Volume 9, Issue 1

January 15, 2010

Hot Topics

The latest results from the Head Start Impact Study were released this week. As originally reported, providing access to Head Start has modest benefits for both 3- and 4-year-olds in the cognitive, health, and parenting domains, and for 3-year-olds in the social-emotional domain. However, the advantages of Head Start are no longer evident at first grade. NIEER Co-Director Steve Barnett said that, like the 2005 findings from the same study, the new results are likely to be taken out of context by opponents of publicly funded preschool education. He writes about the subject in his recent post on Preschool Matters ... Today!
Public schools in the American South no longer enroll a majority of white students when people of other backgrounds are considered, says a new report released by the Southern Education Foundation (SEF). Whites now comprise 49 percent of the student population while Blacks comprise 27 percent, Hispanics 20 percent, Asian-Pacific people 3 percent and Native Americans and others 1 percent. The SEF also says that in 2007, children eligible for free or reduced-price lunch became a majority in the South's public schools.
If Michigan invested the additional $300 million per year required to raise participation of 4-year-olds in state pre-K from the current 18 percent level of attendance to 70 percent, the present value of that investment in enhanced workforce productivity would be $834 million, says Timothy Bartik, senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo. The universal pre-K recommendation is one of eight Bartik presented at the University of Michigan economic forecast conference. They're detailed in his new working paper What Should Michigan Be Doing to Promote Long-Run Economic Development?
State Budget Cuts: America's Kids Pay the Price is a report just published by the National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies (NACCRA) that provides a state-by-state run-down of early childhood programs that have fallen victim to the budget axe. California and Connecticut are leading the pack by cutting nine programs each. Included are recommendations for future investment.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has announced that Jerlean Daniel is the executive director designate of the association. She will replace outgoing Executive Director Mark R.Ginsberg on July 1 of this year. Dr. Daniel has most recently served as a deputy executive director of the association and is also a past president. A member of NAEYC for more than 30 years, she joined NAEYC as a staff member after 21 years at the University of Pittsburgh where she served as a Chair of Psychology in Education. In addition, she was director of the University Child Development Center for 18 years and it received NAEYC accreditation under her leadership. Dr. Ginsberg, who has been NAEYC executive director since 1999, will become Dean of the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University. We wish both of them great success in their new endeavors.

Calendar

February 3, 2010 - February 6, 2010
Denver, CO – The National Association for Bilingual Education's annual conference is designed for parents, teachers, administrators, and policymakers dedicated to serving English Language Learners in the United States.
February 18, 2010 - February 18, 2010
This web-based conference with feature live, interactive sessions documenting best practices.
March 9, 2010 - March 13, 2010
Washington, DC – The theme for this year's symposium is "Making Connections: All Children, All Families, All Settings."
March 25, 2010 - March 28, 2010
Boston, MA – The theme for this year's AMS conference is "Montessori in the 21st Century."
April 8, 2010 - April 11, 2010
Houston, TX – The theme for this year's National Association of Elementary School Principals convention and expo is "Mission Possible: Enrich Your World and Beyond."
April 20, 2010 - April 23, 2010
Chicago, IL – The theme of this year's conference is "Winds of Change."
June 29, 2010 - July 1, 2010
New Brunswick, NJ – The Rutgers University Institute for Improving Student Achievement's Summer Institute 2010 will begin a series of professional development sessions based on McREL's research on the effects of leadership on student achievement.

Early Education News Roundup

January 12, 2010
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Economists argue that educating children in these vital years is also a superb development initiative, producing more high school and college graduates with a potential for higher earnings, while reducing the demands for remedial education, repeating grades, crime prevention, and prisons down the road.
January 12, 2010
The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, LA
The $825,000 cut to prekindergarten statewide comes at a time when several local educators say they already struggle to adequately finance the programs.
January 11, 2010
The Forum, Fargo, ND
After decades of early education being set aside in North Dakota, programs such as pre-K are on the upswing in the state thanks to federal aid. The state has received nearly $30 million in stimulus funds, which can be used for early childhood education or pre-K programming.
January 11, 2010
Education.com
One of the biggest reasons preschool teachers site leaving the field is salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages of preschool teachers were $23,870 in May 2008, with the bottom 10 percent earning less than $16,030.
January 11, 2010
Press-Register, Mobile, AL
Thanks to far-sighted leadership at both the state and local level, the pre-kindergarten program has suffered few ill effects from the recession and repeated school funding cuts. We hope this leadership bodes well for the future of the program, which remains too small to have a major impact on the state's preschool population.
January 9, 2010
The Boston Globe
The teacher is Kaltun Guled, a Somali "home visitor" with the Parent-Child Home Program, which aims to prepare children challenged by limited educational opportunities for entering school. Based on the premise that there's a connection between parent-child verbal interaction and success in school, the program models reading and play activities to parents who might otherwise not have the ability, or the opportunity, to do it on their own.
January 7, 2010
Times-Georgian, Carrollton, GA
The program, which accepts 180 students and is always full, has accepted students on a first-come, first-served basis, but with the poor economy the school system expects demand for the free preschool program to increase.
January 6, 2010
SnoValley Star, Snoqualmie, WA
Looking back to our younger years, many of us recall kindergarten and early elementary grades, and because of those memories we assume that preschool should be about worksheets and homework and packing our little ones’ brains with ABCs and arithmetic. Not so. Of course, preschool is about learning, but for 3- and 4-year-olds learning is primarily the act of play.
January 6, 2010
Press of Atlantic City
Governor Jon S. Corzine on Jan. 6 signed an Executive Order establishing the New Jersey Council for Young Children. The role of the council will be to ensure collaboration and coordination among early childhood programs in the state and maintain compliance with federal guidelines.
January 6, 2010
The Jacksonville Observer, Jacksonville, FL
It’s too early to tell whether the recession has had a profound effect on public schools’ educational mission. But parents and educators across the nation say it’s already bringing subtle changes to the culture of many public schools as some families seek the personal attention they received from private schools.
January 6, 2010
The Leaf-Chronicle, Clarksville, TN
Data from the local school system shows that its pre-K program is getting results that help young children create a sound footing for their education. Since the program began in 2005 when legislation was passed for the state to fund it, the pre-K program has grown from 40 students in two classrooms to 400 students in 20 classrooms at 16 sites across the system.
January 5, 2010
The Wall Street Journal
Child-care advocates in the U.S. have called on government to increase support for high-quality child care. The 2008 economic-stimulus package contained $2 billion in child-care aid, bringing total federal child-care aid to $7 billion last year. Many people, however, prefer that government stay out of early-childhood care, leaving responsibility to families and holding down costs to taxpayers.
January 4, 2010
Wyoming Tribune Eagle
[Gov.] Freudenthal says Even Start, which costs the state $1.4M, duplicates other childhood and adult literacy programs. Even Start has five centers across the state and supporters say it helps in ways other programs can't.
January 4, 2010
The Times, Shreveport, LA
Louisiana is making "significant progress" toward preparing youngsters for kindergarten, according to data released last month, but educators say more must be done to provide universal preschool to all children. In terms of education, pre-K enrollment in Louisiana public schools increased 57 percent between 2000 and 2009, raising the total head count from 21,290 in the 2000-01 school year to 33,438 during the 2008-09 school year.

Resources

This report from Grantmakers for Education incorporates responses from 140 member organizations to an online survey. It covers which education issues are drawing the most attention, what funders see on the horizon for grantmaking and education, and how they are changing their strategies.
This website from Nobel prize-winning economist James Heckman provides a variety of tools and information on the economic case for investing in early care and education.
This policy brief from the National Center for Children in Poverty examines the availability of resources for young children with social-emotional or behavioral problems and provides policy recommendations for improved services.