Volume 2, Issue 4

May 23, 2003

Hot Topics

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce released its Head Start reauthorization proposal May 22. The School Readiness Act, sponsored by Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), would allow states to coordinate Head Start programs with state early education programs and includes provisions to improve Head Start teacher quality by calling for all newly-hired teachers within three years to have an associates, bachelor’s or other advanced degree.

NIEER lauded the teacher provisions of the House Head Start reauthorization proposal that call for increased numbers of teachers with specialized degrees and training in early childhood development. NIEER also called for authorization of additional funding to ensure the full intent of the proposal can be met. (Link to NIEER Press Release)

The latest NIEER policy brief, Low Wages = Low Quality: Solving the Real Preschool Teacher Crisis, written by Director W. Steven Barnett, takes a look at just how low preschool teachers' and child care workers' salaries are and provides evidence of the effects of poor pay and employee benefits on teacher morale, turnover rates, and ultimately on educational quality. Current strategies designed to address the problems of poor compensation are presented, as are policy recommendations to help promote the compensation increases necessary to ensure high-quality preschool programs for our children.

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) reports on the use of federal funds to finance universal pre-k initiatives. The report, Financing Universal Pre-Kindergarten: Possibilities and Technical Issues for States in Using Funds Under the Child Care and Development Fund and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant, can be found at the CLASP web site.
NIEER researcher Gregory Camilli, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and co-authors Sadako Vargas and Michele Yurecko examine the report by the National Reading Panel, Teaching Children to Read. The authors caution that federal policies on early literacy curricula and instruction may be misdirected when focused on phonics to the exclusion of other curricular activities.

Calendar

May 27, 2003 - May 30, 2003
New York City – NHSA celebrates 30 years of nurturing children and families with their annual training conference.
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.
July 21, 2003 - July 22, 2003
Ypsilanti, MI -- High/Scope offers training opportunities for early education teachers and administrators.

Early Education News Roundup

May 22, 2003
The Denver Post
First lady Laura Bush said she hopes that financially strapped school districts looking to save money fight the temptation to cut programs that boost student achievement. Bush made her comments after delivering the keynote address at the Colorado Early Learning Summit, sponsored by the Fund for Colorado's Future.
May 22, 2003
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce
Responding to President Bush's call for action to improve early childhood education, Republican members of the U.S. House Committee on Education & the Workforce today unveiled legislation that would strengthen the academic components of the federal Head Start program for disadvantaged children and encourage states to maintain or increase funding for early childhood education. The bill - the School Readiness Act of 2003, authored by Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) - focuses on reducing the "readiness gap" that exists between Head Start graduates and their more affluent peers when they reach kindergarten.
May 20, 2003
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The pre-k program reaches children early and tries to make every Georgia child ready to succeed by the time formal schooling begins.
May 20, 2003
The Star-Ledger
[A]s the proposal nears approval, the argument is that a block grant to cash-strapped states like New Jersey would surely lead to the demise of Head Start as it now exists. But as a former Head Start employee herself, the state Department of Education's preschool director voiced strong support for the program and its role in New Jersey.
May 17, 2003
The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, MS
The Mississippi Department of Education wouldn't refuse a federal request to take over the state's Head Start programs, but isn't lobbying to get them, either. Mississippi Superintendent of Education Henry Johnson told state Board of Education members Friday he was among a number of chief state school officers who met last week with officials of the Brookings Institute, a Washington think tank, to discuss the issue of who should have jurisdiction over federally funded Head Start.
May 15, 2003
The Washington Post
But the money is not and never was in danger.
May 12, 2003
The Evansville Courier & Press, Evansville, IN
The Pew Charitable Trusts is so convinced of the value of such programs that it has diverted much of its educational funding to early childhood development. Last year, Pew granted $5.3 million to establish the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.
May 12, 2003
Times Record News, Wichita Falls, TX
Researchers say that money spent on young children is a hedge against much larger amounts spent later in life on welfare, government-funded medical care and prison.

Resources

Executive summary of the President’s early childhood initiative Good Start, Grow Smart, the next step in the Administration’s education reform plan focusing on “the need to prepare children to read and succeed in school.”

Since the Chicago Longitudinal Study started in 1985, Arthur Reynolds of the University of Wisconsin at Madison has been studying the effects of the federally funded Chicago Child-Parent Center program on the lives of its attendees. Among the findings, which Reynolds says translate into economic returns, were a 20-percent higher high school completion rate and a 42-percent lower rate of juvenile arrest for violent offense.

John H. Holloway’s article in Educational Leadership magazine compares the effects of delayed entry or kindergarten retention on younger children who tend to lag behind their classmates.

The National Center for Education Statistics has released several 2001-02 reports on public school information, including school addresses and basic information on students, staff finance and 2000 Census data:

-School Locator,

-District Locator,

-Overview of Public Elementary and Secondary Schools and Districts: School

Year 2001-02
, and

-Public School Student, Staff, and Graduate Counts: School Year 2001-02.
The Center for Children & Families, at the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) has released a new study entitled that explores different ways states and local early education programs have used their funding and resources to improve child care services. The study, produced by the Partnership Impact Research Project (PI), based at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), is expected to help decision-makers improve programs, especially for low-income parents who continue to have difficulty finding accessible, high-quality child care, despite increases in public funding for these services.