April 2, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 13


NIEER Outlines Plan to Achieve Universal Preschool in the US

Universal high-quality preschool is achievable within the next 30 years if the federal government partners with state and local governments to share costs under a two-part plan proposed by NIEER.

Public preschools in the United States currently serve only 1.8 million children. Critically, the NIEER plan prioritizes raising quality and enrolling unserved children in low-income families first. Research demonstrates payoffs to investing in pre-K depend on high quality and ensuring the most disadvantaged children are served.

“At its current pace and without federal government leadership, the United States won’t reach all children with free preschool before 2100,” said NIEER Founder and Senior co-Director Steven Barnett. “This proposed cost-sharing partnership provides a measured and predictable path to universal high-quality preschool within a reasonable time frame.”

NIEER’s plan calls on the federal government to match state and local-level investments in high-quality preschool for children under 200 percent of the federal poverty level. This focus will expand high-quality preschool to 2.5 million more low-income 3- and 4-year olds by 2040.

Building on this foundation, state and local governments would be able to expand their preschool programs to reach all 3- and 4-year olds by 2050 and achieve universal high-quality preschool in all 50 states.

The cost-sharing plan would enable states to set high preschool quality standards, provide children full-day preschool 180 days a year, and support competitive salaries for well-qualified teachers.

The plan would cost the federal government an additional $7.7 billion and state and local governments $13.3 billion during the first four years. A steady annual increase to reach full enrollment of children from low-income families would result in $15.5 billion in new federal funding and $26.7 billion in new state and local funding by the 2040 school year.

State and local governments currently spend more than $10.5 billion for their preschool programs, but preschool investment in most states is inadequate to support high-quality programs, according to NIEER Early Childhood Education Policy Specialist Karin Garver, who estimated the cost of quality for each state. Read more about the plan here.



Reaching Thousands of Children in Low-Income Communities with High-Quality ECD Services: A Journey of Perseverance and Creativity

NIEER co-Director for Research Milagros Nores coauthored a new article in Frontiers in Public Health on a nongovernmental organization’s initiative to increase access to quality early childhood education and development (ECED) in Colombia.

“After a decade of work, Fundación Carulla-aeioTU has shown capacity to effectively support children’s development in low-income settings through their participation in quality programming,” wrote Nores and fellow authors Nathalia Mesa of Fundación Carulla-aeioTU and Hilda Vega of Hispanics in Philanthropy in Chicago.

The case study “contributes to understanding the possibilities for the private sector to spark innovation, and the importance of an open and collaborative strategy in contributing to the ECED sector at large,” they wrote.

The article highlights the challenges and successes of aeioTU’s model and its evolution in order to scale up. “The aeioTU experience proves it is possible to bring high-quality ECED services to any child anywhere,” they wrote. The authors noted the importance of public and private sector partnerships in transforming ECED ecosystems. Read the article here.


NIEER Presents at SRCD 2021 Meeting

NIEER researchers are presenting six papers at the Society for Research in Child Development 2021 Virtual Biennial Meeting, April 7-9. Symposiums featuring NIEER presenters and papers are listed below. Register for the meeting here.


Symposium: Nurturing Early Childhood Teacher Well-Being and Teaching Quality Through Essential Organizational Conditions and Leadership

Paper: Preschool Teacher Perceptions of School Organizational Conditions in High-Poverty School Districts

Authors: NIEER Assistant Research Professor Allison Friedman-Krauss (presenter); NIEER co-Director for Research Milagros Nores; and NIEER Senior co-Director W. Steven Barnett

Date/Time: Wednesday, April 7, 10 a.m. EDT


Symposium: Evidence of the Benefits of Early Childhood Programs on Child Development in International Contexts

Paper: Understanding the Short-, Medium- and Long-Term Impacts of Early Childhood Interventions Across the Globe

Authors: NIEER co-Director for Research Milagros Nores (presenter); and Raquel Bernal of Universidad de los Andes

Date/Time: Wednesday, April 7, 2:45 p.m. EDT


Symposium: Sequencing of Early Learning Experiences: Dosage, Instructional Alignment, and Children’s Developmental Outcomes

Paper: Effects of the New Jersey Abbott Preschool Program through Middle and High School: One vs. Two Years

Authors: NIEER Assistant Research Professor Allison Friedman-Krauss (presenter); NIEER Senior co-Directors W. Steven Barnett and Ellen Frede; and NIEER Associate Director for Data Management and Statistics Kwanghee Jung

Date/Time: Wednesday, April 7, 4:20 p.m. EDT


Symposium: Young Children’s Home Learning Environment During COVID-19 Pandemic

Paper: Young Children’s Preschool Participation Experiences and Home Learning During the Pandemic in USA

Author: NIEER Senior co-Director W. Steven Barnett (presenter); and NIEER Associate Director for Data Management and Statistics Kwanghee Jung

Date/Time: Friday, April 9, 10 a.m. EDT


Symposium: Young Children’s Home Learning Environment During COVID-19 Pandemic

Paper: Kindergarten Children’s Home Learning During the Pandemic in China

Authors: NIEER Assistant Research Professor Zijia Li (presenter);  Lin Li, East China Normal University (presenter); and Jin Huang, East China Normal University

Date/Time: Friday, April 9, 10 a.m. EDT


Symposium: Advancing the Measurement of Early Care and Education Quality to Support Young Children’s Development

Paper: Exploring Two Differing Approaches to Measuring Children’s Preschool Classroom Experiences

Authors: NIEER co-Director for Research Milagros Nores (presenter); NIEER Assistant Research Professor Allison Friedman-Krauss; and Alexandra Figueras-Daniel, Bank Street College of Education

Date/Time: Friday, April 9, 1:10 p.m. EDT


Complete Set of Guidance Briefs for Pre-K Advocates Now Available

NIEER’s complete three-part Guide to Support Pre-K Expansion is now available to pre-K advocates and others.

Access all three here.



It’s Time to Invest in Global Childcare

Joan Lombardi, a member of ITC@NIEER’s advisory committee, recently coauthored an article with Megan O’Donnell for the Center for Global Development on how the pandemic revealed the “world’s underinvestment in quality childcare.” They outline actions that should be taken now to address the global childcare crisis. Read the article here.


The New Neighborhood

ITC@NIEER advisory committee member Joan Lombardi is hosting a limited series podcast called “The New Neighborhood.” The program explores a changing nation “as people work to reinforce a sense of community, support young children and families, and work to build equity within communities.”

Recent episodes include “Strengthening Partnerships Between Housing and Early Childhood,” “DULCE: Meeting the Holistic Needs of Families with Infants in Health Clinics,” and “Parent Voice at the Heart of Universal Preschool in Multnomah County, OR.” Listen here.



ECE Policy Research Professor – Open Rank

NIEER is seeking a non-tenure track research professor (open rank). Please join our multidisciplinary group of researchers and policy experts to conduct and communicate research designed to stimulate policymaking. Our research informs policy to support high-quality, effective early childhood education from infancy through the primary grades. We collaborate with a network of local, state, national and international leaders to design, conduct and disseminate rigorous research, evaluation and policy analysis. Use your ECE conceptual knowledge and research expertise to partner with elected and appointed officials as well as philanthropic partners to improve young children’s learning, development and well-being. For a full job description and to apply, click here.


Research Project Manager

NIEER is looking for a research project manager to support current and emerging projects in early childhood research. Minimum requirements include a master’s degree in early childhood education or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and/or experience, plus a minimum three years of experience in a research environment. Only applications submitted via Rutgers University’s employment website will be considered. For a full job description and to apply, click here.


Early Childhood Education Policy Specialist

NIEER is seeking an early childhood education policy specialist to conduct policy analysis and provide technical assistance to state policy makers; our goal is to inform ECE policy and practice at the national, state and local levels. The position also involves helping to obtain funding by contributing to proposals and discussions with potential project sponsors. A master’s degree in public policy or related discipline and a minimum of three years of relevant professional experience are required. Learn more and apply here.



Teachers and Language Outcomes of Young Bilinguals: A Scoping Review

Rica Ramírez, Becky H. Huang, Amanda Palomin and Laurenne McCarty of the University of Texas at San Antonio analyzed 21 peer-reviewed articles published between 2000 and 2019 on how teacher factors influence bilingual children’s language outcomes. They sought to synthesize research findings and identify gaps in the literature.

The researchers found that “teachers do in fact influence the language development of young bilinguals,” though there was some variability in the literature. Teacher talk and teacher quality were the two main themes investigated by the research community, they said. Read the abstract here.


A Meta-analysis of the Impact of Social and Emotional Learning Interventions on Teachers’ Burnout Symptoms

Social and emotional learning interventions help with teacher burnout in the areas of emotional exhaustion and personal accomplishment, a meta-analysis of 13 studies found. The research was conducted by Sofia Oliveira, Magda Sofia Roberto, Ana Margarida Veiga-Simão, and Alexandra Marques-Pinto of the Universidade de Lisboa in Portugal. Read the abstract here.


A Comprehensive, Multisystemic Early Childhood Program and Obesity at Age 37 Years

In what is believed to be the first of its kind, a study found that children from impoverished, mostly Black neighborhoods in Chicago who attended a preschool program in the 1980s focused on promoting health had significantly lower rates of obesity in their 30s.

Subjects in the study attended a Child-Parent Center (CPC) preschool program that offered small classes, individualized learning experiences, parenting classes on health and nutrition, support groups, and community engagement.

“We found CPC participation was associated with significantly lower rates of adult BMI (body mass index),” reported researchers Arthur J. Reynolds of the University of Minnesota, Lauren Eales of Boston Children’s Hospital and Suh-Ruu Ou of the University of California, San Francisco. “This was especially apparent for high-risk groups, where reductions in obesity prevalence were up to 29%. The study involved 1,042 participants, 689 from the CPC participation group and 353 from the comparison group.

The CPC preschool program “showed evidence of improving healthy body mass for an urban and predominately Black cohort at a time of growing national need,” they concluded. Read the article here.


Associations between Early Childhood Parent–Child Attachment and Internalizing/Externalizing Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis

Researchers from Canada found consistent associations between insecure early childhood attachment and both internalizing and externalizing symptoms measured from preschool through adolescence. Children classified as disorganized/controlling were at heightened risk, according to the researchers, who reviewed 34 articles. The study was conducted by Shaylea D. Badovinac, Rebecca Pillai Riddell, Jodi Martin and Monica C. O’Neilla of York University, and Audrey-Ann Deneault and Jean-François Bureau of the University of Ottawa. Read the abstract here.


Developmental Screening and Monitoring are Associated with Increased Preschool Special Education Receipt

Preschoolers whose health care provider performed developmental monitoring or both development screening and monitoring were far more likely to receive special education services than children who did not receive screening or monitoring.

That’s according to a new study that used data from the National Surveys on Children’s Health for 2007 and 2012. More research is needed “to understand the effectiveness of monitoring for early identification and appropriate routing of children to relevant care systems,” wrote authors Brian D. Barger and Andrew T. Roach of Georgia State University and Catherine E. Rice of Emory University, also in Atlanta. Read the abstract here.



Director, Evaluation & Improvement, Early Start

Director, Delaware Research Alliance, Temporary Research Faculty Member (open rank), University of Delaware