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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 16, Issue 24

June 16, 2017

Highlighting the Week's most interesting stories and studies PreK Doesn't Cost--It Pays; States Tackle ECE in ESSA; and Roundtable Redux

Hot Topics

You Get What You Pay For

A new cost study published by Florida SouthWestern State College underscores the need for reliable estimates of costs and funding for early care and education, particularly high-quality programs.

The Early Childhood Education Cost Study, conducted by Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, Inc., used a “professional judgment” approach to estimate the cost of providing 3- and 4-year-olds in southwest Florida with services consistent with Florida’s Early Learning and Development Standards. The study also estimated the gap between that cost and existing early childhood program funding. APA estimated needed resources at $12,057 per child and estimated the funding gap to be about $1,812 per child taking into account all current sources of funding including parent fees.

The report recommends “To fully fund ECE and to lessen the burden on parents, the state could double VPK funding per child and expand access to the program for all 3-year-olds.” Doubling VPK spending per child is similar to NIEER’s most recent estimate of the cost of meeting basic standards with that 2 ½ hour per day, school year program.

Florida is a state of highs and lows regarding preschool. A leader in preschool enrollment—more than 75 percent of 4-year-olds—Florida VPK spending per child was only $2,353, which makes Florida 40th out of 44 states in state pre-K spending per child, according to The State of Preschool 2016. Not surprisingly Florida’s VPK has minimal standards for teacher qualifications, and a remarkably low percentage of teachers have a four-year degree. See NIEER’s report Teacher Compensation Parity Policies and State-Funded Pre-K Programs.

To help inform state decision-making regarding expenditure for early care and education, the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) has developed the Cost of Preschool Quality calculator, an Excel-based model to estimate the cost of expanding high quality preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds. The CPQ is free to anyone who wishes to use the tool, however, it is best used with technical support from the developers.  The licensing agreement can be found here, along with further information here.

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! Blog

Leading the Way: How States are Addressing Early Learning Under ESSA

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). 

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) gives states the flexibility to invest in early learning to ensure that all children begin school on the path to success. On March 21, 2017, CEELO partnered with the Regional Education Laboratory-Southwest to sponsor a webinar, Leading the Way: How States Are Addressing Early Learning Under ESSA. The webinar offered evidence-based resources to support states in drafting their ESSA plans. State leaders in Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, and Washington described how they have used research and best practice on early childhood, birth to third grade, to provide leadership within their agencies to integrate early learning priorities and provisions into their ESSA state plans.

NIEER Activities 

NIEER discussed The State of Preschool 2016 during this week’s #EarlyEdChat with @MomsRising on Twitter. Thanks to everyone who joined in! Watch @PreschoolToday for the thread of questions and answers in English and en español.

CEELO Update

2017 Roundtable: Leading for Change in Early Childhood Education

More than 100 early education leaders attended this year’s Roundtable June 7-9, gathering to learn from each other, examine mental models and explore how implementation science can support effective, high-performing statewide systems for children birth through third grade. Check out the Roundtable social media

As each cohort participated in activities, they developed relationships with peers from other states and gained new perspectives. Congratulations to NAESC-SDE Light Award honoree Reneé DeMars-Johnson, director of Michigan’s Office of Early Childhood Development and Family Education.

The annual meeting is collaboratively planned by CEELO national technical assistance partners and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS-SDE) Click here for Roundtable Presentations and Meeting Materials


Quality Rating and Improvement Systems for Early Care and Education Programs: Making the Second Generation Better

This Rand Corp. Report assesses what the early childhood field has learned about QRIS as they have been widely adopted and matured, and how the field can strategically move this first generation of QRIS into a second generation.

As the federal grant funds expire, states will have fewer resources available to operate their QRIS so states will need to be more strategic about the allocation of funds for and within these systems to achieve their goals of expanding access to and improving the quality of ECE programs, the report states. Authors suggest some ways to accomplish this.

Implementing the Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization: A Guide for States

The National Women’s Law Center and the Center for Law and Social Policy this week released the 2017 Update to the CCDBG Implementation Guide including an outline and discussion of provisions in the final rule implementing CCDBG issued by the Administration for Children and Families in September 2016.

This guidebook summarizes and analyzes key sections of the law, offers recommendations—and cautions—for states as they consider how to implement those sections, and suggests related resources that may be useful for background information or model policies. Find the pdf file here.

Preschooler’s Executive Function: Importance, Contributors, Research Needs and Assessment Options

NIEER Assistant Research Professor Allison Friedman-Krauss co-authored a report published recently by Educational Testing Service reviewing research on the traits and skills that make up executive function, interdependent aspects critical for supporting young children’s developmental and academic outcomes.  
EF is not only important for successfully completing everyday tasks but also is a necessary skill for language, literacy and mathematics, the report states. “Our review suggests it is important for both policymakers and early education stakeholders to be mindful of the child and of environmental factors that play a role in the development of EF.”

DREME Offers Free Online Math Resources for Teacher Educators

The Development and Research in Early Math Education network of scholars has launched a website of free resources for teacher educators. These resources include videos, activities, handouts, and articles designed to support teacher educators in training pre-service and in-service early childhood educators. The DREME professional development team includes Megan Franke (UCLA), Herbert Ginsburg (Columbia), Linda Platas (San Francisco State University), and Deborah Stipek (Stanford). Click here for materials.

Losing ground: How child care impacts Louisiana’s workforce productivity and the state economy

Although a wealth of research has focused on benefits for young children and local communities, less attention has been given to the benefits of quality ECE for employers and working parents. This study published by Child Care and Early Education Research Connections attempts to address this gap.

“This study—the first of its kind in the state of Louisiana—demonstrates that child care issues clearly affect a wide cross-section of Louisiana workers, resulting in major economic costs to employers and a large economic impact on the state.”

Promoting Social and Emotional Learning in Preschool

This brief from The Pennsylvania State University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation summarizes what is known about effective preschool social-emotional learning (SEL) programs and practices based on high-quality, rigorous research studies that utilized randomized controlled designs.

Emphasis on preschool academic learning has raised concerns that children’s social-emotional (SE) needs are being crowded out of preschool priorities, despite consensus that early social-emotional skills are an important component of school readiness and healthy child development.

All children benefit from SEL programming, but the benefits are even greater for children with delays in SE skill development associated with early socioeconomic disadvantage. Effectively engaging parents in these efforts enhances impact, the report states.

Future challenges include bringing SEL programs to scale while maintaining a high level of program quality, finding ways to more effectively and efficiently integrate evidence-based programming into preschool practice, engaging parents, and learning how to increase sustained gains that benefit children in the years after they enter kindergarten.


First Five Years Fund ECE Poll Results Webinar

Tuesday June 20, 2017
Noon EDT

Join a web briefing on the results of FFYF’s 2017 national poll. You’ll hear from FFYF Executive Director Kris Perry, as well the bipartisan polling team of Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies and Jay Campbell of Hart Research. Register Here!

Early Education Roundup

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

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