief Terry Bergeson told a news conference.

Resources

The Maryland State Department of Education reports on the success of its early childhood education and school readiness initiatives.
The National Center for Education Statistics reports on the availability of prekindergarten in U.S. public schools. The report includes information on the number of schools that offered general or special education prekindergarten classes, average class size, support services, and funding. It also includes information on the education level of prekindergarten teachers and the pay scale used to determine their compensation.
The Bush administration’s Head Start Policy Book can be found at the White House web site.
Wrightslaw offers a summary of the provisions included in the bill, which places a renewed emphasis on ensuring that children with disabilities are learning.
FairTest, The National Center for Fair & Open Testing, offers a position statement on the No Child Left Behind Act.
The National Center for Education Statistics’ Status and Trends in the Education of Hispanics presents statistics from a variety of reports published by the NCES in one volume of information about the educational status of Hispanics.
The result of an extensive, 18-month review, the report, “From Risk to Opportunity: Fulfilling the Educational Needs of Hispanic Americans in the 21st Century,” presents a comprehensive plan intended to help close the educational achievement gap for Hispanic Americans.