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NIEER's weekly newsletter for the latest in early education news

NIEER Weekly

Volume 15, Issue 26


November 18, 2016

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Are Hispanic families closing the PreK gap? How NJ schools are enhancing K-3 and Putting the EVERY in ESSA

Hot Topics

A Fresh Set of Eyes on Hispanic ECE

Three new reports from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families suggest the gap in ECE participation rates between low-income Hispanic children and their peers appears to be closing. Latino families are more willing to enroll their children in ECE programs than ever before. The federal government, states, and local communities have all been doing their part to increase the supply of ECE programs and to encourage even the hardest to reach populations to enroll their children in these programs, in which they have been historically underrepresented. The briefs in the series include:


In collaboration with Child Care and Early Education Research Connections, the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families also conducted a webinar on access and use of existing, large-scale data sets to examine policy-relevant questions about ECE use among low-income Hispanic families. This webinar accompanies four ECE data briefs and two interactive tools.

Yet some challenges remain. NIEER’s 2015 State of Preschool Yearbook released in May included a Special Report on state preschool policies designed to support Dual Language Learners, including many Hispanic children. This report, the first attempt at collecting data on a national level about state policies and supports offered to our youngest DLLs and their teachers, strives to create awareness of their specific needs and inform more effective practice and policy.

An upcoming forum will provide an opportunity to discuss these issues with policy experts, practitioners and thought leaders. The Dual Language Learners Forum, will be hosted January 26 by Early Edge, in partnership with First 5 Fresno County in Fresno, CA, a focal point for innovative work in improving early learning opportunities for DLLs.


New on Preschool Matters…Today!

Putting the ‘Every’ in ESSA: How States Can Prioritize PreK to Grade 3

by Lori Connors-Tadros, Ph.D.

What would it take for “every child to succeed,” as our new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) suggests? We propose a bold challenge–what if every state submitted an ESSA state plan that prioritized resources and strategies on children preschool to third grade?


NIEER Activities

Elementary schools across New Jersey are partnering with the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University to help students in kindergarten through third grade build strong educational foundations needed to succeed in school and in life.

NIEER and Rutgers, in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Education, last year created and published guidelines outlining a comprehensive, continuous, developmentally appropriate, and academically rigorous approach to K-3 education. School districts were invited to participate in a study of their current practice, combined with professional development, with the goal of enhancing their K-3 teaching and learning through implementing the guidelines.

Acting New Jersey Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington noted how the partnership could benefit New Jersey students. “The Department of Education continues to emphasize the importance of quality early education programs,” she said. “This collaborative work can help provide local educators with a model for meeting the comprehensive needs of their students and their students’ families.” Read the press release.


CEELO Update

CEELO Impact Newsletter

Our first edition focuses on implementing ESSA for early education, and a Q&A with Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education Secretary Jeana Ross.


Resources

Strengthening the Kindergarten-Third Grade Continuum

The National Conference of State Legislatures recently published a comprehensive overview of policy options to provide high quality early learning opportunities and reap benefits of earlier investments in quality preschool.

“With the increasing focus and funding on preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, high-quality programs and their subsequent benefits have been sweeping across the nation,” the report states. “To capitalize on their early investments, state policymakers can continue to expand access to high-quality early care and education, but also can turn to the kindergarten through third grade spectrum to continue enhancing quality and set up children on successful, lifelong trajectories.”

Within Our Grasp Achieving Higher Admissions Standards in Teacher Prep

A new National Council on Teacher Quality report, advocates raising admissions standards for teaching programs, stating “a strong body of research supports a relationship between student performance and the selectivity of admissions into teacher preparation.”

“Nations such as Finland, whose students outperform ours on national tests, recruit teacher candidates from the top 10 percent of their college graduates. High admissions standards are especially important because after a candidate is admitted to a preparation program, he or she will probably face few hurdles for entry into the profession…While there are no perfect admissions criteria, the need for a higher bar for program entry is clear.”


Webinar: Job Embedded Professional Development (JEPD) and Coaching: A PDG Peer Exchange Call

Held Nov. 1, 2016, the CEELO webinar engaged state team participants in discussion about definitions and characteristics of job embedded professional development, why it is important, best practices, and selected examples. Participants also considered Virginia’s approach to JEPD and coaching, hearing Ann Lhospital, from UVA-CASTL.


A Supplemental Tool for Structuring Your Plan for Preschool to Third Grade

This new resource supports SEA chiefs as they consider how to approach writing a comprehensive state plan to articulate a coherent system while ensuring that the statutory requirements set forth in the reauthorized ESEA are met.

This guide is intended to encourage states in moving beyond the traditional compliance-oriented approaches for responding to federal requirements. Rather, developing ESSA state plans can serve as an opportunity for chiefs to frame their work within an overall vision for education and demonstrate how different components in that system are part of a coherent approach toward achieving the overall goals of success in college, career, and life.


Early Education in the News

ICYMI: Read this week’s key stories on early childhood education issues.


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