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The NIEER blog reporting on research, policy, and practice

Preschool Matters Today

Q&A: Federal Early Education Policy


January 20, 2017

Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education, was recently named among the nation’s 75 most influential university-based education scholars by Education Week. Education Week recognized Dr. Barnett for his national leadership on issues of preschool quality and benefits of high-quality early learning opportunities and the influence of his research…

Out of Context: Can Standards Create Better Teaching and Learning Opportunities?


January 12, 2017
Jim Squires, Ph.D.

It may be difficult to pinpoint the origin of the movement toward establishing standards in early education.  Some claim state child care licensing regulations represented the first significant stake in the ground as basic safeguards for young children’s health and safety were established. Others point to defining professional criteria for educators in public schools, broadening  over time to encompass early…

Keeping the “Kinder” in Kindergarten: Developmentally Appropriate Practice in New York


January 5, 2017
Kate Abbott, Ph.D.

Take a moment to think of your most meaningful learning experience as a student. What stands out as having the greatest impact, some lesson you still carry today?  Now, please think of your favorite worksheet. I’m guessing the answer to the first question was perhaps the reason you have dedicated so much of your life…

Understanding Head Start Coverage: Why It’s Less (and More) than You Think


December 16, 2016
by W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D.

Research in the news this week from the Center for Law and Social Policy, and NIEER’s own State(s) of Head Start report, focused on Head Start enrollment and revealed how location and other factors influence opportunity, especially for low-income families and children. These reports also bring to fore common misunderstandings in the way access to early care and education…

State(s) of Head Start: Funding, enrollment and quality are all over the map


December 14, 2016
by Allison Friedman-Krauss, Ph.D.

Research is clear that developmental trajectories in the first five years profoundly influence later success in school and life. That is why it is so important that every child have access to high-quality early learning experiences, especially those growing up in the most adverse circumstances. Head Start is the nation’s most ambitious effort to support…

Building Bridges: Linking Early Learning and Primary School


December 1, 2016
by Shannon Riley-Ayers, Ph.D.

As highlighted by recent reports , today’s system of care and education for our youngest learners is both fragmented and inadequate. Too often, early learning opportunities are undermined by developmentally inappropriate academic expectations that create anxiety, misaligned teaching and learning practices that create confusion and myopic policies that create competition rather than collaboration. Happily, a consensus…

Putting the ‘Every’ in ESSA: How States Can Prioritize PreK to Grade 3


November 16, 2016 FederalState & Local
by Lori Connors-Tadros, Ph.D.

What would it take for “every child to succeed,” as our new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) suggests?  States can choose to use this major federal education legislation, which at its core is intended to address inequities in educational opportunities, to refocus on the early years–birth to third grade.  State forerunners in addressing early learning…

Special Report: Shortcomings of Pre-K Policies for Children Who are Dual Language Learners


November 8, 2016
Alexandra Figueras-Daniel, Ph.D.

The largest ethnic group among children age five and under is Hispanic, including many families whose home language is not English. How to best meet the early learning needs of these Dual Language Learners–taking into account risk factors such as poverty and limited English proficiency, as well as benefits such as a rich culture–is an…

He Said; She Said: Candidates Promote Competing Visions for Child Care


November 1, 2016 AccessFederal
by Michelle Horowitz

For the first time in many years, both major political party candidates for President have acknowledged child care as an important national policy issue. Indeed, both Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have campaigned on the issue, promising that child care would be a priority for their administration. But that’s where the agreement ends;…

Questions of Access and Equity: Suspension and Expulsion in PreK


October 26, 2016 AccessOutcomesState & Local
by Kate Abbott, Ph.D.

Expanding access to quality preschool has been a focus of recent policies at both the state and national levels.  The 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act includes federal support to states that can be used to expand access to quality prekindergarten.  Individual states have varied in their adoption of prekindergarten initiatives. Vermont, for…