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The NIEER blog reporting on research, policy, and practice

Preschool Matters Today

Rx for President Obama’s Early Learning Budget: Tie it Firmly to Education Reform


February 5, 2010 Outcomes

Although I have long championed a big boost in the federal commitment for early care and education, I have a major concern with the FY 2011 early care and education budget increases President Obama proposed this week. The funding increases the president proposes for FY2011 are, if nothing else, big. They include: • A $1.6…

Change we need: Responding responsibly to the results of the Head Start Impact Study


January 15, 2010 Outcomes

One prediction I make confidently is that most responses to the new report on Head Start’s effects will be wrong. Advocates of Head Start will try to “kill the messenger” by attacking the study and rejecting any notion that Head Start needs serious reform. Opponents of Head Start will claim that the program has been…

For-Profit Pre-K Providers Faring Reasonably Well … So Far


January 8, 2010

One of many fascinating articles by Roger Neugebauer at ChildCare Exchange provides a snapshot of how the top 50 for-profit child care companies are faring and their major concerns. Like most of the rest of us, CEOs of the top 50 are most concerned about the state of the economy and the rising cost of health…

Clearing the Way for Better Benefit-Cost Analyses


December 23, 2009

Benefit-cost analyses (BCA) — quantifying benefits of interventions, often expressing them in dollars returned per dollar invested — are key drivers of early education policy. They’re widely consulted when early education decisions are debated, but few who use them have much in the way of an understanding of how they come about. A booklet just off…

Rx for Better Urban Schools: High-Quality Pre-K


December 11, 2009

Children’s math scores at fourth and eight grade haven’t progressed appreciably in most urban school districts over the last two years, says the most recent report from U.S. Department of Education. Only four of the 11 urban districts the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has been tracking since 2003 showed significant gains. That doesn’t mean…

Did Michigan Create an Incentive to Sacrifice Pre-K?


November 30, 2009

When Michigan’s leaders finally settled on a FY 2010 budget, it looked as if the cuts to the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) weren’t so bad, considering the dire condition of the economy there. The part of GSRP that’s formula-funded received the same $88.1 million allotted to it in FY 2009. The portion that is…

What We Don’t Know Will Hurt Us


November 19, 2009

Does it really surprise you that children entering kindergarten unprepared places them at a disadvantage over the long term? No, right! Well, it did surprise many Americans, according to a recently released survey from the Pearson Foundation. According to the poll, about three-quarters of Americans assume that even if children enter kindergarten not ready for school,…

The Benefits of Investments in Early Development Around the Globe


November 13, 2009

Worldwide, a huge source of human potential is lost as children grow up without the benefit of effective investments in their early development. More than 200 million children under 5 years of age are not reaching their full mental, physical, and social developmental potential, says a recent report from The Open University based in the United…

Avoiding the “Poverty Trap”


November 9, 2009

Poverty is a problem in America, and it is a more serious problem here than in many other nations including some with average incomes considerably below ours. However, it is not the only problem in America, nor is it the sole cause or even most important cause of our student achievement problem. Nevertheless, our debates…

How the Fade-out Myth Gets Perpetuated


November 2, 2009

Last week, the Associated Press (AP) reported on an evaluation of Tennessee’s state-funded pre-K program commissioned by that state’s Comptroller’s office (See, for example, Memphis Daily News, “Report: Tenn. Pre-K Not Effective After Second Grade” ). As the headline indicates, the report is being widely cited as finding that pre-K has no lasting impact. This would be dismaying if true, because Tennessee has…