Volume 16, Issue 3

Hot Topics

Where NOT to Cut Spending

As the new administration begins outlining plans to reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over the next 10 years, a new report by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education underscores both the importance of federal programs providing early learning opportunities–and the failure of “multiple Congresses and Administrations” to invest sufficiently to meet the needs of children and families.

For example, the report states, 15 percent of eligible children receive assistance through CCDF and related programs; and Head Start serves 40 percent of eligible preschool-aged children.

NIEER’s recently published State(s) of Head Start report indicates coverage is actually lower, because not all Head Start children are poor at entry and even more move out of poverty once in the program. A better measure of coverage indicates that only 25 percent of those in poverty might be enrolled — and to make matters worse, enrollment is much lower in some states such as Nevada, for example–to top it off, funding per child often is inadequate.

To address the gaps in access and quality facing families and children, The Joint Interdepartmental Review of All Early Learning Programs for Children Less Than 6 Years of Age calls for:
Expanding access to quality, affordable child care through the Childcare Development Block Grant
Increasing the duration of Head Start programs and invest in high-quality infant and toddler care
Partnering with states to support voluntary, universal preschool
Supporting specialized services to ensure young children with disabilities receive the supports they need.

“A wealth of research on the economic, education, and social benefits of early learning makes a compelling case for investing in high-quality early learning, especially for children in low-income families…,” the report states.

“The federal efforts to coordinate and streamline are valuable in helping states and local providers, but they are not a solution or a substitute for the level of investment that is needed to expand access and quality so that all children in low- and moderate-income families will have voluntary access to high-quality early learning and care that prepares them for success in school and in life.”

New on Preschool Matters…Today!

Q&A: Federal Early Education Policy

Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education, was recently named among the nation’s 75 most influential university-based education scholars by Education Week.

Education Week recognized Dr. Barnett for his national leadership on issues of preschool quality and benefits of high-quality early learning opportunities and the influence of his research on public policy. This Q&A shares Dr. Barnett’s insights based on State(s) of Head Start, NIEER’s groundbreaking research report, for President-elect Trump’s nominees for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Rep. Tom Price.

CEELO Update

CEELO invites you to read a new information resource on KEAs. This new resource adds to documents, presentations, and webinars CEELO has produced on KEAs and assessment systems over the past years. See below for selected CEELO resources.

Assessment Tools Used in Kindergarten Entry Assessments (KEAs) is a national scan on the current assessment tools that are used in states to assess the development of children at kindergarten entry.


The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education Joint Interdepartmental Review of All Early Learning Programs for Children Less Than 6 Years of Age

Greater investment is needed in early learning, according to an analysis by the US Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. The report concludes that funding for federal programs designed to support early learning is not enough to serve all or even most eligible children. In this report, we discuss the federal programs identified by GAO, including the eight programs we identified with the primary purpose of promoting early learning for children from birth to age six. These early learning programs receive far less funding than is needed to serve all or even a fraction of eligible children or provide the level of resources needed to support and sustain high quality services.

Defining Types of Care in the National Survey of Early Care and Education

The National Survey of Early Care and Education includes rich data about usage and availability of ECE. The NSECE design allows researchers some flexibility in defining types of care for different analyses.

This webinar describes the basic data elements available in each NSECE data file for type of care definition, what definitions have been used so far, and how comparisons can be made across NSECE data files. Home-based and center-based ECE types of care will be reviewed from the perspectives of providers and households. The presentation may also be useful to researchers building type of care definitions for work with other data sets. Attend the 90-minute webinar, “Defining Types of Care in the National Survey of Early Care and Education” on January 26th at 12:30pm EDT/11:30am CDT. To register for the webinar, please click here.

Child Care: Research-Based Policy Recommendations for Executive and Legislative Officials in 2017

President-elect Trump’s proposal to improve child care includes plans to assist families with the cost of child care through a tax exclusion; the creation of child care savings accounts; relaxing regulations on child care providers in an effort to reduce costs to families; incentivizing employers to provide child care at the workplace; and providing 6 weeks of paid leave to new mothers when this benefit is not provided by their employer.

ReadyNation Media Pieces and Policymaker Communications 

ReadyNation released media pieces and policymaker communications at the state and federal levels to share information on the importance of improving the workforce through investments in kids. They also released a variety of reports that helped advance policies on early childhood, parent support, workforce development and higher education, that we hope will be useful to you – all available on our website.


Moms Rising Twitter Chat Thursday Jan. 26 2 pm. EST

NIEER Director Steve Barnett and Assistant Research Professor Allison Friedman-Krauss will join Moms Rising for a twitter chat regarding the State(s) of Head Start study released last month. Go to @MomsRising.

State(s) of Head Start is the first report to describe and analyze in detail Head Start enrollment, funding, quality, and duration, state-by-state. Despite the fact that Head Start is a federally funded, national program, the report reveals that access to Head Start programs, funding per child, teacher education, quality of teaching, and duration of services all vary widely by state.

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: ECE at the federal level, Q&A, Twitter Chat