Volume 9, Issue 3

February 12, 2010

Hot Topics

Two Rutgers University professors affiliated with NIEER have co-authored Preschool Pathways to Science, a new book that serves as a guide for implementing science in preschool classrooms. In addition to writing the book, Rochel Gelman, a NIEER scientific advisory board member known for her research on children's causal and quantitative reasoning, and Kim Brenneman, NIEER assistant research professor and lead author of the policy brief Math and Science in Preschool: Policies and Practice, are content advisers to the popular PBS show Sid the Science Kid. They explain in the video in this week's post on Preschool Matters … Today!
A new longitudinal study finds that the way mothers act when they are playing and solving puzzles with their babies can explain some of the differences in how their children develop executive functions such as controlling impulses and showing mental flexibility. Children of moms who answered their children's requests for help quickly and accurately and talked to the kids about their thoughts and memories during play performed better on tasks requiring executive function.
The states are running out of short-term fixes for the deficits plaguing most of them, forcing them to consider downsizing government and re-examining delivery of services and outdated tax policies, says the State of the States 2010 report just out from The Pew Center on the States. It takes a clear-eyed look at the economic drama unfolding in many states and predicts it will take years for states to return to normal in part because the recession reduced the base for future revenue for many states.
The Star Tribune reports that Art Rolnick, senior VP and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, is retiring from the bank in July after 40 years of service. Rolnick, who has focused attention on cost-benefit analysis of early childhood education, will become co-director of the Human Capital Resource Collaborative at the Humphrey Institute, University of Minnesota. He said he hopes to raise funds and develop pilot early education programs in Minneapolis, his home town of Detroit, and perhaps other cities.
The distance education web portal eLearners.com says that online degree programs for early childhood education rank seventh on its list of top 10 online degree searches. The company says it has seen an increase in searches for the "helping professions" since the downturn in the economy began.

New on nieer.org

In the latest issue of Preschool Matters, NIEER looks at state budgets and preschool education, one of many areas where the funding progress seen in recent years has taken a considerable blow. Other articles in the new issue include:

Calendar

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

February 12, 2010
Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, IL
Like many preschool programs, District 50's is funded by state grants. Unlike many programs, District 50 has received most of the grant money that is expected from the state.
February 9, 2010
Omaha World-Herald
Reading skills span from pre-kindergarten to the third-grade level. In between are students who work on three-letter words and construct sentences. Some educators say that those gaps in ages and skills are too wide for today's rigorous kindergarten classrooms.
February 3, 2010
Houston Chronicle
Early-childhood education is not just an education imperative — it needs to be a national security priority. Let me tell you why. Seventy-five percent of young Americans are not qualified to join the military, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. The three primary reasons are inadequate education, criminality and physical unfitness.
February 2, 2010
Orlando Sentinel
Florida's pre-kindergarten program is in financial trouble — facing a nearly $29 million budget shortfall this year and a worse deficit next year. The budget woes are raising fears that a program meant to offer "high quality" preschool classes is on a downward slide.
January 31, 2010
The Sag Harbor Express, Sag Harbor, NY
Countless studies have proven the numerous benefits of this type of early education, including increasing the rates of graduation, helping students perform better on standardized tests, decreasing the rates of crimes perpetrated by youths and reducing the number of special education students.
January 29, 2010
The Telegraph, Alton, IL
Gov. Pat Quinn came to Alton on Friday to talk about high-speed rail, but a group of demonstrators had the issue of education funding on their minds. Several parents and children attended the news conference at Alton's Amtrak Station, carrying signs asking for the state to make its payments for early childhood education, which is at risk for elimination in the Alton School District.

Resources

This report from The Campaign for Educational Equity, Teachers College, Columbia University examines school funding in New Jersey since the state's new school funding formula went into effect. It finds that disparities in funding between New Jersey's Abbott districts and non-Abbott districts are beginning to reappear.
This new brief from Pre-K Now, released in partnership with the National School Board Association, offers school and district leaders guidance for using Title I funds for early education. It makes the case that high-quality pre-K helps fulfill the purpose of Title I, describes the range of early childhood activities Title I can support, and highlights issues to address when collaborating with community-based providers and/or state pre-K.
This report from The Urban Institute examines the impact that immigration enforcement policies have on children (the majority of whom are U.S. citizens) of unauthorized immigrants. It chronicles the experiences of more than 100 children affected by work site raids or targeted arrests by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) in Grand Island, NE; New Bedford, MA; Van Nuys, CA; Postville, IA; Miami, FL; and Rogers and Springdale, AK.