Volume 15, Issue 22

Hot Topics

PreK at the Polls

While politicians and pundits debate poll results, recent polls have found a landslide of support for child care from a key constituency–parents–as well as voter support for preschool education.

The extent to which survey respondents think of preschool education and child care as distinct is not entirely clear, but parents overwhelmingly view child care as educational. A remarkable 59 percent of US parents with children in child care consider the quality of that care “excellent” with another 29 percent calling it “very good,” according to Child Care and Health in America, a study by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. These opinions differ dramatically from ratings of quality and estimates of positive impacts produced by research.

And while the vast majority of parents–72 percent–report that child care has a “very positive” effect on their child’s overall well-being and on their own well-being as parents, two-thirds of parents also reported that they have just a few choices or only one option for child care.

Earlier surveys found strong bi-partisan support for increasing public funding for preschool, but revealed partisan differences over the role of the federal government should play.

Such results may explain why public policy tends to favor expanding access rather than enhancing quality–and provide a backdrop for evaluating the likely public response to the differing early childhood policies advocated by candidates for President.
Democrat Hillary Clinton would limit a family’s child care expense to 10 percent of household income and provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave. She would expand federal funding for Early Head Start serving low-income infants and toddlers and work over the next 10 years to make preschool universal for every 4-year-old in the US. She would boost support for quality teaching and compensation, expand home visitor programs and campus-based child care options.

The linchpin of Republican Donald Trump’s child care policy is a tax deduction, with lower-income households receiving rebates through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). He would also create new Dependent Care Savings Accounts (DCSAs) so that families can set aside extra money for child expenses or elder care. Trump’s campaign does not address preschool quality, access or workforce issues. He does advocate six-weeks paid leave to new mothers  financed through Unemployment Insurance.

New on Preschool Matters…Today!

Don’t Just Nod–Do Something

Policymakers often sidestep complicated or controversial issues by nodding– to indicate how much they would really like to be on your side–then sighing loudly and, finally, remarking that, indeed, “The devil is in the details.”
Well, say hello to the “devil.”
Last year, more than 1200 researchers signed a consensus statement describing in some detail what quality early care and education looks like and why it’s a sound public investment.


Transforming a Workforce for Children Birth to Eight

Early Childhood Career Pathways hosts a series of briefs that summarize the findings in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council’s (NRC) 2015 report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth to Eight. The briefs are intended to inform early childhood programs, states, higher education, and other interested stakeholders to strengthen the support they offer the early childhood workforce.

CPQ Tool videos

Cost of Preschool Quality Tool (CPQ) by the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes is an Excel based model that can be used at the state or district level to estimate the cost of expanding high quality preschool for 3 and 4 year olds
The newly published videos demonstrate how to use the CPQ, and share explanations from staff in Indiana who used CPQ to estimate costs of providing high quality preschool to 3 and 4 year olds in a mix of delivery settings in urban and rural areas of the state. Viewers can learn from discussion among colleagues who attended the webinar on implications for how states calculate preschool program costs and allocations, monitor sub-grantee budgets for adequacy and equity and plan for sustaining programs once PDG funding ends.
About the CPQ Tool
CPQ Demonstration
How Indiana used CPQ

Early child care and adolescent functioning at the end of high school

Results from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development
Research findings published this month in Developmental Psychology, by Deborah Lowe Vandell, Margaret Burchinal and Kim M. Pierce, demonstrated more experience in center-type care was linked to higher class rank and admission to more selective colleges…higher quality child care predicted higher academic grades and admission to more selective colleges. uggest long-term benefits of higher quality child care, center-type care, and lower child-care hourss The study examined relations between early child care and adolescent functioning at the end of high school (EOHS; M age = 18.3 years) in a prospective longitudinal study of 1,214 children.

Building bridges: How to share research about children and youth with policymakers

Policymakers are increasingly reliant on research to inform or even guide investments[/inlinetweet] in programs and practices that are most likely to meet the needs of particular populations. Researchers, and the advocates and intermediaries who share research with policymakers, therefore need to understand the ways that policymakers use research in their decisions. Child Trends reviewed the available literature to explore the conditions under which policymakers are most likely to use research, including the presentation formats that best facilitate their use. This brief provides an overview of that literature.

The New America Care Report

A good early care and learning system should support the healthy development of children, particularly at a time when their brains are rapidly growing and laying the foundation for all future learning. A functioning system should sustain the financial stability and health of families, promote opportunity and equity, support and sustain businesses, and help the economy thrive. And an effective system should be built on three pillars: affordable cost, high quality, and easy availability.

The Care Index, a data and methodology collaboration between New America, Care.com and others, examined cost, quality, and availability data in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and found that no single state does well in all three categories. Instead, families, providers, and policymakers in every state make difficult compromises that often shape family decisions and can determine the course of children’s futures.

Policy Brief on Early Learning and Use of Technology

The US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services today issued a policy brief on early learning and the use of technology to help families and early educators use technology to promote active, engaged, meaningful, and socially interactive learning.

New on nieer.org

Coming Soon! NIEER Website Redesign

Watch for a new look and new features at www.nieer.org

NIEER Activities

Effective Components of Successful Early Learning-to-Kindergarten Transitions

Shannon Riley-Ayers of NIEER and the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) was keynote for a webinar Oct. 14 about supporting succesful transitions to school thorugh leadership, effective instruction, and family and community engagement. Dr. Riley-Ayers was joined by Principal Ericka Guynes and Superintendent Andy Boe, school leaders involved in urban and rural demonstration sites of the Early Works program of the Children’s Institute in Oregon. Slides from the presentation are now available.

CEELO Update

Using Teaching Strategies GOLD® within a Kindergarten Entry Assessment System

Using Teaching Strategies GOLD® within a Kindergarten Entry Assessment System originates from a state request for information on how other states are using Teaching Strategies assessment tool GOLD® to measure kindergarten readiness. Nine states use GOLD® in various degrees as a KEA. Lessons learned from the states and links to state resources are available.


Early Education in ESSA Webinar Oct. 31

This week, the U.S. Department of Education released non-regulatory guidance to help ensure young children get the strong start they need to achieve success in school and in life. Join CEELO, state leaders from NAECS-SDE and representatives from the US Department of Education Office of Early Learning for a discussion on this new guidance 3 pm ET Monday Oct. 31. Register here.

Early Education News Roundup

U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on Supporting Early Learning through the Every Student Succeeds Act

Friday, October 21, 2016
(World News Report)

The U.S. Department of Education released today non-regulatory guidance to help ensure young children from birth through third-grade get the strong start they need to achieve success in school and in life. This is the Department’s first comprehensive look at how the nation’s new education law supports our youngest learners.

President Obama signed the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law in December to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and replace key requirements of the outdated No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. For the first time, the ESSA includes provisions to promote coordination in early learning among local communities; align preschool with early elementary school; and build the capacity of teachers, leaders and others serving young children to provide the highest-quality early learning opportunities. Early learning is woven throughout the ESSA, as a means of addressing educational equity, supporting students’ school success, and bringing greater alignment along the entire education continuum. The ESSA, also for the first time, authorizes Preschool Development Grants, building upon the existing Preschool Development Grant program which has support 18 states, to ensure more students across the country have access to high-quality preschool.
This guidance is intended to remind state and local decision-makers about the importance of investing in early learning, highlight the opportunities available under the new law to strengthen early education, and provide examples of how states and local communities can support young children’s success in school. The guidance is available here.

Children at Risk report: Quality child care critical

Thursday, October 20, 2016
(KSAT 12)

Dr. Robert Sanborn, president and CEO of the nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization Children at Risk said a report from the organization looked at early education in major Texas cities, from parenting and child care to pre-kinder.
Sanborn said although the report found quality child care is critical, “Low income kids are getting the short end of the stick.”
Sanborn said, “They’re not getting ready for pre-K programs or kindergarten the way they should be.”
He said funding for more programs like Head Start will be hard to come by during the state’s current budget crisis.
Sanborn said that’s where federal funds, school districts and cities like San Antonio can help.

One Part of the Country Still Doesn’t Invest in Pre-K. Here’s Why.

Thursday, October 20, 2016
(New America Weekly)

When you think of America’s western mountain states, what comes to mind? Wide, open spaces? Majestic peaks? Infinite blue skies? Pervasive lack of investment in pre-K?

This sparsely populated region, unique in both its striking landscape and rugged individualist ethos, is not exactly the center of attention when it comes to matters of public policy. So perhaps it is not surprising that while almost all states across the country have moved toward greater investment in pre-K, this region’s resistance to do so has, to a certain degree, escaped scrutiny.

How early childhood education can improve the Texas economy

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
(Dallas News)

Oklahoma oilman and philanthropist George Kaiser is a major proponent of early childhood education. He believes academic success has less to do with genetics, strength of character or initiative than it does with creating the right environment for strong adult-child interaction in the first three years of life. He believes we have a moral obligation to level the playing field to provide equal opportunity to those born into less fortunate circumstances. His George Kaiser Family Foundation donates millions of dollars a year in grants to causes geared toward breaking the cycle of poverty.

Remarks by President Obama on Education

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

High-quality early education is one of the best investments we can make, which is why we’ve added over 60,000 children to Head Start.  We called for high-quality preschool for every four-year-old in America.  And when I took office, only 38 states offered access to state-funded preschool.  Today, it’s up to 46. We’re trying to get those last holdouts to do the right thing.   And, by the way, the District of Columbia leads the nation with the highest share of children — nearly 9 out of 10 — in high-quality preschool.  And that’s a big achievement

The early childhood infrastructure urgently needed

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
(Reading Eagle)

Both presidential candidates have talked about the importance of infrastructure to our country’s future. New investments in buildings, roads and bridges are a key foundation for our economic success. Even more important to that success is building our human infrastructure — a foundation for preparing our nation’s children for the future. As we work to build a strong foundation for our growing economy, we must also invest in a strong foundation for our children if they are to experience future success in school and in life and be able to contribute to the long-term success of our economy and our nation.

NPR Poll: Are Parents Overrating The Quality Of Child Care?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Parents’ views of child care are a little like life in Lake Wobegon — the vast majority say it’s way above average.
That’s just one of the findings in a poll looking at child care and health from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, released Monday.

In it, we found that a remarkable 88 percent rated their child care as “very good” or “excellent.”
That stands in stark contrast to the most comprehensive and most recent study on child care and child development, which rated the quality of fewer than 10 percent of child-care arrangements in the U.S. as “very high.” The vast majority of child care was rated as only “fair.”

Early childhood, the best investment

Monday, October 17, 2016

All young children must have the same opportunity to develop their heads, hearts and minds. Why? Because investing in our youngest citizens isn’t just good for individuals — it’s critical for the future of our nation.
Research shows that inclusive, high-quality programs for all young children reap dividends as child development translates into economic gains for everyone later on. For every year that we fail to invest in our youngest learners, the future holds more kids with failing grades, a higher number of high school dropouts, more children who end up in jail, increased health care costs and fewer productive members of the workforce.