September 8, 2023 – Volume 22, Issue 36


“Student Attendance: Is It Becoming More Optional Post-Pandemic?”
The pandemic has reshaped school attendance. Nearly 10 percent of K-12 students were absent on an average day during the 2022-23 school year, with a quarter chronically absent. Possibly, students and parents have lost the habit of daily attendance. We suspect the problem is equally bad, if not worse in preschool. 

Chronic absenteeism exacerbates educational inequalities and hinders academic success. Despite efforts to combat absenteeism through home visits and digital outreach, it remains a stubborn problem.  

Read more on The New York Times.  

“Teacher Training: Start Rates vs. Completion Rates Raise Concerns” 

Teacher training in the United States is a concern, with over 300,000 teaching positions unfilled or held by unqualified individuals. Urgent policy changes are needed to ensure quality education. In addressing teacher shortages is crucial, attracting well-prepared candidates and retaining effective educators are equally important. Alarmingly, interest in teaching careers among students is at a historic low, with a 15% decline in candidates from 2012-13 to 2014-15. These statistics highlight the need for comprehensive reforms in recruitment to teacher training programs—and to compensation and working conditions in the profession—to safeguard the future of US education. 

Read more on The 74 Million.  


📢 Join the NIEER LinkedIn Community and Ignite Your Passion for Early Childhood Education    

Are you an educator, policy maker, researcher, or advocate wanting to stay informed about the latest research, policy updates, and innovative practices in the field? Look no further! Join us and drive change: As an influential voice in the field of early childhood education, NIEER wants to network with you to shape policies and practices to positively impact young children’s learning, development, and wellbeing. Join today and be part of a network that is shaping the future of early childhood education.     


How Can Public Policy Improve Quality of Early Care and Education? 

The author identifies critical indicators of quality education by age from from infants to school-age children. Specialized early education training emerges as a strong predictor of positive child development. Moreover, the research underscores the significant role of government in shaping educational quality through financial support and regulatory frameworks. The author advocates for the integration of childcare and early education policies into a unified system to ensure consistent enhancements in program quality. 



Learning to Name Uppercase and Lowercase Letters in Preschoolers and Kindergarteners: An Investigation of the Effects of Child- and Letter-Related Factors 

New research focused on Letter Name Knowledge (LNK) in French-speaking children between the ages of 3 and 5-6 shows that children’s recognition of uppercase letters was strongly influenced by the presence of those letters in their own names, while their proficiency in naming lowercase letters was significantly linked to the letters’ visual resemblance to their uppercase equivalents. The study suggests simultaneous presentation of uppercase and lowercase letters along with their names and sounds, and categorizing letters by their shape stability across cases, to enhance the effectiveness of early literacy instruction. 


The Relationship between Screen Time before Bedtime and Behaviors of Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the Mediating Effects of Sleep 

A new study found a direct correlation between screen time before bedtime and both sleep quality and behavioral problems in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Furthermore, sleep habits partially mediated the relationship between pre-bedtime screen usage and behavior. The study authors call for a clinical focus on managing screen time, particularly before bedtime, as part of a comprehensive behavioral intervention strategy for children with ASD. 


Neighborhood-Based Factors Predicting Attendance of Early Childhood Education and Care in a Universal System: A Case of Finland 

Researchers in Finland found that neighborhood urbanicity significantly affected children’s attendance at Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) facilities in Finland. Additionally, the neighborhood’s socioeconomic status (SES) played a role in whether children attended center-based ECEC. These findings underscore the importance of considering local contextual factors, not just family-specific variables, when evaluating barriers to accessing various types of ECEC services, even in settings with universal access to ECEC. 

Read more. 

Using Data Tools and Systems to Drive Change in Early Childhood Education for Disadvantaged Children in South Africa  

This research paper discusses the development of Early Learning Measurement (ELOM) tools in South Africa, aligned with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4.2. ELOM tools aim to measure preschool quality and child outcomes, addressing the need for standardized assessments. Developed through extensive research and consultation, they highlight socioeconomic disparities, the impact of physical stunting on learning, and the benefits of quality early learning programs. ELOM data supports program monitoring, evaluation, policy development, and progress tracking toward national and global development goals. The authors emphasize the importance of data-driven change in improving early childhood education. 

Read more. 


All Our Kin: Vice President of Policy & Field Building 

Center for American Progress: Senior Director, Early Childhood Policy 

ZERO TO THREE: Senior Training and Technical Assistance Specialist 

Start Early: Associate, Strategic Advancement  

Child Care Aware of America: Policy Analyst 

Prenatal to Three Policy Impact Center: Several Positions 

Harvard Center for the Developing Child: Special Assistant to the Faculty Director