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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 16, Issue 20

May 19, 2017

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Happy Birthday Head Start; DLLs in ESSA; PreK Research webinar

Hot Topics

Birthday Wish

The first five years of life can set children on a path toward success–or failure–in school and beyond.  Understanding the unique importance of these early years, the federal government in 1965 launched Head Start to boost the learning and development of young children disadvantaged by poverty.

And we’re glad they did.

This week marked 52 years since Head Start launched. Since its creation as part of the War on Poverty, Head Start has expanded and innovated, pioneering home visiting services, infant-toddler care, and raising the standard for teacher training. For example, the percent of Head Start teachers with a bachelor’s degree or higher increased nationwide from 44 percent in 2007 to 73 percent in 2015, a direct result of requirements included in the 2007 Head Start reauthorization.

In State(s) of Head Start, NIEER describes and analyzes in detail Head Start enrollment, funding, quality, and duration, state-by-state. The report focuses on the 2014-2015 program year but also provides longitudinal data beginning with the 2006-2007 program year.

Our report found the program has never been funded adequately, forcing national and local program administrators to trade-off enrollment against hours and quality, and preventing the program from expanding to serve all children in need regardless of where they live. Recent re-analyses of the Head Start Impact study indicate that expanding access to Head Start to the many young children in poverty not enrolled in any preschool program would yield significant benefits.

We believe all eligible children, regardless of geography, should have an equal opportunity to attend a high-quality Head Start where qualified teachers are adequately paid.

The new administration has an opportunity to continue making progress and to move closer to living up to the promise of Head Start for as many children as possible no matter where they live.

New on Preschool Matters Today! Blog

Concerning English Learner Policy Trends in States’ New Accountability Systems

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) is proud to partner with New America on this blog series highlighting early learning opportunities and challenges under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This post originally appeared May 11, 2017 on the New America site.

Regular readers know that New America’s Dual Language Learners National Work Group has been keeping a close eye on the genesis, passage, and early implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). We’ve analyzed how the law, the primary federal legislation governing elementary and secondary education, changes No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB) English learner (EL) policies.

NIEER Policy Briefs Archives

Preparing Young Hispanic Dual Language Learners for a Knowledge Economy

This policy report, released in January 2013, addresses issues of preschool access and quality that are specific to Hispanic children but which can also apply to some other largely disadvantaged and immigrant groups.

“As the United States works to reclaim economic prosperity, the Hispanic population–with the largest growth in population over the last decade–will likely play a key role in any economic resurgence. Educational success is a crucial part of economic recovery. While statistics on the educational success of Hispanic children are hardly encouraging, high-quality early education programs, especially models that promote language proficiency, have the potential to increase their educational success.  his brief addresses issues of preschool access and quality that are specific to Hispanic children but which can also apply to some other largely disadvantaged and immigrant groups.”

CEELO Update

The NYC Pre-K for All Quality Standards describe key practices and structures that are essential in high-quality pre-K programs to prepare children for success, many of which are related to pre-K learning environments at a program and the interactions between teaching staff and children. 
Pre-K Program Assessments hosts webinars and slides developed by the New York City Department of Education to support practitioners in using the CLASS and ECERS-R. Programs outside of New York City should note all of the ECERS-R resources reflect the NYCDOE approved modifications to the ECERS-R tool–see the Additional Notes document for more details. 


 A Tale of Two Pre-K Leaders

A new report released this week by New America’s Early & Elementary Education Policy team found that although child care center directors and elementary principals have similar roles and responsibilities, the qualification requirements for these positions are drastically different across state lines, and even within state borders. For example, 40 states require elementary school principals to have at least a master’s degree, yet 41 states do not require center directors to have an associate’s degree. The report features NIEER work with New Jersey districts.

Supporting Child Mental Health is Crucial to Helping All Children Thrive

May is Mental Health Awareness month and these publications are a sampling of National Center for Children in Poverty work focused on mental health issues and efforts to implement effective policies, programs, and strategies that support child mental health.

Early Childhood Preservice Training on Promoting Social Emotional Development in Young Children

Interventions to Promote Young Children’s Self-Regulation and Executive Function Skills in Early Childhood Settings

Child Care and Early Education for Young Children Experiencing Homelessness

Child Care and Early Education for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma

NCCP Online Book Discussion of Cradle to Kindergarten


Teachers Supporting Teachers: State Policies for Non-Classroom-Based Instructors

A new report from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders focuses on the non-classroom-based positions states have added in districts and schools to provide instructional support to teachers. The majority of states using non-classroom-based instructional staff do not seem to have state policies addressing who is qualified, what preparation and professional learning opportunities they should receive, or how they should be selected, evaluated, and compensated. In this Ask the Team brief, we offer a review of existing state policies and highlight state-level programs aimed at supporting this growing category of educators.



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.


Preschool Effects: What Research Does and Does Not Say

May 24
1 pm ET

The National Conference of State Legislatures is hosting an informational webinar on the benefits and challenges of early childhood education. This webinar aims to bring consensus answers from top early childhood education researchers to questions such as:

·       Do preschool effects last?
·       What does high-quality preschool look like and how much does it cost?
·       Who benefits the most from high-quality preschool?

For information and to register, click here.

STARTING EARLY: Creating A Comprehensive P-3 Approach to Achieve Quality and Continuity

June 20
8:30AM – 4:00 PM
Dodds Auditorium
Princeton University

National and local experts are gathering to discuss effective early education. The conference is sponsored by the Education Research Section of the Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and the Future of Children. Register here by June 13.

Early Education News Roundup

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

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