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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 16, Issue 35

September 8, 2017

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Feds get busy, Next Steps for ESSA and Benchmarks Webinar

Hot Topics

Game On

Child care and early education were hot campaign topics but the new administration and Congress have not focused on these programs in meaningful ways—until this week.

bipartisan proposal to expand and update the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit would allow households with no tax liability to benefit from the credit—so a family of four earning less than $15,000 a year that today gets nothing, could get a $3,000 refund. The plan also raises the credit from 35 percent to 50 percent of total child care expenses in recognition of rising child care costs.

The proposal garnered support from Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and advisor. She was quoted during a meeting at the Americans for Tax Reform headquarters as saying the White House seeks “the largest child tax credit possible,” and supports making the credit refundable against payroll taxes.

A Senate Budget subcommittee approved a spending bill providing a slight increase for the federal education department—contradicting the administration’s call to cut the agency’s bottom line by $9.2 billion.

The Senate plan includes about $2 billion for hiring and training educators, a program scrapped by both the House and the administration, but does not restore the program providing child care for low-income college students and provides no increase for CCDBG or Head Start—despite research showing Head Start programs reach less than 40 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds in poverty and less than 5 percent of the number in poverty under age 3. The House proposal did include slight increases for CCDBG and Head Start.

These legislative efforts fall far short of the progressive vision for child care reform shared this week by Center for American Progress and Make It Work. A Blueprint for Child Care Reform focuses on providing financial assistance and expanding access to quality early learning for middle- and low-income families by capping child care costs to 7 percent of income for low-income and middle-class families and developing more high-quality programs.

More proposals to help families find and pay for quality preschool are expected. The National Women’s Law Center and ZERO to THREE are hosting a live event at 1 pm TODAY (Sept. 8) from NWLC’s Facebook and ZERO TO THREE’s Facebook featuring working parents discussing challenges they face finding and affording high-quality child care. Now is the time to engage and inform policymakers.

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

Takeaways from New America and CEELO Blog Series on Early Learning and ESSA

September 18, 2017 is the final deadline for states to submit Every Student Succeeds Act plans for federal Department of Education review. Over the past four months, New America and CEELO have published a series of blogs on a wide range of topics by authors with diverse perspectives on early learning and education issues. Posts focused on how states could incorporate early learning into their ESSA plans and offered examples from state plans submitted in April. This blog shares highlights, along with a discussion of what’s next.

NIEER Activities

As the new school year begins, NIEER is proud to partner with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on a multi-year study engaging more than 1,000 children across 16 New Jersey school districts to identify and combat obstacles to healthy child development.

Children living below poverty level are at higher risk for school failure, poor job prospects and chronic health problems. Nationally, nearly one in three children is overweight or obese as many families still lack access to healthy food or safe places to play.

High-quality preschool programs have the potential to improve developmental outcomes for children, as well as prevent or ameliorate health problems. Yet there is a scarcity of research on the crticical components of preschool policy and practice that result in lasting benefits for children.

“Too often, research on preschool programs overlooks impacts on health,” said NIEER Founder and Co-Director Steven Barnett, Ph.D. “Understanding the health impacts of high-quality programs is important as policymakers and parents consider costs and benefits of investing in high-quality preschool.”

CEELO Update

CEELO this week added a new resource: Quality Early Education and Child Care from Birth to Kindergarten is a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics that explains why quality early education matters, barriers that challenge quality care, and recommendations for pediatricians to promote quality early education experiences for all children.


Advancing State Policies for Infants and Toddlers: Lessons Learned from Three States

With support from the Kellogg Foundation, ZERO to THREE helped Indiana, Oregon, and Vermont bring together public and private stakeholders to focus on programs for infants and toddlers and work with state early childhood advisory councils. This brief highlights lessons learned, as well as promising examples from other states that have focused on this age group, and offers recommendations.

Building Early Links for Learning (BELL) Project: Learnings from focus groups on increasing access to quality early childhood education for families and children experiencing homelessness

This report shared by Child Care & Early Education Research Connections explores the many challenges are faced by parents who experience homelessness in accessing quality early childhood education for their infants and preschool aged children based on a series of related focus-groups conducted in Philadelphia, PA in late 2016. The analysis identifies a series of key personal attitudes, systemic factors, and practical and logistical concerns that inform and influence parental and provider behaviors. This report offers a series of recommendations for consideration in shaping local policy, practice, and training going forward.

Early Childhood Two-Generation State Policy Profiles

This National Center for Children in Poverty report spotlights key elements of a two-generation approach to supporting the well-being and life opportunities of young children and their parents in the areas of health, early care and education, and parenting and economic support. The profiles are regularly updated and can be used to assess and consider ways to strengthen current policy choices that can affect young children’s health, development and school readiness.

Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Survey: A Focus on Teachers and Providers

The Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska this week released the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Survey providing insight into the everyday challenges facing early childhood teachers, child care providers, and caregivers. Low compensation, lack of health and retirement benefits, uneven professional preparation, and stress are among the everyday challenges confronted by the more than 1,600 survey participants from licensed home-based child care programs, licensed center-based programs, public preschool programs, and elementary schools serving children in kindergarten through grade 3.

10 Policies to Prevent and Respond to Childhood Lead Exposure

This new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Health Impact Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts–inspired by Flint and other impacted communities–represents a comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of the sources of lead exposure for children and how that exposure can be prevented. The report provides evidence-based recommendations for dealing with lead hazards to prevent exposure among children.


ChildFund International

ChildFund International is seeking a Senior Advisor, Early Childhood Development to provide technical leadership to strengthen the agency’s global program portfolio and enhance program quality on behalf of children in development and emergency contexts. The Sr. Advisor works collaboratively with divisional, regional and field-based colleagues in support of program design, implementation, and evaluation.


Behind the Benchmarks

4 -5 pm EST
Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017

Join NIEER Founder and Co-Director Steven Barnett Ph.D., along with State of Preschool 2016 co-author Allison Friedman-Krauss Ph.D., and state early education policymakers for an interactive webinar to discuss new preschool quality standards benchmarks. Register here.

Early Education News Roundup 

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

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