High-Quality Early Learning Advances Equity, Says New Research from CUNY and Columbia University
Research from The City College of New York and Teachers College at Columbia University illustrates seven principles of practice that offer an expanded definition for “high-quality early learning.”
The research was informed by a cross-disciplinary effort that brings together the study of child development and the science of early learning, culturally responsive/relevant pedagogy, and multilingual development, laying the groundwork for better communication between early childhood educators and child development experts and improving practice.
Researchers Beverly Falk and Mariana Souto-Manning and their team conducted a year-long study of nine prekindergarten classrooms representing three different socioeconomic communities in New York City. In their report, Quality UPK Teaching in Diverse Settings, and an accompanying video (Principles for Advancing Equity in NYC UPKs), Falk and Souto-Manning highlight practices, behaviors, and attitudes that are increasingly important as early childhood classrooms become more diverse and as New York City makes good on its promise that children from all backgrounds receive high-quality learning opportunities.
“Children in deep poverty were the most likely to experience early conditions and circumstances that make them vulnerable to future health, development, and learning problems,” according to recent research by the National Center for Children in Poverty. Early conditions and circumstances include, “low birth weight, a physical condition or health problem that limits activities, an intellectual disability or developmental delay, participation in early intervention or special education, and less positive behavior.”
Recommendations by authors Uyen (Sophie) Nguyen, Sheila Smith, and Maribel R. Granja “incorporate income support policies targeting families in deep poverty into a two-generation approach that include investments in direct support for parents’ health and mental health, child birth outcomes, and children’s development.”
- Increase the financial resources of families with young children in deep poverty through an expansion and reform of key public benefits.
- Expand and implement Medicaid in states where this has not occurred in order to reach parents in deep poverty who lack health insurance.
The National Center for Children in Poverty is a non-partisan public policy research center at Bank Street Graduate School of Education.
NIEER faculty presented two papers at the 2020 Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Annual Fall Research Conference:
- Milagros Nores and Kwanghee Jung presented “Evaluation of West Virginia Universal Pre-K: Fourth Year Longitudinal Outcomes,” and
- Steven Barnett, Kwanghee Jung, Allison Friedman-Krauss, and Ellen Frede presented “Effects of the New Jersey Abbott Preschool Program through Middle and High School: One Vs. Two Years”
PRESCHOOL MATTERS TODAY
East China Normal University’s Dr. Lin Li, a visiting scholar at NIEER for the last twelve months, describes how a preschool teacher in Anji County, China engaged both students and parents during the pandemic. The plan not only helped children learn, but it also helped parents learn how to teach their children, too.
MDRC researchers Ximena A. Portilla, Shira Mattera, and Samantha Wulfsohn provide “guidance on implementing supplemental classroom curricula and … help preschool administrators consider how to direct their efforts to support teaching and learning.”
According to Portilla, Mattera, and Wulfsohn, research evidence highlights several “important lessons for promoting classroom quality, instructional practices, and children’s skills …. The lessons focus on three elements that supported high quality implementation and improvements in those studies:
- A well-articulated, supplemental classroom curriculum focused on instruction in a specific domain;
- Robust professional development, including ongoing teacher training led by certified trainers and in-classroom coaching to support teachers; and
- Real-time data monitoring with data-driven technical assistance and decision-making to support teacher practices.”
Researchers Asha K. Jitendra (University of California–Riverside), Ahmed Alghamdi (University of Minnesota), Rebecca Edmunds (University of Minnesota), Nicole M. McKevett (University of Minnesota), and John Mouanoutoua (California State University–Chico) conducted a meta-analysis that “examined the effectiveness of supplemental Tier 2 mathematics interventions for students with mathematics difficulties (MD).” Their results “indicated that intervention model type, group size, and type of measure significantly moderated the mathematical outcomes for students with MD.”
Dana Thomson, Emily Cantrell, Gabriella Guerra, Rachel Gooze, and Kathryn Tout of Child Trend “crosswalk recent definitions of access in the literature with the multi-dimensional definition as presented in” Defining and Measuring Access to High-Quality Early Care and Education (ECE): A Guidebook for Policymakers and Researchers (Access Guidebook).
They note “the current report provides findings from a literature review that investigates and catalogues recent efforts to define and operationalize access, with a focus on the extent to which current work at the state and federal level aligns with the multi-dimensional definition of access proposed in the Access Guidebook.”
The Bipartisan Policy Center (BBC) released a report by researchers Linda K. Smith, Anubhav Bagley, and Benjamin Wolters on “the supply of, need for, and gap in child care in 25 states prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.”
The authors make several recommendations for child care data collection, noting “these data collection insights are particularly important for states as they work to rebuild their early care and education systems which were devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
- States should consider using a point-in-time count to reflect capacity and enrollment by age, utilizing age groups that do not overlap or include school-age children.
- States should consider point-in-time counts to better understand enrollment and how it compares to licensed capacity.
- To make it a priority to understand the full scope of early care and education, states should make this data publicly available and develop forums such as State Advisory Councils where all child care agencies within a state can align their data collection efforts.
- Head Start Collaboration Offices should have access to both delegate and grantee information, including locations and use of child care subsidies by Head Start families.
- To the extent possible, states should work with tribal leaders to identify child care data in order to ensure fair representation of the supply and need in these communities.
- States need to clearly define their supply to understand how it does or does not serve families.
Researchers Caroline Fitzpatrick (Université Sainte-Anne, Church Point, Canada), Elroy Boers (Sainte-Justine Research Centre, Montréal, Canada), and Linda S. Pagani, (École de sychoéducation, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada) estimated “associations between kindergarten readiness and academic, abstract psychological, and health risks by end of high school” based on analyses of 966 Canadian children.
Based on their findings, the researchers “suggest long-term protective associations between readiness to learn in kindergarten and personal success at age 17” and “that early interventions could benefit population productivity and health.” They conclude that “early childhood readiness forecasts a protective edge by emerging adulthood.”
WestEd online series highlighting scholarly and practitioner perspectives “on the intersections between student identity, classroom culture, and formative assessment as levers for promoting agency and equity.”
- Ambitious Teaching and Formative Assessment: Creating Conditions for Equity, Tues., November 10, 2020, 11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET
- Seizing the Opportunity to Promote Student Agency Through Online Learning in a High-Poverty School District, Tues., November 17, 2020, 11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET
- An Ecological View of Assessment for Learning, Tues., December 1, 2020, 3:00 pm PT / 6:00 pm ET
- Leadership for Learning, Leadership for Equity, Tues., December 8, 2020, 11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET
The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education seeks a postdoctoral associate.
NIEER conducts and communicates research to support high-quality, effective early childhood education from infancy through the primary grades. Our aim is to stimulate policymaking that will enhance children’s learning, development, and well-being.
The postdoctoral associate will work directly with NIEER’s co-directors on research in collaboration with university and community partners. The associate will contribute to policy analysis, field research, and technical assistance to inform ECE policy and practice. The post-doctoral associate will author and co-author policy briefs and journal articles, support dissemination, and participate in grant writing and communications with potential project sponsors.
The ideal candidate will have a doctoral degree by the hire date in a discipline related to Early Childhood Education. This position will involve ECE conceptual knowledge and research expertise to design, conduct, oversee, and interpret research and to interface with elected and appointed officials as well as philanthropic partners. In addition, the candidate would need relevant professional experience in the field and/or policy research and demonstrated knowledge and expertise in ECE practice and policy. For more information, please see the full job posting.
The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) is seeking applicants for the SRCD U.S. Policy Fellowship Programs for the 2021-2022 academic year. The two fellowship programs—federal and state—provide researchers opportunities to learn firsthand about policy development, implementation, and evaluation, and use their expertise to inform child and family public policies and programs that support diverse populations. Fellowships will run from September 1, 2021, to August 31, 2022.