Volume 3, Issue 2

March 26, 2004

Hot Topics

NIEER releases new landmark, 50-state study, The State of Preschool: 2003 State Preschool Yearbook. The Yearbook is the first in an annual series reporting on programs funded by state governments to educate children at ages 3 and 4. The Yearbook compares state-funded preschool programs in terms of accessibility, resources, and quality. Read more about the report on the NIEER web site at http://nieer.org/yearbook/.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids releases new state by state briefs on the need for high-quality pre-kindergarten. These briefs show that thousands of the most at-risk children are not receiving high-quality programs proven to reduce crime and save money, and that parents are unable to afford the programs that are offered. These briefs may be found on the Fight Crime website.

NIEER Activities

This proposal from Colorado is just one of the stories featured in the December issue of NIEER’s Preschool Matters. The newsletter also includes a new study from the island of Mauritius, an interview with Rob Reiner, and a tribute to early education pioneer, Dr. David Weikart.

Calendar

April 12, 2004 - April 16, 2004
San Diego, CA – The theme of the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting is "Enhancing the Visibility and Credibility of Educational Research."
April 14, 2004 - April 17, 2004
New Orleans, LA – The Association for Childhood Education International’s annual conference.
April 19, 2004 - April 24, 2004
Anaheim, CA – The National Head Start Association’s annual conference includes special tracks in family and community partnerships, grant writing, transportation safety, and nutrition.

Early Education News Roundup

March 24, 2004
The Miami Herald
PNC Financial Services Corp. made a pledge last fall to invest a jaw-dropping $100 million in early childhood education over the next 10 years. In the first phase of the project, a dozen early childhood education programs in five states, including two Head Start programs in Pittsburgh, will share $503,000 in grants this year for programs that help children enter school ready to learn.
March 23, 2004
The Boston Globe
Most of the benchmark studies -- including the Perry Preschool and another classic, gold-standard study called the Carolina Abecedarian Project -- have included only poor children. W. Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, a New Jersey think tank, said that while the research does show greater preschool benefits for poor children, studies indicate that better-off children benefit as well.
March 23, 2004
Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday the House blueprint for Florida's new pre-kindergarten program falls short of his requirements. Last week, a House committee approved a pre-K bill that would give parents a scholarship, or voucher, they could use to pay for a three-hour-a-day or a summer program at private, public or religious schools or a book- or computer-based program for teaching children at home.
March 23, 2004
The Honolulu Advertiser
Constructing a system of quality care and education for Hawai'i's young children is our state's next great educational challenge. True, the obstacles are often daunting; parents lack affordable options, and preschools struggle to hire and retain degreed teachers who make $10 to $12 an hour.
March 17, 2004
The Southern Illinoisan
Voices for Illinois Children, a child advocacy group, released its 12th annual Illinois Kids Count survey results.
March 16, 2004
The Star Tribune, Minneapolis, MN
Surveys by Hennepin and Ramsey counties show that parents who lost subsidies are resorting to inferior sources of child care, sometimes merely leaving children with older siblings. A new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University suggests that Minnesota doesn't even finish in the top 20 states when it comes to early-childhood education.
March 14, 2004
St. Petersburg Times
Education research makes a powerful point about young children: The earlier they begin to learn, the better chance they have in life. That was the driving force behind a 2002 constitutional amendment to require prekindergarten classes in Florida and the reason a task force led by Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings concluded that those classes must be small and led by qualified teachers.
March 14, 2004
Daily Record
More than 100 children in Morris County's Head Start, along with nearly a half-million 4- and 5-year-olds nationwide, are getting an early taste of standardized testing before entering kindergarten. Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, said the biggest flaw in the testing plan is that there is no way to compare what would happen if these children did not attend Head Start.
March 13, 2004
The Record
Implemented two years ago, the Tools of the Mind educational program has been nurturing pre-kindergartners' self-regulation and social skills through specially designed activities. The basis of the curriculum is to instill self-regulation by teaching the importance of planning ahead and remembering routines, all the while controlling emotions and physical actions, said Danielle Erickson, a Tools of the Mind resource coordinator who taught the program in Colorado before coming to Passaic.
March 12, 2004
The Star-Ledger
Families in New Jersey's special-needs school districts would be asked to pick up some of the tab for extended preschool services, under a plan included in Gov. James E. McGreevey's proposed $26.3 billion state budget. The proposal, designed to save the state $17.1 million, would institute new co-payments for the 30,000 3- and 4-year-olds signed up for day care services in conjunction with court-ordered preschool in the 30 needy districts.
March 11, 2004
The Boston Globe
The Early Education and Care Council, comprised of the commissioners of the state departments of education and public health, and the Office of Child Care Services, last week released a 15-page report outlining six recommendations for improving the state's education system for 3- and 4-year-olds. The report calls for the creation of an oversight board to improve the coordination of services and communications between state officials, as well as more on-site technical assistance, and professional development for preschool instructors.
March 10, 2004
The Indianapolis Star
Left empty-handed by the Indiana legislature, Gov. Joe Kernan now is pursuing his goal of establishing full-day kindergarten and other early childhood education programs through a commission. Kernan said Tuesday he will create by executive order the Early Learning and School Readiness Commission.
March 7, 2004
Orlando Sentinel
Florida is gearing up to launch the free, pre-kindergarten program voters demanded two years ago. But its previous effort to improve youngsters' "school readiness" -- kicked off in 1999 with great fanfare -- has faltered so badly that Gov. Jeb Bush now wants to scrap it.
March 3, 2004
The Jackson Citizen Patriot, MI
Gov. Granholm's proposed 2005 budget does not increase spending on every education program, but one winner is clearly preschool aid. While the shift in priorities is bound to raise questions, it is a smart move in the long term.
March 2, 2004
The Christian Science Monitor
But in 21st century India, where spaces at even ordinary preschools are far fewer than the demand, Mr. Gupta was shocked to learn that his daughter - then a 3 year old - would have to take an exam to get into a neighborhood preschool. He was even more shocked to find that many parents were sending their children to rigorous cram schools.
February 25, 2004
Education Week
A new "report card" on state-financed preschool programs concludes that states still have a long way to go to provide young children with high-quality educational experiences before they start kindergarten. While the report issued last week by the National Institute for Early Education Research, in New Brunswick, N.J., doesn't give states a grade or a score, it does compare them with other states on a number of measures.
February 24, 2004
The News Journal, Wilmington, DE
Delaware is considering sweeping changes to day care centers that would require better-educated teachers, more staff and smaller groups for nearly 30,000 children, as well as give the state oversight of dozens of private school programs. The goal is to help prepare young children for school and improve the stature of day care workers, said Lynn Jezyk, rule development manager for the state Office of Child Care Licensing.
February 23, 2004
U.S. Newswire
Cincinnati Chief of Police Tom Streicher and Glendale Chief of Police Matthew Fruchey helped a law enforcement organization release a report today showing that quality child care cuts crime and called on Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH) and George Voinovich (R-OH) to back an increase in federal child care investments. That's especially important for Ohio, where, according to the report, only one in ten eligible children is currently served by the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the federal government's primary source of child care assistance for working families.
February 23, 2004
The Home News Tribune
A study done by Rutgers University's National Institute for Early Education Research ranked New Jersey's court-ordered preschool program among the three best in the country. The study measured investment, not outcomes -- New Jersey's program is still to young for such analysis -- but it showed New Jersey leading the pack in providing preschool for 3-year-olds as well as manageable class sizes and competent, well-trained teachers for both 3- and 4-year-olds.
February 23, 2004
The Des Moines Register
Preschool helps children develop social skills and enjoy learning through play. The building blocks for reading and math can be laid in preschool. That's why state and federal governments together should fund universal preschool and require preschool teachers to have bachelor's degrees.
February 19, 2004
Stateline.org
Georgia, New Jersey and Oklahoma outpace the nation in providing high-quality preschool for 3- and 4-year- olds while most states lag in early education efforts, according to a report released Feb. 19. W. Steven Barnett, one of the report's authors, told Stateline.org that preschool sets the foundation for the entire school career.

Resources

The American Federation of Teachers’ Winter 2003/2004 issue of American Educator focuses on antisocial behavior in schools and why early intervention is crucial, but rare.
With estimates for FY 2004 and 2005, the funds included in the State tables are for programs that allocate funds to States using statutory formulas. States and other entities may also receive Department funds awarded on a competitive basis.
Does the level of resources available to schools positively affect student achievement? This Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) ResearchBrief focuses on a 1996 meta-analysis examining the assumption that resource levels do matter.
This new online tool from the Education Commission of the States (ECS) and Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) is designed to help policymakers, education leaders, reporters and others better understand and evaluate education research.