November 8, 2019 – Volume 18, Issue 41

Hot Topics
Access to High-Quality State-Funded Preschool by Black and Latinx Children
Black and Latinx children have little access to high-quality state-funded preschool, according to The Education Trust. It found Latinx children have particularly low access to high-quality state preschool programs. They report that Latinx children are underrepresented in state-funded preschool programs in 11 of 26 states and Black children are underrepresented in three of those states.
Not to be overlooked—as the Education Trust points out–is that many states can’t breakout enrollment by ethnicity, which precludes them from evaluating problems in ensuring access.
However, the reported numbers (which come from NIEER’s annual survey of state pre-K programs) must be interpreted cautiously.
Some reported differences hinge on whether states provide significant services for any children at age 3. Others may relate to Head Start participation, which varies dramatically from state to state. Head Start enrollment of Black and Latinx children is more than proportional to their representation in the overall population. Head Start enrolls about half the low-income population in Mississippi, nearly a third in Washington DC, and nearly a quarter in Oklahoma.
With Head Start enrolling so many Black and Latinx children, accurate evaluation of the enrollment of Black and Latinx children in state pre-K requires taking into account Head Start enrollment, which this report does not do. We can’t make good policy without that information. Head Start by-passes state government which complicates efforts to produce unduplicated counts across the two programs, but the problem is not insurmountable. The bigger and more important issue is how difficult it is to develop integrated services with Head Start and state pre-K that don’t sort children into different programs by income.
Preschool Matters Today
Instructional alignment for sustaining the prekindergarten boost: Early findings from Boston
New research on the long-term effects of Boston’s high-quality pre-K program presents challenges to the field with overall results that many may find daunting. Results based on the lottery for over-subscribed programs may seem particularly bleak. However, there is much to be learned from this work about who benefits under what conditions and how the field can strengthen long-term gains. Professor Chris Weiland offers keen insights into these issues in a brief blog.
NIEER Activities
NIEER Staff Provides Technical Assistance at Alliance Conference
NIEER’s GG Weisenfeld and Lori Connors-Tadros attended and provided consultative technical assistance at the Alliance for Early Success’ 2019 Partner Summit in Atlanta, GA. The national summit brought together more than 200 state and national early childhood advocacy and policy leaders.
Webinar on Developing Pre-K Teacher Workforce
NIEER is collaborating with CityHealth to host Challenges and Solutions to Growing a Highly Qualified Pre-K Workforce within Cities, Tuesday, November 12 at 2:00 PM ET. This webinar focuses on how working with institutes of higher education and other key stakeholders on salary parity, teacher certification and licensure, and assistant teacher recruitment and development can create a pipeline of highly qualified pre-K teachers.
NIEER’s Lori Connors-Tadros Facilitates CCSSO Sessions
NIEER’s Lori Connors-Tadros attended the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Early Childhood Learning Collaborative in Minneapolis, MN, facilitating a session on building state capacity to implement effective policy for early childhood education and another on strategies to effectively implement a cross-sector, multi-year strategic plan.
ECE Resources
How Do Early Care and Education Workforce and Classroom Characteristics Differ Between Subsidized Centers and Available Center-Based Alternatives for Low-Income Children?
Comparing subsidized center-based classrooms to classrooms in other center-based settings that primarily serve low-income children, researchers found “In the vast majority of comparisons, differences between subsidized settings and others were not statistically significant.” When there were differences, “subsidized settings are lower in quality than Head Start or public pre-K settings … but higher in quality than non-publicly-funded settings.”
Examining How Rural Ecological Contexts Influence Children’s Early Learning Opportunities
Examining stakeholder perceptions on how ecosystems influence children’s learning environments and opportunities in rural communities, researchers found “a range in the level of familial poverty, early education access, family-school engagement, available community resources, and cultural diversity.”
The Changing Portrait of Center-Based Preschool Teachers: 1990 and 2012
Researchers examined “the racial-ethnic composition, education and experience, and compensation and turnover of preschool teachers … in ECE programs receiving and not receiving public funds between 1990 and 2012.” Despite increases in teacher experience and education “over this 22-year period, wages have remained flat,” researchers report.
School-based, Blacklight Handwashing Program Can Improve Handwashing Quality and Knowledge among Pre-School Aged Children
Examining an intervention using black light technology to help to preschool children understand high quality handwashing, researchers report it improved handwashing quality and handwashing knowledge.
Early Education News Round-up
The week’s key stories on early childhood education. Read now.
Associate/Full Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Challenges and Solutions to Growing a Highly Qualified Pre-K Workforce Webinar, Tuesday, November 12, 2:00 PM ET.