Volume 5, Issue 4

March 10, 2006

Hot Topics

A new report from the National Center for Rural Early Childhood Learning Initiatives analyzed ECLS-K data to determine disparities between rural and non-rural children. The analysis suggests rural children are 60 percent more likely to be placed in special education in kindergarten. Only 66.3 percent of rural white children were proficient in letter recognition upon kindergarten entry compared to 76.6 percent of non-rural white children. Only 54.1 percent of black rural children were proficient in letter recognition compared to 63.7 percent of non-rural black children. Regardless of background, substantially more non-rural children were proficient in identifying the beginning sounds of words than rural children. Rural children had a higher likelihood of attending Head Start before kindergarten, of being in a small kindergarten class (15 or fewer pupils) and of being in an orderly kindergarten class. The analysis was done by Child Trends and appears in Rural Early Childhood Report No. 3. from Mississippi State University.
Public preschools and the child care industry infused the New Jersey state economy with $2.55 billion last year according to a study released by the New Jersey Child Care Economic Impact Council. The report says the 65,300 full-time jobs created make this sector larger than industries such as telecommunications and transportation in New Jersey. Rutgers economist John J. Heldrich who conducted the study said one reason for the industry's low salaries is its low visiblility compared to other industries. State labor department data show that in 2004, pre-K teachers in New Jersey earned $29,200 — not much more than half the $47,730 average for all education workers in the state.
Children in immigrant families from India, China, Europe and the Middle East have higher average rates of preschool attendance than children of U.S. citizens. Children in immigrant families from Central America, Indochina and Mexico, on the other hand, have by far the lowest rates of preschool attendance. While 10 percent of the Pre-K-12 student population is made up of English Language Learners (ELL), 44 percent of them are enrolled in pre-K-3. These are among the analyses to be found along with policy recommendations in a new policy report from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) titled "Reaching All Children?" Access the report at http://www.clasp.org/publications/child_care_immigrant.pdf.
Early research findings suggest parents with young children predisposed to solemnity and potential problem behavior later in life may be able to counteract it with positive environments and, in so doing, reduce the tendency of the genes responsible for the behavior to ultimately express. Dr. David Reiss, director of psychiatric research at the George Washington University Medical Center is leading a study of adopted children in which babies are classified as predisposed to solemn or happy behavior and responses of adoptive parents to these behaviors measured. His early findings confirm what other researchers have said — that children seem predisposed to solemnity or happiness at birth. Moreover, Reiss's work suggests that ensuring positive family responses to innately solemn children can increase the likelihood that the genes able to manifest subsequent problem behavior go quiet. Research has suggested for some time that solemn children are more likely to express problem behaviors later. Reiss previewed his NIH-funded research at the American Psychoanalytical Association. He said babies genetically disposed to solemn behavior elicit less positive behaviors from parents over time than happy ones. Looked at this way, he says, genes can be seen to create negative environments for young children who have them — unless they are counteracted.

NIEER Activities

NIEER Director Steve Barnett gave a presentation on "What Is the Value of Early Childhood Education for Our Society?" at the International Conference on Early Childhood Education at Arnhem, The Netherlands on March 9. Also scheduled to present at the conference were NIEER scientific advisory board members Catherine Snow, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Lawrence Schweinhart, High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.

Calendar

March 8, 2006 - March 10, 2006
Las Vegas, NV – Join administrators, policy makers, and child care professionals for the NCCA's 2006 Leadership Conference.
March 9, 2006 - March 10, 2006
Arnhem, the Netherlands – Attendees will learn about worldwide developments and trends in early childhood education at this conference.
March 31, 2006 - March 31, 2006
Somerset, NJ - This year's Conference on Reading and Writing presented by the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education includes many workshops geared toward the preschool educator.
April 26, 2006 - April 29, 2006
Atlanta, GA – This conference will host more than 40 sessions on child care best practices.

Early Education News Roundup

March 8, 2006
Pioneer Press, St. Paul, MN
Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced a legislative package aimed at enhancing early education programs and improving kindergarten readiness curriculum.
March 4, 2006
Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee, WI
The newest champions of early education are pragmatists connecting the dots between impoverished early childhood and squandered human capital.
March 3, 2006
Times Argus, Barre, VT
The Senate Education Committee tabled a proposal that would have set rules for public preschool programs and instead asked state officials to study the issue further.
March 1, 2006
The Record, West Paterson, NJ
Child care has a bigger impact on New Jersey's economy than many higher-profile industries.
February 26, 2006
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Public dollars spent on children pay off.
February 21, 2006
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Research shows that children who have gone through preschool do better in kindergarten and beyond.
February 19, 2006
The Press of Atlantic City
A report released by the Build Initiative calls on Gov. Jon Corzine to create an Office of Early Learning, which would coordinate all state programs for children, currently managed by about 20 different agencies.
February 17, 2006
Vermont Guardian
Investment in early learning opportunities makes sense because that's a peak time for brain development.

Resources

Comparing learning and development to climbing a ladder, author Kristie Krauerz outlines the importance of having strong, well-aligned programs from pre-K through third grade in this Issue Brief, Ladders of Learning: Fighting Fade-Out by Advancing PK-3 Alignment, from the New America Foundation Early Education Initiative.
Pre-K Now uses a "political barometer" of ten essential conditions associated with states that are serious about expanding pre-k to all children as the framework for this report. Topics examined in the report include gubernatorial support, funding, advocacy, business and community leadership, legislation and governance, and media interest.