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The NIEER blog reporting on research, policy, and practice

Preschool Matters Today

Early Childhood Education and the U.S. Labor Market Crisis


January 21, 2011 Outcomes

Guest post by Tim Bartik , Senior Economist, Upjohn Institute for Employment Research As Steve Barnett’s recent post indicated, the U.S. faces a prolonged labor market recovery. As of today, the U.S. would need more than 10 million additional jobs to return to the employment to population ratio at the beginning of this recession (December 2007). Based on typical job growth rates, the U.S. will take five to 10 years before returning to “normal” employment conditions. Given…

Suffer the Children: An Alarming Confluence of Events


January 14, 2011 Outcomes

While investors are celebrating brighter prospects, the news from the hinterlands continues in a much darker vein. The Wall Street Journal reports that wages for a broad swath of the labor force have taken a “sharp and swift” fall to an extent rarely seen since the Great Depression. Between 2007 and 2009 more than half…

First Do No Harm: It’s Time to Address Our Quality Problem


January 6, 2011 Outcomes

In the next several years, those of us who believe government policies can and should help children and families are going to be in a tough fight.  We need to be clear that this is not so much a fight for money as it is a fight for learning and development — a fight to…

Early Education Seen in a Human Capital Framework


December 23, 2010

The idea that education leads to the accumulation of capital in the form of more productive workers and that this returns a profit to those who invest in it goes all the way back to Scottish philosopher Adam Smith, the man considered the father of capitalism and whose The Wealth of Nations is considered the…

What the PISA Scores Are Telling Us


December 17, 2010 AssessmentOutcomes

There is much talk in Finland these days about the country’s showing in the recent international comparison of PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) scores — not the self-congratulation one might expect from a country that topped yet again the list of high performing countries, but rather a sober look at the report’s nuances. A…

Forget the Tea Party — The Milk Party Has Arrived!


December 9, 2010

Think the Children’s Movement of Florida is just another garden variety advocacy effort? You’re likely to think again after watching what could be the most compelling 15 minutes of video ever produced making the case for putting children at the top of our priority list. It incorporates five issues of the movement’s focus, the 4 ½-minute “I Am Florida”…

At a Critical Crossroads: Why Austerity Now is a False Cure


December 3, 2010

I have written in recent weeks about the difficult circumstances in which middle- and low-income families have found themselves over the past decade, as amply illustrated by the most recent census report, and pointed out the hardships the recession is placing on public budgets in general and early childhood education in particular. That this confluence…

Enlisting Early Education in the Drive for Fiscal Responsibility


November 18, 2010

Now that the elections are behind us, we’re beginning to hear less spin and more in the way of concrete ideas from those whose jobs it is to put the country on sounder footing. At the federal level, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairs of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, have…

When it Comes to Pre-K, New Mexico Has What it Takes


November 12, 2010 Outcomes

The New Mexico PreK initiative expanded quickly when it began in 2005.  Five years later it was serving upwards of 5,000 children. Unlike other state programs with speedy ramp-up times, this one has undergone rigorous examination throughout its early growth period and stood up well. A multi-year evaluation study, funded by the State of New…

Playing Sidekick to Sid the Science Kid


November 5, 2010

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating articletoday about the strategies media companies are using to attract preschoolers to their television content . It points out, among other things, that PBS Kids focuses on cognitive development. As an adviser to Sid the Science Kid, I can attest to the truthfulness of that claim. My role in helping shape the show began…