Volume 16, Issue 2

Hot Topics

Everyday People

In an exit interview with National Public Radio, Department of Education Secretary John B. King Jr. this week described DOE as “a civil rights agency with a responsibility to protect the civil rights of students and to ensure that school is a safe and supportive place for all kids.”

In his farewell address, President Obama warned that “If we decline to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don’t look like us, we diminish the prospects of our own children…”

Also this week, the U.S. Supreme Court took up a case clarifying long-standing federal law declaring the nation’s 6.7 million schoolchildren with disabilities have a right to “free appropriate public education.”

Access to free, effective education has been a promise to children and families in the US since the 19th Century. How that promise is interpreted has evolved—Brown v Board of Education, Title IX, IDEA—reflecting social and legal battles over the decades.

Today, early education advocates are preparing for new debates as a new Congress and new administration reshape and implement national education policy, and governors and state legislatures address the needs of young children closer to home. (See Opportunities and  Resources below.) At the same time, concerns over who has access and who benefits from learning opportunities extend beyond US borders.

A white paper published this week by the World Economic Forum explores how changes in demographics, culture, and technology are challenging business, governments, and individuals around the globe. Realizing Human Potential in the Fourth Industrial Revolution An Agenda for Leaders to Shape the Future of Education, Gender and Work seeks to provide “a shared vision of priorities for reform within education, work and care, and support leaders in advocating for investments in human capital in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

If leaders use “this moment of transformation as an impetus for tackling long overdue reform on education, gender and work,” the report states, “they have the ability not only to stem the flow of negative trends but to accelerate positive ones and create an environment in which over 7 billion people can live up to their full potential.”

New on Preschool Matters…Today!

Out of Context: Can Standards Create Better Teaching, Learning Opportunities?

by Jim Squires, Ph.D.

Standards have taken their rightful place for many educators, students, and policymakers. Professional standards, program standards, content standards, and performance standards have contributed to greater clarity, understanding, equity, and professionalism, benefiting children and families in the process. Context standards deserve to be an integral part of the mix and not viewed as “soft stuff.” If early education focuses on content without regard to context, we risk failure in educating children for a society we seek.

NIEER Activities

NIEER Assistant Research Professor Allison Friedman-Krauss, Ph.D., co-author of the groundbreaking State(s) of Head Start report, just had earlier Head Start research published by the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness.

Attending high-quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) is associated with higher cognitive and social-emotional skills, especially for children growing up in poverty, but access to high-quality ECCE is limited. Unpacking the Treatment Contrast in the Head Start Impact Study: To What Extent Does Assignment to Treatment Affect Quality of Care? explored whether the randomized offer to attend Head Start raises the quality of ECCE in which children enroll. The results highlight the important role of Head Start in providing high-quality ECCE for low-income children.

CEELO Update

Participation in high-quality preschool can improve academic, behavioral, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes for students, a new USDOE case study reports. “However…[w]ithout additional and continuous supports as children proceed through the elementary grades, participation in preschool does not inoculate against the potential challenges that children, particularly children at risk for poorer academic outcomes, may face.”

CEELO this week shared the USDOE report: Case Studies of Schools Implementing Early Elementary Strategies: Preschool Through Third Grade Alignment and Differentiated Instruction examining two types of strategies identified as promising practices to support sustained positive effects of preschool, along with case studies of five programs.


The National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy at the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is launching an interdisciplinary research initiative to examine policies and practices that effectively promote academic success and healthy socio-emotional development in multilingual and superdiverse contexts for young Dual Language Learners (DLLs). The initiative is focusing on superdiversity within early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs, which is an increasingly common phenomenon, but one without a clear definition or a sufficient research base.

In order to build the research base on ECEC in superdiverse contexts, MPI is soliciting papers by scholars working in child development, education, sociology, psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, public policy, migration, and other relevant fields. Complete details on the call for papers, including submission guidelines, can be found here.

Paper proposals should be submitted by February 10, 2017.


Helping Immigrant Students Succeed
The U.S. Department of Education recently shared new resources to support educators and families in ensuring the success of immigrant students. A blog explains this effort, with more details available on the Department’s website.

A new resource guide includes tips for educators to facilitate school enrollment by immigrant families, promote healthy child development in the school setting, encourage caregiver engagement, and build staff capacity and knowledge about immigrant students and their educational needs. The guide also offers advice to parents and guardians about playing an active role in helping to ensure their children’s success in school regardless of their own schooling history or context.

A “sensitive locations” factsheet for educators and families provides a user-friendly explanation of how DHS policy defines immigration enforcement activity around “sensitive locations,” including schools and school bus stops, as well as other community spaces and social activities.

Infants And Toddlers in the Policy Picture: A Self-Assessment Toolkit For States
All infants and toddlers need good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences. Furthermore, young children benefit most from an early childhood system that is built through collaboration. These goals form the framework for a policy agenda that creates a comprehensive range of services and supports that honor the needs and choices of families for their children. This self-assessment toolkit from  Zero to Three draws on research on effective policies and best practices to help states evaluate progress toward building an effective early childhood system and set priorities for improvement.

Research Connections’ Research-to-Policy Resource List
States have begun incorporating careers pathway programs into their workforce and professional development systems to strengthen and support the early childhood workforce. This research-to-policy resource list compiles publications from 2008 to the present on early childhood career pathways and career ladders or lattices. Resource topics include: 1) State workforce surveys, 2) Descriptions and considerations for developing early childhood career pathways, 3) State and city efforts to develop early childhood career pathways and career ladders or lattices, 4) Evaluations of early childhood career ladders or lattices.

DOE Webinar Series
The Department of Education announced that it will host a weekly webinar series  (Wednesdays from 2-3:30 EST) beginning this month. Please note that participants must register and the schedule may change. A detailed agenda will be provided prior to each session. Next webinar:

January 18 Consolidated State Plan: Consultation, Performance Management, and Assessment Requirements. Register here.


2017 Inclusion Institute May 9-11
The National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill provides educational opportunities for anyone involved in the care and education of young children with special needs in inclusive settings. Federal panelists return to share new information on early childhood policies and initiatives related to inclusion and to supporting children with disabilities and their families. Participants will have opportunities to ask questions and share their perspectives with the panelists.

Read more about the 2017 Inclusion Institute and register here: http://inclusioninstitute.fpg.unc.edu/

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: Who will be included? Putting ECE in context and Measuring Progress