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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 16, Issue 36

September 15, 2017

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Just the Facts; Survey Says and DLLs

Hot Topics

Just the Facts, Ma’am

A national Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking recently issued its final report, calling for Congress and the White House to modernize the country’s infrastructure for collecting and protecting data.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democrat Sen. Patty Murray welcomed the report, saying they would introduce “evidence-based policymaking” legislation expanding data access and strengthening the capacity for evaluation. Commission recommendations would help government programs work as well as possible “by using evidence, facts, science, [and] making sure our policies are aligned with what we actually know works and what doesn’t,” Sen. Murray said.

The public also wants access to reliable data. A Data Quality Campaign report criticized state school “report cards” as difficult to find and understand, saying “everyone deserves to know how their public schools are doing… It shouldn’t be this hard.”

The Institute of Education Sciences, which helps support NIEER’s annual survey of state-funded preschool programs, is a nonpartisan agency focused on advancing independent scientific evidence, statistics, and data to improve outcomes for children. Yet the future of IES—and other federal agencies supporting education research—remains uncertain.

Introducing the Child Care for Working Families Act 

This week Democrats proposed child care legislation that includes some specific items dealing with early childhood education programs. The plan provides states $8 billion in mandatory federal funding for each of 10 years for high-quality preK for 3- and 4-year-olds along with federal funding for Head Start to offer a full school year and full school day of services.

The proposal also caps child care costs at 7% of income for families with annual incomes up to 150% state median income (about $100,000), addresses child care workforce concerns and sets aside 5% of state funding for early intervention programs under IDEA. See a summary compiled by the National Women’s Law Center.

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

States Lack Information, Policy for Young Dual Language Learners

As national attention turns to issues of diversity and inclusion, it is important to keep the youngest learners in our country at the forefront of educational policy making decisions. Hispanic children account for the largest proportion of minorities among children ages 5 and younger in the US, and many of their families do not speak English at home.

These children require specialized attention and focus to ensure their needs are met academically, socially, and emotionally so that they thrive as learners today, and productive citizens tomorrow… Supporting diverse learners can only be done, however, with data about who these children are. Programs and policies must engage families and craft guidance that supports teachers and children alike.

NIEER Activities

NIEER this week sent surveys to state education agencies for State of Preschool 2017 that will obtain data on publicly funded pre-K programs for the 2016-2017 school year. State responses are critical to shaping federal, state and local early education policies and practice. New this year, NIEER has pre-populated answers to some questions based on publicly available information to streamline the process. Responses are due Thursday Oct. 12, 2017. 

The annual State of Preschool survey, supported by the US Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), is the only source of validated data on state-funded preschool programs with detailed information on enrollment, funding, teacher qualifications, and other policies related to quality.

If you have not received your survey or if you have questions, please contact Yearbook Co-Author Allison Friedman-Krauss, Ph.D. at NIEER.

CEELO Update

CEELO this week shared 10 Characteristics of Preschool-Age Children an interactive tool from the Urban Institute that provides state and local data on the characteristics of children ages 3 to 5 in the United States, displaying characteristics by whether the children are enrolled in early education, whether their families are low income, or whether their parents are immigrants.


Portraits of Change: Aligning School and Community Resources to Reduce Chronic Absence

This report by Attendance Works and the Everyone Graduates Center, provides a national and state analysis of schools facing high levels of chronic absence and includes examples of attendance initiatives from communities across the U.S. that show how chronic absence can be turned around.

America Needs More Teachers of Color and a More Selective Teaching Profession

This Center for American Progress report examines the case for making candidate diversity and ability equally important criteria in the recruitment and selection of teachers. Looking at available evidence, the report shows that rigorous recruitment and thoughtful selection processes can achieve increased diversity and selectivity simultaneously. It also includes examples of states, institutions, and organizations that have done an exemplary job of setting a high bar for admission and ensuring the diversity of their teacher candidates and the emerging teacher workforce.

The Impact of Expanding Access to Early Childhood Education Services in Rural Indonesia

This paper published in the Journal of Labor Economics examines the effects of expanding access to low-cost, government-sponsored, community-based playgroups in rural Indonesia. The Indonesia Early Childhood Education and Development project provided 3,000 villages in 50 districts across the country with a package of interventions intended to improve children’s school readiness.

Education at a Glance 2017: OECD Indicators 

This Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report is an authoritative source for information on the state of education around the world. With more than 125 charts and 145 tables included in the publication and much more data available on the educational database, Education at a Glance 2017 provides key information on the impact of learning across countries; the financial and human resources invested in education; access, participation and progression in education; and the learning environment and organization of schools.

The Evidence Base for How We Learn: Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

A research brief published this week by the Aspen Institute affirms the interconnectedness of social, emotional, and academic development as central to the learning process and calls for full integration of the social, emotional, and academic dimensions of learning in K-12 schools. The brief includes consensus statements and the research behind them, drawing from brain science, medicine, economics, psychology, and education research.

Minnesota Model for Investment in Early Childhood Education 

In this podcast, Art Rolnick, senior fellow at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs, discusses advancing multidisciplinary research on child development and social policy as well as the Minnesota Model, a research-based approach for investing early to promote the success of vulnerable children and families.


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education (two positions)

The School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill invites applications for up to two positions in Human Development and Family Studies starting July 1, 2018. These positions are full-time, 9-month, tenure-line or tenured appointments depending on rank at the time of hire. Candidates with distinguished scholarly records, and established national/international leadership and reputation will be eligible for consideration for named professorships.

Please use the online application process to submit materials by October 10, 2017. For more information, email the Search Chair, Professor Jill V. Hamm.


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.

The webinar will include representatives from Michigan (Richard Lower), Alabama (Tracye Strichik), and New Mexico (Brenda Kofahl) discussing how they have integrated or plan to integrate new benchmark criteria into state policy/practice. Register here.

Early Education News Roundup 

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

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