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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 16, Issue 28

July 21, 2017

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Federal funding for ECE, DLL in ESSA and Going Global

Hot Topics

One Hand Giveth…

The House Appropriations Committee this week approved plans to boost federal investments in some early childhood programs–$22 million for Head Start, bringing the total to $9.3 billion and $4 million for the Child Care and Development Block Grant for a total of $2.8 billion.

At the same time, the Administration for Children and Families, which oversees Head Start, absorbs a $761 million cut in discretionary funding. Preschool Development Grants, which enabled many states to enroll more children and enhance pre-K quality is flat-funded at the current level. And the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program, supporting campus childcare programs for approximately 5 million low-income students, is eliminated.

The report accompanying the budget proposal explains the decision, saying “given budget constraints, the Committee chose to reduce investment in narrowly focused grant programs such as this one.”

While the appropriations proposals differ somewhat from the White House spending plan–which recommended more cuts in domestic discretionary spending–both House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen and House Budget Committee Chair Diane Black declared these spending proposals reflect “Republican priorities.”

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

Latest in the blog series from the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELOand New America on early learning opportunities and challenges under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). 

Making ESSA Work in Early Childhood Classrooms for Dual Language Learners

As the number of dual language learners in our schools increase, states should take advantage of the opportunity ESSA provides to evaluate and redesign their programs so every young learner has a genuine chance to succeed. DLLs bring diverse cultures, experiences, and stories with them into the classroom. Better serving these children will not only enrich their school experiences, but also expand horizons for their classmates who also benefit from learning about new cultures.

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CEELO Update  

CEELO this week published its July IMPACT newsletter featuring an editorial on “Being the Change,” a profile of education leader Renee DeMars-Johnson of Michigan, a TA success story featuring a New Jersey school district’s experience in the Early Childhood Academy, national conference presentations and upcoming events for state specialists.


Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2017

This National Center for Education Statistics report profiles current conditions and recent trends in the education of students by racial and ethnic group, examining differences in educational participation and attainment of students in the racial/ethnic groups of White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and two or more races. The report covers  demographics; pre-primary, elementary, and secondary participation; student achievement; student behaviors and persistence in education, post-secondary education, and outcomes of education.

The Power of Leaders in Early Learning

This summer, New America’s Early and Elementary Education Policy team released the report, A Tale of Two Pre-K Leaders: How State Policies for Center Directors and Principals Leading Pre-K Programs Differ, and Why They Shouldn’t. This 50-state scan 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 their own borders.

Watch the video of this week’s panel discussion about the topic featuring Teri Talan, Michael W. Louis Chair and Senior Policy Advisor, The McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership; Kristie Kauerz, Research Assistant Professor, University of Washington and Marica Cox Mitchell, Deputy Executive Director for Early Learning Systems, National Association for the Education of Young Children moderated by Abbie Lieberman, policy analyst for New America.

A Meta-Analysis of Class Sizes and Ratios in Early Childhood Education Programs: Are Thresholds of Quality Associated With Greater Impacts on Cognitive, Achievement, and Socioemotional Outcomes?

This study published by Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis estimates the association between two of the most widely used dimensions of ECE structural quality (class size and child–teacher ratio) and children’s cognitive and achievement outcomes in early childhood classrooms.

The study uses data from a comprehensive database of U.S. early childhood education program evaluations published between 1960 and 2007 to evaluate the relationship between class size, child– teacher ratio, and program effect sizes for cognitive, achievement, and socio-emotional outcomes. Both class size and child–teacher ratio showed nonlinear relationships with cognitive and achievement effect sizes.

Authors conclude regulations that hold class sizes at or Structural Quality 18 below 20 and child–teacher ratios at or below 10:1 are largely adequate for most children. In addition, costs of sustaining smaller classes and ratios would be high and could prompt funding cuts in other areas such as teacher training, that may affect classroom quality and the long-term benefits for children.

Identifying Common Practice Elements to Improve Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Outcomes of Young Children in Early Childhood Classrooms

This Prevention Science paper reports findings from a study designed to identify common practice elements found in comprehensive intervention models (i.e., manualized interventions that include a number of components) or discrete practices (i.e., a specific behavior or action) designed to target social, emotional, and behavioral learning of young children who exhibit problem behavior.

Twenty-four practice elements were identified and classified into content (the goal or general principle that guides a practice element) and delivery (the way in which a teacher provides instruction to the child) categories. Implications that identification of these practice elements found in the early childhood literature has for efforts to implement models and practices are discussed.

Early Childhood Care and Education and School Readiness in Zambia

Despite increased investment in early childhood care and education (ECCE) globally, little is known about its effectiveness in low-income countries. This study published in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness tests associations between ECCE and seven domains of children’s school readiness using national sample of 1,623 Zambian 6-year-olds.

Authors found ECCE participation to be significantly and positively predictive of children’s receptive vocabulary, letter naming, reasoning, fine motor, executive function, and task performance skills. Although ECCE predicted better outcomes across program types and dosage levels, associations between ECCE participation and school readiness were descriptively if not significantly larger for children attending nonprofit (versus governmental or private) programs and for those attending ECCE between three and five hours per day (versus those attending less than three or six or more hours per day).


EQUAL Global Network

The EQUAL Global Network recently announced its first round of seed grants for small-scale and pilot research projects based in the Middle East, North Africa and Sub-Saharan African countries. These seed grants (total US$20,000 to each of the successful applicants), will focus on measurement of learning and development of quality of education, to inform policy relevant to Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Targets 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, and 4.7.). In addition, recipients of seed grants will be brought together in cross-national, mentored convenings to build regional research capacity, and support the development of research-practice partnerships with national and sub-national government entities and high capacity NGOs.

EQUAL is soliciting Letters of Intent to be submitted via e-mail by 5 P.M. ET August 21, 2017 from early career scholars (within 8 years post-doctorate) as lead investigators in partnership with a mentor (senior investigator).  Find details here.


Early Fall Webinar to Focus on NIEER’s New Quality Standards Benchmarks

Join CEELO and the National Institute for Early Education Research for an interactive webinar to discuss new quality standards benchmarks introduced in The State of Preschool 2016 yearbook. During this webinar:

  • NIEER will provide an overview of changes to the quality standards benchmarks, reasons for the updates and policies that should be in place to meet the new benchmarks
  • Two states already meeting the new benchmarks will discuss their policies and pathways
  • Participants can ask questions about interpreting new quality standards benchmarks and implementing policies to meet them
  • CEELO will preview technical assistance supports available to states regarding the new benchmarks

Webinar time and date TBA. Watch email for details coming soon!

Early Education News Roundup 

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

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