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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 16, Issue 45

November 17, 2017

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Investing Wisely, Talking the Talk and Researching Impacts

Hot Topics

Invest Early and Often

Research from diverse disciplines, including child development, psychology, neuroscience, and economics, has demonstrated that high-quality early education can improve outcomes for children, both short-term and long-term. Other evaluations have focused on whether benefits from improved outcomes outweigh program costs, generally finding value in reduced special education enrollment, grade retention, high school drop outs and crime.

A new Rand Corporation report, Investing Early: Taking Stock of Outcomes and Economic Returns from Early Childhood Programs, synthesizes results from a set of scientifically rigorous evaluations of 115 early childhood programs serving children from birth to 5 to assess outcomes, costs, and benefits. Most of the programs (102) were found to have favorable effects on at least one child outcome and those with an economic evaluation, showed positive economic returns.

Estimated benefit-cost ratios for the 19 programs with formal benefit–cost analyses showed returns ranging from $2 to $4 for every dollar invested, accounting for savings to society resulting from better outcomes and achievement for children.

The Rand study reviewed programs beyond preschool, such as visiting, parent education, government support in both cash and in-kind benefits, and some combining approaches. With this expanded evidence base, the report states, policymakers can be “highly confident that well-designed and -implemented early childhood programs can improve the lives of children and their families.”

With that in mind, authors call for the next generation of research to “get inside the black box” of effective programs to identify specific components needed to improve children’s lives.

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

Talking the Talk on High-Quality Pre-K

High-quality early education is one of the best investments we can make with public dollars. It’s better to pay now, rather than pay more later. High quality early learning is an effective weapon against academic failure, high school dropout, crime and poverty. As NIEER Founder Steven Barnett, Ph.D. notes, “Pre-K pays off so well because we pay a high price for failure.”

But that doesn’t make it easy to obtain the public investment required to provide the high-quality learning experiences children need to thrive and succeed.

This week, the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) launched a CPQ Communications Toolkit providing materials and strategies to help explain why high-quality early education is a worthwhile investment.

NIEER Activities

Recruiting NJ, Philadelphia and WV data collectors

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University‐New Brunswick, seeks to hire data collectors for training and administering child and classroom assessment instruments in pre‐K classrooms for the months of February to June 2018. For job requirements and pay please visit our website.

To apply please send a letter of interest, curriculum vita/resume, transcript (if currently a student), and the names of two references to Carol Contreras, at

Please include the phrase “Data Collector” and your current location in the subject line.

CEELO Update

CEELO recently shared a new FastFact report, State Pre-K and Charter Schools; A Summary of State Policies, identifying policies and practices that support charter school participation in pre-K, including enabling legislation; contracting process; funding levels; and state supports available to charter schools.


Impacts of Early Childhood Education on Medium- and Long-Term Educational Outcomes

This article published in Educational Researcher provides an up-to-date estimate of the overall impact of early childhood education programs on special education placements, grade retention and high school graduation, based on a meta-analysis of high-quality research studies conducted between 1960 and 2016. Findings showed, on average, statistically significant reductions in special education placement, grade retention and increases in high school graduation.

The State of Latino Early Childhood Development

This Salud America! review is an assessment of available research on the many aspects of child development and traumatic experiences among Latinos. The review also explores how programs and policies can improve early childhood development in Latino children.

Nearly 4 in 5 Latino youth suffer at least one traumatic childhood experience, such as poverty or abuse, and lack the proper care, support, and environment for healthy development in formative years, according to the report.

Classroom quality and children’s academic skills in child care centers: Understanding the role of teacher qualifications

This study to be published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly examines associations of teacher levels of education and professional training with observed classroom quality and children’s school readiness in community-based child care centers. Prior research provides mixed evidence about whether teachers’ education predicts early childhood education (ECE) classroom quality and children’s outcomes.

Results suggest few associations between teachers’ education level, ECE credits, or level on the professional career ladder and observed classroom quality. The key exception is that teachers who do not have any post-secondary education and training in ECE are in classrooms of significantly lower quality compared with teachers who have a college degree.

How studies of QRIS measure quality improvement activities: An analysis of measures of training and technical assistance

Results in this Child Care & Early Education Research analysis of QRIS addressed two questions: How are two types of professional development activities—group training for early childhood staff (TR) and technical assistance (TA)—measured in QRIS research? What specific features of TR and TA are measured in this research?

This research suggests that on-site coaching, often combined with group training, can contribute to improvements in the quality of teaching and gains in children’s learning, especially when it is focused on teaching practices that support growth in key domains of school readiness such as language, early math, and social-emotional development. However, the analysis also found few studies of QRIS measure any dimension of TR and TA.

Info About Kids

The Consortium for Science-Based Information on Children, Youth and Families’ web-based resource center provides links to well-established websites for parents, other caregivers, educators, and health professionals. Monthly blogs summarize science-based information on timely topics. The site is updated quarterly.

How Common Are Nonstandard Work Schedules Among Low-Income Hispanic Parents of Young Children?

This National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families brief draws on survey and retrospective calendar data from the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to describe the work schedules of low-income Hispanic parents with young children from birth to age 5 (not yet in kindergarten), and provide comparison data for their non-Hispanic white and black counterparts.

Findings indicate that, as with many of their peers in low-income white and black households, Hispanic children are exposed to parental work schedules that include hours beyond the standard weekday and highlight the need for more research on how parents negotiate and coordinate work schedules and children’s care, to better understand the accommodations and trade-offs that are made.

CPQ Communications Toolkit

A new CPQ Communications Toolkit from the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes provides evidence-based responses for common questions about early learning expenses, along with definitions of key quality indicators, and succinct explanations of costs and benefits supported by quotes from national experts.

The Toolkit offers talking points, quotes from national experts, resources for more information, and graphics to enable users to create effective presentations regarding the benefits and key elements of quality preschool. The toolkit also features sample outreach materials, such as a press release template, suggested social media posts and printable handouts.


America’s Promise Initiative

America’s Promise is leading this effort as part of the Together for Healthy and Successful Schools initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The initiative is a collective effort to better understand the dynamics in diverse schools and communities that foster or stand in the way of creating healthier school environments. As a part of this initiative, America’s Promise seeks to activate and align existing and new stakeholders at both the local and national levels to build demand for healthy schools. 

America’s Promise will award three to five grants of up to $150,000 each per year for two years (total up to $300,000) to collaborative efforts that display alignment with this vision and a proven ability to accelerate positive change for young people in schools and their communities. Details here


When Degree Programs for Pre-K Teachers Go Online

November 29, 2017
Noon – 2 pm
New America
740 15th St NW #900
Washington, D.C. 20005

New America is hosting a presentation and panel discussion of its new report, When Degree Programs for Pre-K Teachers Go Online: Challenges and Opportunitieshighlighting the policy and practice changes needed to make high-quality online bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education or a related major accessible to all lead pre-K teachers across the United States. Register

Early Education News Roundup

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

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