Volume 15, Issue 28

Hot Topics

New Research on Head Start Across States, Territories Coming Next Week

Our new research report is the first to describe and analyze in detail Head Start enrollment, funding, observable classroom quality and duration, staff qualifications and pay and the full range of services to children and families, state-by-state for the 2014-2015 program year, along with longitudinal data beginning with the 2006-2007 program year. State(s) of Head Start will be published online.

This groundbreaking report, authored by NIEER Director W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D. and NIEER Assistant Research Professor Allison Friedman-Krauss, Ph.D., examines Head Start and Early Head Start data from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and six territories. State(s) of Head Start also includes data for Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs and American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) programs, which provide culturally sensitive services that reflect tribal heritages to children and families who are often isolated from other early childhood education programs.

NIEER Activities

NIEER Director W. Steven Barnett was a featured speaker during a Committee for Economic Development (CED) of The Conference Board webinar exploring the issues of early childhood and economic development. CED is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization that delivers well-researched analysis and reasoned solutions to our nation’s most critical issues.

The webinar, part of CED’s Policy Watch series, can be viewed here.

CEELO Update

CEELO research (Fast fact: Information and resources on developing state policy on Kindergarten Entry Assessment) is cited in a recent Child Trends brief “It Matters: Early School Readiness.”

Child Trends focuses on the benefits of school readiness. “Children who enter school with early skills, such as a basic knowledge of math and reading, are more likely than their peers to experience later academic success, attain higher levels of education, and secure employment. Absence of these and other skills may contribute to even greater disparities down the road,” the brief states.

Impact of North Carolina’s Early Childhood Programs and Policies on Educational Outcomes in Elementary School presents findings from an evaluation of North Carolina’s Smart Start and More at Four early childhood programs. It found positive impacts on reading and math tests scores as well as reductions in special education and grade retention in each grade through the end of elementary school. It found that effect sizes grew or held steady and that positive effects were found for both high- and low-poverty families.

States are working to build comprehensive early childhood assessment systems to answer key questions about young children’s learning and development and the effectiveness of early childhood programs. Research and best practice will help states as they make decisions and provide leadership in developing, adopting and providing guidance on assessment of children, programs, and educators; providing professional development on how to administer and use the results of assessments; and supporting timely, useful reporting of assessment data to early childhood programs, teachers, families, school districts and state policymakers.

To view selected assessment resources and websites, click here.


2016 Cost of Child Care Report

Child Care Aware® of America released of the Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2016 report, which examines the high cost of child care across America. For the 10th year, the report reveals a trend in lack of access to quality, affordable child care. The latest report finds that child care is too expensive for today’s families, costing more than one year of college tuition, housing, transportation, or food. This leaves families unable to afford child care in 49 out of 50 states across the country. For families living at or below the federal poverty level, full-time, center-based care for an infant ranges from almost 17 percent of family income in Mississippi to 42.5 percent of family income in Massachusetts. Visit their website to download the Parents and High Cost of Child Care: 2016 report and toolkit and explore the interactive map. In addition, register for an upcoming webinar on December 13, where the findings from the report will be discussed, including lessons learned and important policy recommendations.

Preschool Programs Found to Benefit Low-income Latino Children

Enrollment of Latino children in early care and education programs is relatively low, with six in 10 not attending preschool before kindergarten. In addition, few long-term evaluations of early care and education programs have included Latino children. Now a new study has found that low-income Latino children who attended either public school prekindergarten or center-based care with child care subsidies at age 4 did well through the end of third grade, but those in public school prekindergarten did better academically than those in center-based care, especially English language learners. Using a longitudinal research design that followed children attending different early childhood programs (specifically subsidized center based child care and public school pre-kindergarten), the study shows that public school prekindergarten appears to improve academic outcomes for third grade Latino children.

Effective Strategies to Support Advocacy Campaigns

This benchmarking report from TCC Group shares collected insights from funders and advocates across the country, in the hope that their observations will helpfully contribute to other funding and advocacy efforts. While considerable attention has been paid in previous research to factors informing the development of sound advocacy campaign strategy, comparatively less attention has been paid to the structural and operational issues that undergird successful campaign efforts. TCC Group’s research accordingly focuses on these matters.

Children’s Outcomes and Classroom Quality from Pre-K through Kindergarten Findings from Year 2 of Georgia’s Pre-K Longitudinal Study

In 2011–2012, the Georgia legislature funded a series of ongoing studies to evaluate Georgia’s Pre-K Program. The purpose of the current Longitudinal Study is to follow children from pre-K through third grade, in order to examine the short- and long-term learning outcomes for children who attended Georgia’s Pre-K as well as the quality of their preschool and early elementary school experiences. This study, started in 2013–2014, involves a longitudinal design to follow a sample of 1,169 children (including 139 Spanish-speaking DLLs) who attended 199 randomly-selected Georgia’s Pre-K classrooms. These findings focus on results from the second year of the study, which included 1,034 of these children (118 Spanish-speaking DLLs) who were attending kindergarten. The assessment measures covered multiple domains of learning, including language, literacy, math, and general knowledge, and teacher ratings of behavior skills. For the DLL subsample, assessments were conducted in both English and Spanish using parallel measures. Researchers also conducted observations of teacher-child instructional interactions in the pre-k classrooms and in a sample of kindergarten classrooms attended by children in the study.  

Supporting Quality Across Preschool Programs: Balancing Quality and Access

The Early Childhood Action Collective released the second in an ongoing series of briefs intended to inform the implementation of early childhood programs in Philadelphia. Written by Megan Carolan, Supporting Quality Across Preschool Programs: Balancing Quality and Access addresses the challenge of balancing the need to serve as many children as possible with that of providing high quality early childhood education. In this brief, Carolan examines factors contributing to quality, policies that can help to enhance access, and considerations for Philadelphia as it proceeds to implement PHLpreK. Megan Carolan is a policy researcher focused on the importance of early care and education for young children. Her research explores early education programs, health, and child welfare, with a significant focus on public financing of early childhood programs.

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: New report on Head Start coming soon, Early Childhood Education as Economic Development and Advocacy 101