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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 18, Issue 2


January 11, 2019

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: 3-K for All, Leadership, Big Ideas

Hot Topics

Start Spreadin’ the (3-K) News

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this week announced plans to expand 3-K for All, bringing the program to more than a third of school districts citywide and serving 20,000 3-year-olds by the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Only four states will serve a higher number of 3-year-olds after this remarkable increase.

NYC launched 3-K for All in 2017 to build on the success of its Pre-K for All program, now serving about 70,000 4-year-olds. 3-K for All now enrolls more than 5,000 3-year-olds across six school districts. Both city programs provide universal, free, full-day, high-quality early childhood education regardless of family income in public schools and privately operated organizations.

Several studies have found children who attend two years of high-quality preschool are better prepared for kindergarten, and perform significantly higher on academic and social outcome measures, compared to children who attend for one year.

A NIEER study of the Abbott Preschool Program in New Jersey found persistent gains in language arts and literacy, mathematics, and science through 4th and 5th grade, with larger test score gains for children who participated in two years of preschool.

3-K for All is part of the Mayor’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda, which aims to ensure that by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time and two-thirds of graduates are college-ready. At the completion of the financial plan FY 2021, the mayor’s office estimates the effort will cost a total of $177 million.

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NIEER Activities

NIEER Professor Sharon Ryan Ph.D. and former Research Project Coordinator Kaitlin Northey Ph.D. were recently recognized as co-authors for one of the “most viewed articles of 2018” according to College Teachers Record.

What Guides Pre-K Programs? by Elizabeth Graue, Sharon Ryan, Bethany Wilinski, Kaitlin Northey & Amato Nocera examines public pre-K policy enactment through a study of New Jersey’s highly regulated pre-K program and Wisconsin’s locally determined, mid-regulation 4K program.

Dr. Northey is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Vermont where she teaches in the Early Childhood Education program.


CEELO Update

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) this week announced plans for a 2019 Leadership Academy, with applications due Friday February 1, 2019. The Leadership Academy is designed to strengthen leadership and management competencies of individuals with responsibilities for early childhood education programs in state departments of education (SEAs), early learning agencies and other state early childhood education agencies.

Find updated Information for 2019 Applicants on CEELO’s website, including an application form and eligibility guidelines.

Learn more about CEELO’s Leadership Academy by visiting the CEELO website, reviewing the 2019 CEELO Leadership Academy FAQ and learning about the 2018-19 LA cohort underway.


Resources

Big Ideas, Little Learners

The Omidyar Network, founded by eBay creator Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, this week released a report on trends in early childhood education policy, practice and innovation, and how these trends might shape the future.

Big Ideas, Little Learners considers how attitudes and public policies focused on early childhood have evolved over the past 50 years due to the influence of science and social change. “While we can’t predict what specific skills and competencies will be required in 2030 and beyond, one thing is certain;” the report states. “The ability for children to thrive is closely linked to their early learning experience.”

USE OF THE HOME LANGUAGE IN PRESCHOOL CLASSROOMS AND FIRST- AND SECOND-LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT AMONG DUAL LANGUAGE LEARNERS

A new study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly analyzed data from 1,961 Dual Language Learners (DLLs) in Educare across 16 sites to compare acquisition of language skills in English and Spanish among children in classrooms in which teachers used English and little or no Spanish, English with some Spanish, and both English and Spanish, with relatively high levels of Spanish instruction.

Researchers indicate that DLL children in all groups showed gains in language skills in both English and Spanish, but that DLL children from classrooms with both English and Spanish instruction had significantly higher Spanish auditory comprehension scores than other children. Researchers suggest that while there appears to be value of all three types of classrooms for English-language growth, their research indicates the additional value of English/Spanish instruction for Spanish language growth.

EARLY CHILDHOOD OBESITY PREVENTION EFFORTS THROUGH A LIFE COURSE HEALTH DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVE: A SCOPING REVIEW

A new study recently released in PLOS ONE  provides an overview of the types, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of obesity prevention interventions and policies in children up to 6 years old. Researchers note the obesity rate in preschool children in the United States (US) is 13.9%, while even higher rates are associated with racial and ethnic minorities and children from low-income families, creating a need to identify effective childhood obesity prevention programs.

Researchers found 78% of interventions occurred during preschool years, with 63% conducted in early childcare education settings serving low-income families. They also found that less than half of interventions initiated during pregnancy, infancy or preschool reported a significant improvement in a weight-based outcome. They note considerable uncertainty around estimates of the health and economic impacts of obesity prevention interventions and policies.

Researchers conclude there is a need to intensify early childhood obesity preventive efforts during critical periods of health development in the United States. They suggest future studies should estimate the feasibility, program effectiveness, and cost of implementing multilevel obesity prevention interventions and policies.

PROSPECTIVE ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN TELEVISION IN THE PRESCHOOL BEDROOM AND LATER BIO-PSYCHO-SOCIAL RISKS

A new Pediatric Research study investigated if access to a bedroom television during the preschool years at age 4 was prospectively associated with mental and physical health risks at ages 12 and 13 in adolescence. Participants were drawn from a prospective-longitudinal birth cohort from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development.

Researchers found that bedroom television at age 4 predicted a higher body mass index at age 12, more unhealthy eating habits at age 13, higher levels of emotional distress, depressive symptoms, victimization, physical aggression, and lowers levels of sociability at age 12, above and beyond pre-existing individual and family factors.

EXECUTIVE FUNCTION DEFICITS IN KINDERGARTEN PREDICT REPEATED ACADEMIC DIFFICULTIES ACROSS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

A new Early Childhood Research Quarterly study investigated whether and to what extent deficits in executive functions increase kindergarten children’s risk for academic difficulties across elementary school. Researchers analyzed the first- through third-grade achievement growth trajectories in mathematics, reading, and science of a large sample of children participating in the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort of 2011.

Researchers found that working memory deficits increase the risk for repeated academic difficulties and that lower levels of cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control also increased this risk. Researchers suggest that early interventions may need to target executive functions as well as academic skills.

ASSOCIATION OF CHILDHOOD SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL FUNCTIONING PROFILES AT SCHOOL ENTRY WITH EARLY-ONSET MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS

A new study in JAMA Network Open examined population patterns of early childhood social-emotional functioning and emergence of mental health conditions based in data from a cohort study of 34,323 children in Canada. Researchers identified social-emotional functioning profiles based on children’s relative strengths and vulnerabilities in social competence, internalizing, and externalizing symptoms at 5 years old.

Researchers found these profiles were associated with the onset of subsequent mental health conditions between ages 6 and 14 years. Researchers also identified social disparities in profile membership and suggest more than 40% of children enter the school system with relative vulnerabilities in social-emotional functioning associated with early-onset mental health conditions.

Indispensables for Quality Pre-K: 3 Practices and 3 Policies

Published recently by the Alliance for Early Success, this interactive website distills decades of research on the science of early learning based on input from 30 national leaders in early childhood. The website features an Origins page, explaining how these statements were developed, listing participants and sharing links to related projects underway around the country.

The idea of generating these statements came from five philanthropies with a dedication to improving outcomes for young children: the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, and the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Public dissemination of the project’s result is funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. New America, a non-partisan think tank, led the meetings and the dissemination work.

Advancing the Field: Improving Education and Compensation for Early Childhood Education Teachers

REL Mid-Atlantic recently published a blog exploring differing viewpoints, challenges and state policies for teacher qualifications and compensation.  In the most recent national survey of the ECE workforce, fewer than half of center-based preschool teachers had bachelor’s degrees (45 percent). The percentage was even lower for teachers of infants/toddlers and for home-based caregivers, both at 19 percent. ECE teachers are also among the lowest compensated educators, which presents a challenge in attracting and retaining highly qualified candidates. Their median earnings were less than $30,000 in 2015, well below those of K–12 teachers, which were more than $50,000 for the same period.

REL Mid-Atlantic serves Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. To address the priorities and interests of these states, REL Mid-Atlantic works in partnership with school districts, state departments of education, and others to use data and research to improve academic outcomes for students.

Advancing the Field: Improving Education and Compensation for Early Childhood Education Teachers

REL Mid-Atlantic recently published a blog exploring differing viewpoints, challenges and state policies for teacher qualifications and compensation.

In the most recent national survey of the ECE workforce, fewer than half of center-based preschool teachers had bachelor’s degrees (45 percent). The percentage was even lower for teachers of infants/toddlers and for home-based caregivers, both at 19 percent. ECE teachers are also among the lowest compensated educators, which presents a challenge in attracting and retaining highly qualified candidates. Their median earnings were less than $30,000 in 2015, well below those of K–12 teachers, which were more than $50,000 for the same period.

REL Mid-Atlantic serves Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. To address the priorities and interests of these states, REL Mid-Atlantic works in partnership with school districts, state departments of education, and others to use data and research to improve academic outcomes for students.


Opportunities

ChildFund International

ChildFund International is seeking a Senior Technical Advisor for Early Childhood Development to provide technical leadership to strengthen ChildFund International’s global program portfolio and enhance program quality on behalf of children in development and emergency contexts.

The Sr. Advisor also leads program design efforts aimed at increasing the ChildFund’s grant portfolio, represents the organization externally and develops external contacts to develop ChildFund’s resource base. For more information and to apply, click here.


Calendar

Spotlighting Early Successes Across America

Event & Webcast
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019
10 a.m. ET
Bipartisan Policy Center
1225 Eye St NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC

The Bipartisan Policy Center, in collaboration with the Educare Learning Network, is hosting an event to highlight a new report on the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, and ELN’s 2018 report, Lessons from the Evaluation of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships Across the Educare Network. Register here.


Early Education News Roundup

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

 


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