Volume 15, Issue 25

Hot Topics

Voters Turn Thumbs Down–and Up–on Early Education

While both presidential candidates campaigned on better supports for parents and their young children, early childhood education was more directly on the ballot at state and local levels, with mixed results.

In Missouri more than 60% of voters rejected a proposed increase in the cigarette tax to expand early childhood education beyond the current 3% of Missouri 4-year-olds enrolled in state-funded pre-K. In Oregon, roughly 60% opposed Measure 97 to increase specific corporation taxes to boost funding for public early education, K-12, healthcare and senior services.

Meanwhile, voters in two Ohio cities approved by a large margin raising taxes to subsidize and expand access to preschool for low-income children. It seems many of the most notable initiatives lately are local: Philadelphia City Council adopted the first municipal tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in the U.S. to finance universal preschool and other community services, and New York City has expanded high-quality, public preschool to all 4-year-olds so that roughly 70,000 children now attend regardless of income or neighborhood.

Recent Department of Education guidelines on the key role of early learning under the Every Student Succeeds Act also call for local action, in this case with school systems stepping up their efforts for young children.

As communities move forward to meet the needs of young children and their families, focus should be maintained on ensuring high quality. Last year, more than 1200 researchers signed NIEER’s Early Childhood Education Consensus Letter describing in some detail what quality early care and education looks like and why it’s necessary if these new initiatives are to be sound public investments, providing a road map for policy makers at any level. Read the letter here.

New on Preschool Matters…Today!

Special Report: Shortcomings of Pre-K Policies for Children Who are Dual Language Learners

by Alexandra Figueras-Daniel, Ph.D.

The largest ethnic group among children age five and under is Hispanic, including many families whose home language is not English. How to best meet the early learning needs of these Dual Language Learners–taking into account risk factors such as poverty and limited English proficiency, as well as benefits such as a rich culture–is an important issue facing policymakers, preschool educators, and parents.

New on NIEER.org

In this 2016 NAEYC Annual Conference presentation, Alissa A. Lange, Ph.D. and Kimberly Brenneman, Ph.D. discussed how to build on popular preschool science activities (e.g., making play dough) so children develop key science inquiry skills and have the opportunity to truly be the naturally curious scientists they already are.

CEELO Update

Qualifications of Kindergarten Teachers shares responses from state contacts on the NAECS-SDE listserv on requirements for Kindergarten teachers in twelve states. It includes a table that lists responses from states and describes the state’s requirements, along with links to specific state resources and tools are included where applicable.


Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Child Care Assistance: A Weakened Safety Net for Families

A new NWLC policy memo, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and child Care Assistance: A Weakened Safety Net for Families, highlights the challenges that low-income families face with limited TANF and child care policies and investments. The safety net for families and children is very tattered.

NAFCC 27th Annual Conference

The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) is seeking proposals for the 27th Annual Conference, taking place in Mobile, Alabama July 19-22, 2017. The conference theme is Creating Connections. NAFCC invites workshop proposals that explore opportunities to create and build connections with children and families, and across the early childhood education landscape. Click here for a preview of the conference tracks and click here for additional information and the submission form. The deadline is January 6, 2017.

Benefits, Costs of Tulsa’s Universal Pre-K Examined

Researchers Timothy Bartik, William Gormley Jr., Jonathan Belford, and Sara Anderson find in A Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Tulsa Universal Pre-K Program that the benefits of Tulsa’s program outweigh the costs by about 2-to-1, which is much lower than the 7-to-1 ratio but still a cost-effective investment. The benefits were calculated from projected increases in pre-K participants’ future earnings and reductions in crime based on their lower rates of retention by 9th grade compared to students who did not participate. Grade retention is associated with lower earnings and higher rates of crime in adulthood.

Media and Young Minds

Media and Young Minds is a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics that “reviews the existing literature on television, videos, and mobile/interactive technologies; their potential for educational benefit; and related health concerns for young children (0 to 5 years of age).” The statement also highlights areas in which pediatric providers can offer specific guidance to families in managing their young children’s media use, not only in terms of content or time limits, but also emphasizing the importance of parent-child shared media use and allowing the child time to take part in other developmentally healthy activities.


Finding Evidence with the What Works Clearinghouse: A Webinar for Educators
November 16
2 pm. ET

The What Works Clearinghouse is a trusted source for scientific evidence of what works in education. Attend this interactive webinar to learn how to easily access interventions, programs, policies, and practices to aid student achievement. Presenters will show the WWC website’s new features and functionality and demonstrate their use through case studies. Attendees are invited to ask questions in the Q&A session.

This event is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences, part of the U.S. Department of Education. Register Now.

Early Education in the News

ICYMI: Read this week’s key stories on early childhood education issues.

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Did voters support ECE? How qualified are Kindergarten teachers and How to Bring STEM into PreK