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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 17, Issue 29

July 20, 2018

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: A Better Way to Pay, Hidden Treasure, DLL Policy

Hot Topics

A Better Way to Finance Early Education

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine this week released recommendations for revamping and repurposing how early learning is financed, noting the current system  “places a large burden” on families paying fees and tuition while simultaneously failing to provide high quality or support a qualified workforce.

Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education states that “flaws in the current financing structure are exacerbated by overall low levels of funding that are not sufficient to enable families at all income levels to access high-quality services” and calls for “greater coordination” across both public and private sectors.

The report reflects consensus among a committee of experts who studied how to fund ECE that is accessible, affordable for families, and of high quality.

They estimate a total cost of at least $140 billion per year (from all sources public and private) to provide high-quality ECE for all children–about 0.75 % of U.S. gross domestic product (still slightly below the OECD average of 0.8 %). Public investments will need to grow over the four phases by at least $5 billion (in phase 1) to $53 billion (phase 4) a year above the actual current level of public investments.

Recommendations include: federal and state government coordinating to establish consistent quality standards, increasing funding for ECE and linking that funding to achieving and sustaining quality standards; elimination of ECE program eligibility linked to parental income or work status; providing financial assistance to enhance ECE workforce knowledge and competencies, and public funding for research and evaluation of ECE to ensure positive outcomes for children.

“Reliable, accessible high-quality care and education for young children can be achieved, and there is great urgency in beginning the work to realize such a vision,” the report states. This will require “a more equitable distribution of the share from family contributions and a commitment to major increases in public investment.”

The new Preschool Development Grant program’s focus on systems building and coordination offers states an opportunity to use those funds to work on putting the new recommendations into place.

We invite you to follow NIEER on Twitter @PreschoolToday and Facebook at Preschool Today. Please share your social media handles so we can connect.

This new chart based on The State of Preschool 2017  report shows quality standards benchmarks met per state in 2016-17.

NEW on Preschool Matters Today blog

Finding Hidden Data Treasure

The State of Preschool 2017 report makes it easy to figure out how many children in your state attend public pre-K. Or whether your state, or others, permits bilingual instruction in pre-K classrooms. And if  someone with only a high school diploma is allowed to teach pre-K in your state.

But if you want to know how old a child has to be to enter kindergarten, what does “full-day pre-K” mean in your state or whether more children attend pre-K in public schools or community-based centers—the yearbook won’t tell you. But the yearbook’s Appendix A will–and provide answers to more than 100 other policy-related questions. Read more

NIEER Activities

One of the most significant recent trends in the U.S. education system is that white Non-Hispanic students are no longer the majority—a trend mainly driven by the growth in the number and percentage of Hispanic children. For early childhood educators, one of the increasing needs associated with this trend is access to appropriate education for English Language learners. Hispanic children who start kindergarten without speaking English rarely catch up with their English-speaking peers.

NIEER today published a new policy paper outlining challenges facing non-English speaking families and recommending policy changes for state pre-K, including:

  • Identify the number of DLL children in state pre-K and use the data to inform policies on teacher preparation, curriculum and classroom practice
  • Screen and assess all children in their home languages
  • Communicate with families in their home languages
  • Better prepare and support teachers by offering pay premiums for bilingual specialist teachers and partnering with higher education institutions to offer specialization for teaching DLL children from preschool through Third Grade
  • Increase participation in high-quality early childhood education for DLL children

NIEER Co-Director for Research Milagros Nores Ph.D. will be discussing NIEER’s policy recommendations and our special report Supporting Dual Language Learners in State-Funded Preschool during the National Association of Hispanic Journalists National Conference held July 20-21 in Miami in partnership with the Education Writers Association.

CEELO Update

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) this week published its Impact newsletter. This issue shares lessons learned by former state early education policymakers and shines a spotlight on the influential career of Gayle Stuber, retired Kansas State Department of Education early childhood coordinator.

CEELO also seeks submissions for a new ESSA blog series, launches a webpage focused on OEL effectiveness, and shares a retrospective review of the State Early Learning Leadership Academy, along with recent presentations on ESSA, financing high-quality pre-K, applying research to programs and classrooms and taking TA “to the next level.”


The Chicago School Readiness Project: Examining the long-term impacts of an early childhood intervention

An article recently published in PLoS ONE evaluated the long-term effects of the Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP), a preschool intervention that aimed to improve the chances of early school success for children living in high-poverty and high-crime neighborhoods in inner-city Chicago. The intervention provided teachers with professional development and coaching that targets student behavioral management and teacher stress reduction. It was administered in Head Start classrooms, and it was designed to improve the quality of Head Start while also promoting children’s self-regulation and executive functioning. Researchers analyzed adolescent follow-up data taken 10 to 11 years after program completion.

Researchers report that there is evidence that the program had positive long-term effects on students’ executive function and grades, after controlling for baseline covariates. Results also indicated that treated children had heightened sensitivity to emotional stimuli, but researchers found no evidence of long-run effects on measures of behavioral problems. Researchers suggest that their findings could inform the development of a program that could improve on the Head Start model and could carry long-run benefits for affected children.

Increasing Caregivers’ Adherence to an Early-Literacy Intervention Improves the Print Knowledge of Children with Language Impairment

In a new study released in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, researchers investigated the effects of four behavior-change techniques for caregivers implementing a 15-week literacy intervention with their children with language impairment. Techniques include modeling, encouragement, feedback, and rewards.

Researchers report that findings showed that children whose caregivers were rewarded 50 cents per session to implement the intervention made significantly greater gains in print knowledge over the treatment period. Further, these effects were fully mediated by effects of the behavior-change technique on caregivers’ adherence to the intervention.

Healthy Start Home Visiting Program—School-Based Model: Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

A new study published in Research on Social Work Practice evaluated the effectiveness of the Healthy Start Home Visiting Program—School-Based Model (HSS), using a cluster randomized controlled trial design. Participants included 224 parents from 20 preschools randomized into intervention and wait-list control groups at the preschool level. Also, 105 parents from the participating preschools were trained as parent ambassadors to assist in program delivery.

Researchers report significant improvements after the intervention in parenting, children’s behavior, learning and health in the intervention group, compared with the control group. They conclude the results of this study provide evidence on the effectiveness of the Healthy Start Home Visiting Program.

Redefining Leadership: Lessons from an Early Education Leadership Development Initiative

In a new release of the Early Childhood Education Journal, researchers examined the experiences of 43 early educators. The researchers define leadership as a process of influencing change to improve early care and education, and not reserved just for those with a formal leadership position.

Researchers report that educators came to see themselves as leaders and pursued different paths to making change and driving improvement. The study authors suggest that they offer a new conceptual mapping of a leadership development ecosystem for supporting educators’ capacity to identify as leaders, as well as lead improvement and innovation. Study authors conclude with lessons learned and recommendations for strengthening the leadership infrastructure to support early educator leadership for change and innovation.

Approaches to Learning and Science Education in Head Start: Examining Bidirectionality

In a new study published by Early Childhood Research Quarterly, researchers examined the potential bidirectionality between gains in early science knowledge and approaches to learning skills gains. Researchers report the development of children’s approaches to learning relates to gains in science knowledge and that gains in children’s science knowledge relate to the positive development of approaches to learning across the school year.

Researchers further suggest results of this study provide support for future research examining the potential of science interventions to serve as a context for developing approaches to learning skills that will, in turn, help children engage in quality science learning. They further suggest that future research should examine science education as a context to develop approaches to learning in children from low-income families.


UMBC Post-doctoral Fellows Program for Faculty Diversity

Positions are available in many UMBC departments, including public policy. Applicants need to have a completed PhD no earlier than July 2016 and no later than July 2019. These postdocs are designed to be a direct pathway to tenure-track positions. Fellows pursue their own research agenda in residence at UMBC and teach one course per year, with mentoring from senior faculty. Many fellows will continue at UMBC as assistant professors.

More information and applications here. See program brochure.

Annie E. Casey Children & Family Fellowship

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is now recruiting candidates for its signature Children and Family Fellowship®. The 21-month program aims to develop the potential of leaders in nonprofit, philanthropic and public organizations who are working to improve outcomes for children and families. Review the qualifications of an ideal applicant

The Fellowship’s next session — no. 11 in the program’s history — will run from April 2019 to January 2021. The Casey Foundation will once again fund all program-related expenses for participants, including the cost of tuition, travel, lodging, materials and meals. Nominate a candidate by Aug. 17 and Submit an application by Sept. 7

Early Education News Roundup

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

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