Volume 6, Issue 16

August 24, 2007

Hot Topics

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine announced a plan to more than double the number of 4-year-olds receiving state pre-K. The new Start Strong proposal calls for serving an additional 17,000 at-risk 4-year-olds by 2012. The Virginia Preschool Initiative currently serves 12,500 at-risk 4-year-olds. The expanded access, which Kaine's office said could serve up to 67 percent of the state's 4-year-olds when fully implemented, will cost $75 million more annually. Plans also call for a voluntary 5-Star Quality Rating System.
The recently passed 2007-2008 California state budget contains $155 million more for state pre-K than it did three years ago. It continues the $50 million investment in preschool expansion that began last year, providing access to an additional 12,000 children. Also included is a 4.5 percent hike in per-child funding for all child development programs, including state pre-K. According to Preschool California, two bills now in the legislature call for further expansion of early childhood education.
The Dallas Morning News reports that more schools with high numbers of English Language Learners (ELL) are using the dual language approach to teaching young children. In Dallas, children in such programs receive about half their instruction in English and half in Spanish. The goal is for the kids to become bilingual while at the same time developing their academic and social skills. Virginia P. Collier and Wayne P. Thomas, who study dual language at George Mason University, told the Morning News that dual language programs boost test scores for limited-English students "with about twice as much power as other types of programs." A NIEER study of a similar program in New Jersey found some advantages for ELL and English-speaking children.
Twenty three percent of the 600 women responding to a survey from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids said they are not having children or are waiting to have them due to the high cost of child care. The women in the survey saying cost of care would affect their decisions were between 18 and 40. For women in the $35,000 to $50,000 income range, one in three said the cost of child care and preschool made them decide against having a baby or delay having one. For African-American women, the figure was 40 percent and for Hispanic women, the figure was 33 percent. The survey results are available at http://www.fightcrime.org/releases.php?id=347.

New on nieer.org

Twenty-nine governors proposed significant expansions of state-funded preschool this year. This issue of Preschool Matters features an article on the momentum to provide voluntary preschool education for all and the importance of quality on positive outcomes.

Also in Preschool Matters:

  • New Mexico, New Jersey: State Preschool Programs with Positive Effects
  • Newsmaker: Dr. Gary Mangiofico of the Los Angeles Universal Preschool
  • Financing New Facilities: Smart Money for Tomorrow's Preschools
  • Overlooked Benefits of Vaccination


October 21, 2007 - October 23, 2007
Chicago, IL - The theme for this year's conference is "The Journey Continues: Giving Our Children a Chance."
October 28, 2007 - October 30, 2007
San Diego, CA - Join participants from across the country at the National Even Start Association's 13th annual conference.
November 7, 2007 - November 10, 2007
Chicago, IL - This conference provides participants with a variety of sessions focusing on practical experience and applied research.

Early Education News Roundup

August 22, 2007
The Washington Post
The questions about which children will benefit most from government-funded preschool and how great the investment should be are at the core of Virginia's effort to expand pre-kindergarten but have also arisen in Maryland.
August 20, 2007
St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, FL
In many ways, VPK has proven a huge success. It serves more than half of eligible 4-year-olds in the state, using a growing mix of public, private and faith-based providers. But at the same time, the program has been criticized for the way providers are evaluated, for the education levels of its teachers, and the amount it spends on each child.
August 20, 2007
New Orleans CityBusiness
Blueprint Louisiana recommends a two-pronged approach to the problem focused on improving education for kindergarteners and graduating seniors. The Blueprint plan relies on Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's nationally recognized LA4 program targeting pre-kindergartners and a statewide high school redesign effort to provide templates for education reform.
August 17, 2007
The Dallas Morning News
One by one, Texas school districts are abandoning the bilingual education model that has been used to teach English to Spanish-speaking kids for the past 35 years. Drs. Collier and Thomas – the most prominent researchers in the field – say dual programs boost test scores with about twice as much power as other types of programs for limited-English students.
August 14, 2007
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Pre-k is one of the few educational initiatives that can narrow the gap between lower-income children and middle-class peers. In an economy dependent on what workers can do with their minds rather than their hands, Georgia has to create a broader and deeper pool of high-skilled workers to remain competitive.
August 12, 2007
The Birmingham News, Birmingham, AL
Gov. Bob Riley told business leaders here Saturday he will push for voluntary preschool for all Alabama youngsters as the next priority to move state schools forward.
August 10, 2007
The Boston Globe
Science is talking to policy makers, explaining how they can use neuroscience and child development research to create better preschool, health, and family-strengthening programs -- instead of basing efforts to improve children's lives on politics or personal preferences. The benefits of policies based on evidence of success are clear in a new report, "A Science-Based Framework for Early Childhood Policy," released this week by Harvard's Center on the Developing Child.


The U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse recently posted its review of 17 early childhood interventions aimed at children three to five years old in center-based settings. Each intervention review covers six domains — oral language, print knowledge, phonological processing, early reading/writing, cognition and math. Information on the developer, scope of use, teaching aspects, cost and research results is also provided. The Clearinghouse says interventions with a primary focus on socio-emotional development and approaches to learning may be addressed in a subsequent phase of its review. The new review is available at http://www.whatworks.ed.gov/Topic.asp?tid=13&ReturnPage=default.asp.
This paper by Douglas J. Besharov, Justus A. Myers, and Jeffrey S. Morrow at the American Enterprise Institute calculates the actual per-child costs of Head Start (including Early Head Start), child care provided under the Child Care and Development Fund, and state-funded preschool programs. Costs per child varied dramatically between the programs. The paper is available at http://www.welfareacademy.org/pubs/Early_Childhood_Education_and_Care_Costs_07_0629.pdf.
This report by Catherine Scott-Little (University of North Carolina), Jim Lesko (Delaware State Department of Education), Jana Martella (Council of Chief State School Officers), and Penny Milburn (Iowa State Department of Education) shows that nearly all states have developed early learning standards for preschool-age children and that progress is being made in developing infant-toddler early learning standards as well. The report discusses the implications and trends associated with this progress as well as areas in need of further research.
NIEER Assistant Research Professor Debra J. Ackerman reports on the professional development provided to caregivers in the U.S. military's child development centers, explaining the model used and the phased approach to training. The paper highlights the interrelated inputs important in teacher professional development systems in early childhood education — components that may offer lessons for non-military policymakers as well.
This brief by Karen Appleyard and Lisa Berlin at Duke University explains the emotional ties between infants and their parents known as attachments, illustrates with examples, and describes the categories of secure and unsecure attachments. The authors draw lessons from research on the subject and provide guidelines for supporting healthy relationships between young children and their parents.