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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 16, Issue 17

April 28, 2017

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Big News in the Big Apple; Parity in Pre-K, Early Ed in ESSA

Hot Topics

Start Spreadin’ the News…

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio this week launched the next big thing in pre-K: free, full-day, high-quality education for every 3-year-old in the city by 2021.

Rolling out first where it’s needed most, the new program will start providing enhanced family services and teacher training for 10,000 3-year-olds already in preschool and then provide “3-K” for families in two of the city’s lowest-income areas of South Bronx and Brooklyn.

3-K For All builds on the Mayor’s Pre-K for All program, started in 2013-14, which has converted half-day seats to full-day, created new pre-K centers, and partnered with community providers to expand access to high-quality pre-K for 4-year-olds. Today, that program reaches about 70,000 children.

Washington DC already provides free pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds in a mixed delivery system of high-quality programs; yet the scale, depth and diversity of the NYC proposal makes it noteworthy.

To reach such ambitious goals, NYC will need additional state and federal support. They also need to find space and—perhaps most daunting—enough strong teachers to staff highly effective programs.

Attracting top-quality teachers to pre-K classrooms and keeping them is often a challenge. Our new report on public pre-K compensation parity shows the vast majority of publicly funded pre-K programs do not require equivalent pay and benefits for pre-K teachers compared to kindergarten teachers with the same qualifications. (See below)

Such gaps, combined with increased stress and burnout, can contribute to high turnover rates and subpar performance among prekindergarten teachers, lowering classroom quality and reducing early learning gains for children.

So simply adding another year of education isn’t good enough—you have to do it right. New York City’s Pre-K for All has been notable for its program quality. A sustained commitment will be needed if this grand experiment is to make long-term inroads on inequality, improve the lives of all New Yorkers and become a model for others.

We invite you to follow NIEER on Twitter @PreschoolToday and Facebook at Preschool Today. Please share your social media handles so we can connect. 

New on Preschool Matters…Today!

Playing Fair: Teacher Compensation Parity Policies and State Funded Pre-K Programs

To document the extent of the compensation parity problem among public pre-K programs and identify programs providing parity for pre-K teachers, NIEER partnered with the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE). In a policy brief, In Pursuit of Pre-K Parity: A Proposed Framework for Understanding and Advancing Policy and Practice, and a research report, Teacher Compensation Parity Policies and State Funded Pre-K Programswe look at the landscape of compensation parity policy—policies seeking to improve financial rewards for teaching preschool relative to teaching older children.

NIEER Activities

April 27-May 1, 2017 
San Antonio

NIEER Assistant Research Professor Zijia Li, whose research interests include statistical, psychometric, and measurement theories and their applications in early education, will be presenting during a roundtable and a paper session.  
Early Childhood Program Quality and Assessment 
Paper presentation: Friday April 28 12:25 to 1:55 pm 
Title: Longitudinal Measurement Invariance of the Preschool Child Observation Record

Innovative Research on Factor Analysis and Dimensionality

Roundtable: Friday April 28, 4:05-5:35 pm  
Title:  Measurement of Preschool Teacher Self-Efficacy 

NIEER Research Project Coordinator Hebbah El-Moslimany, who focuses on STEM in early childhood, will be presenting during roundtable and a paper session.

Math Paper: Friday, April 28 2:15-3:45 pm
Designing a STEM Professional Development Program for Preschool Teachers, with Supports for Dual Language Learners 

MASST (Math and Science Storytime)
Roundtable p
resentation: Monday, May 1 10:35 am -12:05 pm 
Expanding a Math and Science Library-Based Program to Reach Preschool Teachers and Children

CEELO Update

What’s the Right Thing To Do for Every Child to Succeed?

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) is proud to partner with New America on on a new blog series Early Ed in ESSA: Helping Every Child Succeed highlighting early learning opportunities and challenges under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides both significant flexibility and opportunity to state and local education agencies to increase access to high quality early learning programs, align and coordinate birth to third grade programs, and prepare and support highly effective teachers. These strategies, and others, that address the needs of young learners—particularly those most at risk of school failure—are exactly the right things to do. Read more.


STARTING AHEAD: A stunning photo exhibit on early childhood education

The Children’s Movement of Florida has partnered with Miami International airport to share an early childhood education photo exhibit displayed in D Concourse. Three award-winning photojournalists captured moments between young children and preschool teachers, with the portraits providing lessons in the value of an early education. View the exhibit photos.

Unequal Playing Field?

The Urban Institute this week published a new report looking at what states spend on public education, health and social services for children. Arizona, for example, spent less than $4,900 per child in 2013, whereas New York spent slightly more than $12,200 per child (after adjusting for cost of living).

Through their funding of public schools, health systems, and social services, state and local governments provide resources and services to support children’s healthy development. Policy implications include:

  • Low-spending states with increasing child populations may face a fiscal and political challenge
  • The federal government could respond to shifts in child populations and disparities in state spending on children
  • Block grants lock in current spending patterns at the expense of children in states experiencing population growth
  • Consider increasing federal spending on children to offset declines in state and local spending

Exploring Racial Equity for Infants and Toddlers: The Case for Justice from the Start

A recent policy brief from the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law focuses on Illinois families, laying out ways the state can invest in effective programs and services for the most vulnerable infants and toddlers, including home visits, child care assistance, early intervention and screening and health care.

“One in 10 infants in Illinois lives in deep poverty, facing obstacles to healthy development from the first breath,” the report states. “Children born into poor families are at higher risk of trauma, poor nutrition, housing insecurity, and inadequate health care, all of which can harm an infant’s growing brain. Developmental delays, learning disabilities, and a lifetime of poor health can result from these early deprivations.”

Best Practices in Early Care and Education for Young Children Experiencing Homelessness

As part of its work with the William Penn Foundation-funded Building Early Links for Learning (BELL) project, R&E Group conducted a landscape analysis to identify opportunities for better serving the needs of young children experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia and their families. R&E Group analyzed state and federal data sets relating to child and student homelessness, held a series of interviews with key stakeholders working at the juncture of young child homelessness and education, and reviewed the existing grey and peer-reviewed literatures. The landscape analysis provides a detailed characterization of young child homelessness in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, and provides suggestions for new or improved program practices and municipal and state policies that will promote the healthy development and well-being of all children in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

The landscape analysis can be found here, and an accompanying data snapshot of student homelessness in Pennsylvania can be found here. For more information or questions about the paper, contact Will Curran-Groome.

Hispanic Children’s Participation in Early Care and Education: A Look at Utilization Patterns of Chicago’s Publicly Funded Programs

According to a new report released from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families, 83 percent of low-income Hispanic children in Chicago participated in early care and education (ECE) programs before entering kindergarten in the 2013-2014 school year.

“Contrary to widespread perception that low-income Hispanic households are not receptive or accessing publicly funded ECE programs, this report, suggests that Chicago may have found a way to start closing the disparity gap in accessing and utilizing ECE programs,” said Dr. Michael López, co-principal investigator of the NRCHCF.

Key Findings of “On the Road to Kindergarten:”

  • Hispanic children were more likely than non-Hispanic children to participate in any type of ECE overall, and in particular to participate in Head Start and Preschool for All (PFA) prior to kindergarten entry in 2013-2014.
  • Children where Spanish was spoken at home were more likely to participate in a publicly funded ECE programs than those where Spanish was not spoken at home.
  • Children were also more likely to participate in publicly funded ECE when one or both parents were born outside of the U.S.


The Tennessee Department of Education

Tennessee is seeking an executive director for the Office of EarlyLearning located in Nashville and focused on offering high-quality, developmentally appropriate early learning opportunities for the state’s  youngest learners to ensure they enter kindergarten prepared to grow and thrive in school. Please see the linked job announcement and e-mail a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references to by May 15.


NIEER is seeking a Research Professor/Co-Director to assume major leadership responsibilities for the development and management of research, development of assessments including assessments of practice, and the provision of professional development and technical assistance relating to systems design and large-scale implementation of early learning initiatives.

To apply, please use this link provided by Rutgers University. Applicants are expected to provide a cover letter, CV, and three letters of recommendation.

Early Education in the News

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

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