Volume 2, Issue 7

September 23, 2003

Hot Topics

The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) Project at the Institute of Education, University of London has published two technical papers featuring the affect of preschool on a child’s cognitive and social development. The papers, (Technical Paper 8a) Measuring the Impact of Pre-School on Children's Cognitive Progress over the Pre-School Period and (Technical Paper 8b) Measuring the Impact of Pre-School on Children's Social/behavioural Development over the Pre-School Period, can be found at the EPPE web site.
A new report from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids shows that anti-aggression programs can help prevent the bullying behavior in children that can sometimes leads to more violent criminal behavior later in life. The report, Bullying Prevention Is Crime Prevention, can be found at the Fight Crime web site.



As a follow up to the report, New Hope for Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: Proven solutions to save lives and prevent future crime, Fight Crime has released briefs with state-specific information about the prevalence of child abuse and neglect, projections on the number of future criminals, and descriptions of proven programs. The full report can be found at the Fight Crime web site.

Laughing Allegra is the story of Anne Ford’s struggle to obtain an excellent education for her daughter who has learning disabilities. Her story provides affirmation and information not just for parents of children with learning disabilities, but for all parents who believe that schools should meet each child’s needs and not the other way around. The book is available at Newmarket Press.

NIEER Activities

Placing a fully certified teacher in every Head Start classroom stands as the single most effective policy change that would radically improve the success of Head Start. As the Head Start Reauthorization continues to be debated it is appropriate to look at the funding levels needed to do just that. The latest policy brief, Investing in Head Start Teachers, takes a look at current Head Start teacher qualification and compensation levels, discusses issues surrounding the push towards raising both, and estimates the cost of placing a highly qualified teacher in every Head Start classroom.

Calendar

October 9, 2003 - October 10, 2003
Nashua, NH – What happens next when your state’s No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) plan is approved?
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.
October 22, 2003 - October 24, 2003
Anaheim, CA -- Join education professionals at the National School Boards Association (NSBA) technology conference.
November 5, 2003 - November 8, 2003
Chicago, IL – Join early childhood educators and professionals from around the world for the National Association of Education for Young Children’s Annual Conference and Expo.
November 13, 2003 - November 15, 2003
Columbus, OH – The Ohio Department of Education Office of Early Childhood hosts its annual early childhood conference.
December 5, 2003 - December 7, 2003
New Orleans - Zero to Three celebrates its 25th anniversary at the 18th National Training Institute.

Early Education News Roundup

September 21, 2003
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Starting this fall, 4- and 5-year-olds in Head Start programs nationwide will take a standardized test to measure how well the program prepares them for kindergarten. The decision to start testing preschoolers is part of a broader effort by the federal government to refocus the Head Start program on pre-literacy and math skills.
September 17, 2003
The New York Times
A measure to levy a 10-cent-per-cup tax on espresso was overwhelmingly rejected by Seattle voters.
September 17, 2003
Education Week
President Bush announced last week that the federal government is supporting a largely private effort to create an Internet warehouse of student-achievement and other data collected under federal law. The project will post every state's test-score data and provide search and sorting tools to help users compare how well schools reach specific demographic groups and teach certain subjects, and gauge schools' overall performance.
September 16, 2003
Rockford Register Star, Rockford, IL
Amid Illinois' tight finances, Gov. Rod Blagojevich approved a $30 million increase that took state spending on early childhood initiatives to $184 million. Higher achievement test scores, lesser need for special-education services and higher graduation rates are just some of the benefits of a quality preschool, according to Steve Barnett, the director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
September 15, 2003
Yale Daily News
As the federally-funded preschool program Head Start continues to face scrutiny by lawmakers, Edward Zigler, the initiative's founder, warned Friday that proposed changes to the program will threaten its quality. The program, which prepares low-income children for school, faces reauthorization this year, and some lawmakers have proposed turning its control over to eight states to combine with local programs.
September 11, 2003
The Palm Beach Post
The state's pre-kindergarten council grew a little closer Wednesday to deciding how Florida's constitutionally required preschool classes should look in 2005, but members struggled over making "practical" recommendations or preferable ones. The Universal Prekindergarten Education Advisory Council has met a half-dozen times, talked to various experts and representatives from Georgia and North Carolina, and plans to meet at least once more.
September 11, 2003
The Hartford Courant
Concerned that thousands of Connecticut children do not have access to adequate preschool, the state Department of Education is crafting a proposal to offer universal preschool statewide. Their analysis from a report issued in October 2000 does show that around 15,000 children in more than 40 cities and towns with the highest needs are not served.
September 10, 2003
The New York Times
Alabama voters overwhelmingly rejected a $1.2 billion tax increase today, delivering a crushing blow to their Republican governor, Bob Riley, who had staked his political career on the vote. His ambitious plan was to close a $675 million budget deficit, ease taxes on the poor and catapult the state's school system from among the nation's worst to one of the best.
September 9, 2003
Philadelphia Business Journal
The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. will spend $100 million over the next decade for a program to help prepare children for school, officials said. The PNC Foundation will make grants to early childhood development organizations in PNC's primary markets to improve school readiness, including language development, literacy, math, sciences and physical health, among others.
September 7, 2003
The Boston Globe
Nowadays, some kind of education before the age of 6 has become common, whether it comes in federally funded Head Start programs or at expensive Manhattan preschools with admissions procedures to rival Harvard's. [The recent Head Start debates] have also raised the age-old question of just how our youngest children, rich or poor, really learn.
September 6, 2003
The New York Times
[No Child Left Behind's] most important provision requires that states and districts place a qualified teacher in every classroom by 2006 in exchange for federal dollars. That means ending the indefensible practice of dumping uncertified and unqualified teachers into the poorest and neediest schools.
September 6, 2003
The Boston Globe
In the same way, high quality child care is something that all families need today, because both parents typically work. But more substantial funding will flow only when broad constituencies are mobilized.
September 3, 2003
The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA
Offering a voluntary prekindergarten program in Louisiana would better prepare children for first grade and reduce their risk of being poor readers later in school. Louisiana has its LA4 Early Childhood Program, which prepares at-risk 4-year-olds for school by teaching them colors, letters, numbers and more.
September 1, 2003
The Washington Times
Head Start is the biggest government-funded early childhood program, but it has always operated outside state control, with funds flowing directly from Washington to local grantees. The Bush administration and the House bill propose to experiment with this arrangement by creating a pilot program allowing up to eight governors, who meet strict eligibility rules, to meld Head Start into their existing preschool networks.
August 26, 2003
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia's free, lottery-funded pre-kindergarten programs tend to have better-educated teachers and more consistent quality than private preschools, a state-funded study released Monday says. As a result, children in Georgia pre-k programs are generally better prepared for kindergarten than those in programs not sponsored by the state, the study says.

Resources

This report from the General Accounting Office (GAO) explores the progress of local Head Start programs in meeting performance standards for children’s cognitive and language development and discusses the use of curricula, teacher mentoring, and child assessments in promoting child development.
This report from the GAO explores what is known about the effectiveness of Head Start and how it compares with other early childhood education and care programs available to low-income children and their families.
The National Institute for Environmental Health Science released an online brochure, Children's Environmental Health, about the effect of environmental hazards on children's health and development.
A five-minute video presentation from MDRC features implementation findings from a promising approach to closing the school achievement gap among different racial and ethnic groups. The video outlines how public school systems in four cities reduced ethnic and racial disparities in academic achievement while raising overall student performance.
This brief from The Urban Institute discusses how the U.S. Military Child Care System evolved into a highly effective child care program and notes how to apply elements contributing to its success - such as staff training, accreditation, and inspections - to civilian child care programs.
As the inaugural issue of the Child Trends DataBank’s new CrossCurrents data brief series, Violence in the Lives of Children takes a look at the incidence of different forms of violence affecting children in America, including exposure to media violence, domestic violence and child abuse, fighting and bullying, and homicide and suicide.
The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Learning First Alliance, and 11 other education organizations recently published a guide designed to help districts, schools, parents, and teachers understand, explain, and discuss the requirements and implications of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. A Practical Guide to Talking With Your Community About No Child Left Behind and Schools in Need of Improvement can be found at the Learning First Alliance web site.