Volume 2, Issue 6

July 25, 2003

Hot Topics

NIEER’s five-minute video, "Growing and Learning in Preschool," shows the essential features of a high-quality preschool program. You’ll see how a preschool curriculum based on solid research builds school and life-related skills, why well-qualified teachers are so important, and how play is integrated into learning.



You can view the preschool video on the NIEER website at: http://nieer.org/resources/video/.



To request a VHS or DVD copy of the preschool video for your organization, please contact us at info@nieer.org.
NIEER Director Steve Barnett took issue recently with statements about a study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development that links the length of time in child care to more aggressive behaviors. Dr. Barnett called them "a disservice to every parent who worries about making the best choice for their children. Results like these, taken out of context, are of little help to parents who are left to weigh the pros and cons of child care arrangements which must take into consideration program quality and particular needs of a young child."



"Other rigorous studies find that high-quality programs for even very young children can have the opposite effect, actually reducing behavior problems. In addition research has found that children make positive gains in learning and some social behaviors that could easily outweigh the negative effects found in the NICHD study," said Dr. Barnett.



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NIEER Activities

Serious efforts to improve the educational effectiveness of Head Start would need to begin with teachers. This fact sheet from NIEER presents information on Head Start teacher qualifications and compensation and on the estimated cost of placing a highly qualified teacher in every Head Start classroom.

Calendar

July 28, 2003 - July 31, 2003
Portland, ME – The Education Law & Policy Consortium’s Tenth Annual Education Law Conference offers a forum for educators, government officials, and lawyers to discuss the legal aspects of schooling.
July 30, 2003 - August 1, 2003
Philadelphia, PA – The Fourth National Kinship Care Conference will provide an opportunity to learn more about the history and progress of families caring for their kin’s children.
August 16, 2003 - August 19, 2003
New Orleans, LA – Join professionals from the fields of education, law, medicine, and social work at National Association of Counsel for Children’s 26th National Children’s Law Conference.
September 19, 2003 - September 20, 2003
Nashville, TN - Join educators and administrators, parents and policymakers at the 8th Annual Education Leaders Council Conference.
October 19, 2003 - October 21, 2003
New Orleans, LA – National Black Child Development Institute’s 33rd Annual Conference is a leading event for those concerned with African American children.

Early Education News Roundup

July 25, 2003
ABC News
After a rough road through the House, the remaking of the Head Start program is heading to the Senate, where leaders must decide whether they, too, want to shift preschool power to some states. The House put its mark on the landmark education program early Friday, voting by a hair-thin 217-216 margin to give up to eight states control over Head Start so they can coordinate it with other programs.
July 24, 2003
The Christian Science Monitor
An upcoming public vote on whether to levy a 10-cent tax on "designer coffee drinks" is producing a debate of caffeinated intensity in what is supposed to be an easygoing city. The measure, on the Sept. 16 ballot, seeks to boost funding for prekindergarten programs with all those dimes, which proponents say will total $7 million annually.
July 24, 2003
The Oregonian
Rhetoric on both sides is overblown, says Steve Barnett, head of the National Institute for Early Education Research, a nonpartisan think tank at Rutgers University. Head Start teachers should be better-qualified, he said, but also should be paid more.
July 24, 2003
The Boston Globe
A nation that does not promote the parenting skills of its young families, particularly in the face of economic hardship and limited education, undermines its own future. This requires good parenting, which can be taught, and reliable and competent care from other adults when parents are at work, which can be assured through a child care and early education system that has strong quality standards.
July 24, 2003
The Philadelphia Inquirer
The New Jersey Supreme Court gave the state 30 days to provide the districts with preliminary budget figures for the 2003-04 school year.
July 23, 2003
Los Angeles Times
The commission that distributes money collected under the Proposition 10 cigarette tax agreed Tuesday to use $100 million to begin providing preschool programs for the state's estimated 3.5 million children under age 5. Calling the allocation historic, commission Chairman Rob Reiner said it represented a "down payment" on what panel members hope will expand into a statewide program to reach children in every urban center and rural hamlet of California.
July 23, 2003
The New York Times
This spring, 23 percent of Florida third graders, or 43,000 youngsters, failed the FCAT test and, under the state's new retention policy, were slated to be held back. Of the 1,715 third graders who attended the summer reading program here in Orange County, only 15 percent passed, and it now appears that four to five times more Florida third graders than a year ago will be held back this fall.
July 23, 2003
Great Falls Tribune, Great Falls, Montana
The debate at the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee centered around President Bush's proposal to give states more control over the $6 billion, 38-year-old program. Under a bill the House is expected to vote on Wednesday, states would have to "generally meet" federal Head Start standards.
July 19, 2003
Rocky Mountain News, Denver CO
Susan Urahn, director of educational programs for the Pew Charitable Trusts, visited the News earlier this week to talk about the trusts' initiative on early childhood education, which they call "Starting Early, Starting Strong." Their goal is to promote access to "high-quality prekindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds."
July 18, 2003
Stateline.org
Fewer than eight states are equipped to take over the federal Head Start preschool program for poor children in their states, an idea that Congress is seriously considering, early childhood education experts warn. Part of the problem is that no one really knows how good the 40 state-run pre-K programs are, said Amy Wilkins, executive director of The Trust for Early Education, an advocacy group.
July 17, 2003
The Baltimore Sun
For 38 years, disadvantaged children have had the valuable assistance of Head Start, an important federal program that has helped prepare children to enter kindergarten by providing health, nutrition and hygiene services as well as teaching pre-kindergarten basics. Unfortunately, the Head Start program has changed very little to adapt to a new academic environment and, as a result, the children in Head Start are being left behind their more affluent peers as they enter their school years.
July 16, 2003
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Clad in a money-green suit, Gov. Sonny Perdue on Tuesday flashed the grin of a grand prize winner as he accepted a $6 billion check commemorating the money the state lottery has paid to Georgia students. Since 1993, more than $6 billion generated from lottery sales has funded educational programs, including $2.5 billion shared by 700,000 HOPE Scholarship recipients and $2.1 billion spent on pre-kindergarten programs.
July 15, 2003
The Christian Science Monitor
In fact, 22 states earmark portions of lottery earnings for public school spending. Yet, while the public may believe that means a net gain for schools, that's not always the case.

Resources

Louise Stoney, Mildred Warner, Adrienne E. Woolley, and Abby Thorman (April 2003)

A report from the Mid-American Regional Council points to Kansas’ need to increase its investment in child care.

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The Education Commission of the States’ new interactive database of state policies regarding support, development and funding of full-day kindergarten is now available at the ECS web site.
Bruce J. Biddle and David C. Berliner

This WestEd report explores key questions surrounding inequities in school funding in America, such as why they exist, how Americans justify them, and what can be done to address them.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) new paper on state early childhood mathematics policies is based on a survey of state early childhood specialists in departments of education and child care administrators. It covers standards, curriculum and assessment, and professional development.
The Business Roundtable has released a poll of public attitudes toward the accountability reporting requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. The poll shows that majorities of parents and voters support the new reporting requirements in NCLB.

Rachel Schumacher and Jennifer Mezey (July 2003)

In this new report from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), the concerns raised by the Head Start bill are addressed and a number of recommended provisions are provided.