Volume 3, Issue 8

August 27, 2004

Hot Topics

A study of Florida’s 4-year-old high-stakes testing program shows that Florida teachers are overwhelmingly critical of the testing as currently constituted. Released August 9th by the University of South Florida, the study of 4th, 5th, and 6th grade teachers identified four negative aspects of high-stakes testing: unfairness in comparing students, teachers and schools based on test scores; negative effects of increased teaching to the test; pressure felt by students and teachers from testing; and lack of reliability of one-time tests.
The Cartoon Network is joining what many considered a crowded market by announcing it is launching new cartoon programming aimed at preschoolers next spring. A joint venture with Warner Bros. Television Group, the launch will take place scarcely a year after the professional journal Pediatrics reported results of a study concluding that watching television before age 3 increases the chances that children will develop attentional problems by age 7.
Poll results released by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids show that 66 percent of teachers rated kids who attended prekindergarten as "substantially better prepared" for school. The overwhelming majority — 90 percent — of teachers responding also said that "substantially more" children would succeed in school if all families had access to quality prekindergarten.
Preschool activities are becoming more "up close and personal" thanks to teachers with digital cameras. Parents of preschoolers at Greenwich, Connecticut's YWCA full-day preschool program, for instance, receive weekly e-mails with photos of their children's activities during the week. Both teachers and parents report positive results since children's learning is shared more fully at home.

NIEER Activities

NIEER Director Steve Barnett attended the New Mexico Children and Youth Legislative Institute hosted this week in Albuquerque by Lt. Gov. Diane Denish. Highlighting the importance of access to high-quality preschool, Dr. Barnett’s keynote address spoke to the mission of the Children’s Cabinet: to ensure that every child has the opportunities, resources and supports to reach their full potential.

Calendar

September 7, 2004 - September 10, 2004
Las Vegas, NV – Join professionals from the fields of education, law, medicine, and social work at National Association of Counsel for Children's 27th National Children's Law Conference.
September 23, 2004 - September 25, 2004
Dublin, Ireland – The first international conference from the Centre for Early Childhood Development will focus on quality in early childhood care and education.
September 26, 2004 - September 28, 2004
Los Angeles, CA – This year’s conference will provide seminars, forums and workshops led by renowned experts.
October 1, 2004 - October 2, 2004
Melbourne, Australia – This conference will feature international keynote addresses and workshops focusing on new understandings of early childhood.
October 15, 2004 - October 17, 2004
Dallas, Texas – This conference provides opportunity for participants to learn how to apply the latest research for improving the achievement of all students.

Early Education News Roundup

August 26, 2004
Daily Southtown
Research shows that children who attend well-run pre-kindergarten programs are less likely to drop out of school, repeat grades or need special education, compared with those who did not have such exposure.
August 26, 2004
Sun Current (Richfield, MN)
Is your child ready for school?
August 24, 2004
The Arizona Republic
Teachers said children who are not ready for kindergarten hold back the ones who are.
August 24, 2004
The Jackson Citizen Patriot
If you think that preschool centers are mere baby sitting, think again.
August 19, 2004
Sioux City Journal
All of Iowa's children should be able to attend preschool if the state wants its educational system to remain competitive, Gov. Tom Vilsack told a group of educators and child welfare advocates Wednesday. Fifteen percent of Iowa's children have access to preschool, even though research shows that children who attend preschool start kindergarten more prepared, he said.
August 18, 2004
The Hartford Courant
The state currently spends about $48 million annually on preschool programs. About 18,000 children are still arriving in classrooms without preschool, according to state figures.
August 15, 2004
The Desert Sun
California is behind, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
August 12, 2004
USA Today
A quality preschool can make the difference between success and failure. A study of the highly regarded Chicago Child-Parent Centers found that children from those schools were nearly 30% more likely to graduate from high school, about 40% less likely to repeat a grade and 32% less likely to be arrested as a juvenile.
August 12, 2004
USA Today
Preparing a child for school requires what it always has, and it's neither fancy nor costly. It's what millions of parents do every day: talk, read, sing and play with their children.
August 12, 2004
The State, Columbia, SC
If the children don't arrive at school ready to do those things, the slide to an academic status behind their peers begins almost immediately, and becomes a little harder to fix each day. The state estimates that 22,000 children received no preschool education, something that will prove a large obstacle to some of those children's academic success.
August 12, 2004
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Kindergarten teachers believe too many kids arrive so ill-prepared that their needs and behavior harm the rest of the class, a national poll released Wednesday said. Kindergarten would be better "if all families had access to quality pre-kindergarten programs," 93 percent of those polled said.
August 10, 2004
The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA
Gov. Kathleen Blanco on Monday issued standards to ensure teachers at private pre-kindergartens for disadvantaged 4-year-olds are equal to those in the public sector. Under the governor's mandate, private school teachers in the state-funded pre-kindergarten classes will be required to attend a three-day curriculum training workshop, earn 18 more hours of continuing education, equip their classrooms with age-appropriate learning materials before school starts and provide services such as parenting and literacy skills.

Resources

In this paper from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, authors Tony Proscio, Carl Sussman and Amy Gillman discuss the relationship between the design of child care centers and the quality of programs.
Research has shown that 3- and 4-year-olds, especially those who are at risk for school failure, when placed in high-quality preschool programs are more successful in their future academic and social development. This policy brief from NIEER uses research findings and best practices to describe the features of a high-quality preschool program. NIEER's five-minute video, Growing and Learning in Preschool, which shows the essential features of a high-quality preschool program, is also available with the brief.