Policy Analysis

Getting the Facts Right on Pre-K and the President’s Prek-K Proposal


W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D.

This policy Fast Fact was originally published in February 2013 and recently re-loaded to our website. Both science and public policy are best advanced based on impartial analysis of all the available evidence. No single study stands on its own, much l

In Pursuit of Pre-K Parity


Marcy Whitbook, Ph.D. and Caitlin McLean, Ph.D.
Center for the Study of Child Care Employment

A Proposed Framework for Understanding and Advancing Policy and Perspective  More than half of all state-funded pre-kindergarten (pre-K) programs now require lead teachers to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher, as do many city-funded pre-K programs, ye

Funding Landscape for Preschool with a Highly Qualified Workforce


W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D. and Richard Kasmin

The purpose of this paper is to consider the potential implications of funding state pre-K programs through some version of the school funding formulas used in K-12 with particular attention to how this might facilitate more adequate compensation for a

Implementing 15 Essential Elements for High Quality: A State and Local Policy Scan


W. Steven Barnett, G.G. Weisenfeld, Kirsty Clarke Brown, Jim Squires, and Michelle Horowitz

See the 2018 report Implementing 15 Essential Elements for High-Quality Pre-K: An Updated Scan of State Policies In this report we explore the extent to which 41 states, the District of Columbia, and three large cities support high-quality state-funded

Responses to Top Concerns about Common Core State Standards


Kirsty Clarke Brown, Editor

A collection of blog posts from early childhood education experts, on concerns about Common Core State Standards in early childhood education, including selected resources for parents and educators. You can link to the first post in the series here: ht

Technical Report: Kindergarten Early Learning Scale


Shannon Riley-Ayers, Kwanghee Jung, & Jorie Quinn
The Kindergarten Early Learning Scale (KELS) was developed as a concise observational assessment for young children. It examines three domains including (1) Math/Science, (2) Social Emotional/Social Studies, and (3) Language and Literacy, with a total of 10 items across the domains. Scores reported for each of the 10 items are based upon observational evidence collected by the teacher over a period of roughly three months. This [report] outlines how decisions about the content of the instrument were made, based on several criteria, and the value of the instrument. The items assessed represent the development of kindergarten children, are measurable (observable), develop on a continuum (to see growth and development over time), and are critical to present and future learning.

Equity and Excellence: African-American Children’s Access to Quality Preschool


W. Steven Barnett, Megan Carolan, and David Johns
This policy report, released by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO), and White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans (WHIEEAA), discusses the lack of access to high-quality early childhood education experiences for African-American children and offers recommendations to expand opportunities.

Trends in State Funded Preschool Programs: Survey Findings from 2001-2002 to 2011-2012


W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D. and Megan E. Carolan, MPP
This policy report, co-released by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO), discusses trends in enrollment, funding, and quality standards, as well as English Language Learner and Special Education students, in state-funded pre-K between 2001-2002 and 2011-2012.

NIEER has tracked the policies of state-funded preschool programs through its State Preschool Yearbook from the 2001-2002 through the 2011-2012 school year. The Yearbook has collected information on enrollment, funding, and quality standards, as well a

Early Childhood Education: Pathways to Better Health


This brief presents the multiple pathways through which early childhood education programs can contribute to better health, in both the short and long term.

By Allison Friedman-Krauss and W. Steven Barnett NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 25, April 2013) The potential health benefits of early childhood education programs are quite large, especially for children living in poverty.  In this report, authors Allison

Getting the Facts Right on Pre-K and the President’s Pre-K Proposal


W. Steven Barnett
This policy report clears up some common misconceptions about preschool's effectiveness and benefits, particularly in regards to the Obama administration's recent fact sheet on investing in early education.

In this policy report, NIEER Director W. Steven Barnett dispels four common myths about preschool education, addressing the questions: 1) Does high-quality pre-K have lasting benefits? 2) What is the evidence for the $7 to $1 return on investment for p

Policy Brief – Preparing Young Hispanic Dual Language Learners for a Knowledge Economy


This brief addresses issues of preschool access and quality that are specific to Hispanic children but which can also apply to some other largely disadvantaged and immigrant groups.

By Alexandra Figueras-Daniel and W. Steven Barnett NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 24, January 2013) Summary As the United States works to reclaim economic prosperity, the Hispanic population – with the largest growth in population over the last decade – wil

Policy Brief – Improving Public Financing For Early Learning Programs


This brief reviews sources and models of public financing of early care and education and makes recommendations for improving upon what currently exists so as to remove barriers to increasing program access and quality.

By W. Steven Barnett and Jason T. Hustedt NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 23, April 2011) Summary How we fund early care and education varies greatly from program to program, across states, and across levels of government. Most funding sources exist independ

Policy Brief – Degrees in Context: Asking the Right Questions about Preparing Skilled and Effective Teachers of Young Children


This brief aims to broaden the discussion about what it takes to develop and maintain effective instructional practices for preschool teachers.

By Marcy Whitebook and Sharon Ryan NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 22, April 2011) Summary In this brief, authors Marcy Whitebook and Sharon Ryan argue that too much attention has been given to debating the baseline qualifications required of preschool teach

Policy Brief – Perspectives on the Impact of Pre-K Expansion: Factors to Consider and Lessons from New York and Ohio


The impact of state-funded pre-K expansion on the quality and supply of child care in New York and Ohio are assessed in this policy brief.

By Diane Schilder, Stephanie Kimura, Kim Elliott, and Stephanie Curenton NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 21, January 2011) Summary This policy brief examines the impact of state-funded pre-K expansion on the quality and supply of child care in New York and O

Early Education Enrollment and Expenditure Patterns 1995-2005


These papers report on enrollments and expenditures for ECCE across the decade from 1995 to 2005 using three harmonized National Household Education Surveys. They explore the metrics of enrollment patterns by age of child, mother’s employment, marital status, expenditure patterns and prices paid per hour of services.

A Decade of Change: Early Education Enrollment and Expenditure Patterns 1995-2005 Early Childhood Care and Education: Enrollment Patterns and Expenditures Over the Decade 1995-2005 By Clive R. Belfield (December 2010) In these papers, author Clive Belf

Early Learning Scale: Technical Report


This technical report from NIEER researchers on the Early Learning Scale offers information on the use and reliability of the instrument and on the validity of the data.

By Shannon Riley-Ayers, Kwanghee Jung, and Ellen C. Frede (September 2010) This technical report from NIEER researchers on the Early Learning Scale, a performance-based assessment measure that uses student data collected through observation and work sa

New Jersey Preschool Expansion Assessment Research Study (PEARS)


The capacity and quality of non-Abbott child care centers, Head Start programs, and school district preschool programs across New Jersey are assessed in this study by NIEER.

New Jersey Preschool Expansion Assessment Research Study (PEARS) By Allison Friedman, Ellen Frede, Dale Epstein, Rachel Sansanelli, Debra Ackerman, and Judi Stevenson-Boyd (December 2009) NIEER researchers prepared this needs assessment of preschool pr

The APPLES Blossom: Abbott Preschool Program Longitudinal Effects Study (APPLES), Preliminary Results through 2nd Grade


An ongoing study of New Jersey’s pre-K program finds that attending the program reduces grade retention and improves language, literacy and math skills.

By Ellen Frede, Kwanghee Jung, W. Steven Barnett, and Alexandra Figueras (June 2009) The second in a series, this report discusses the results of a rigorous study of New Jersey’s Abbott Preschool Program. The study estimates the learning gains of child

Policy Brief: Providing Preschool Education for All 4-Year-Olds: Lessons from Six State Journeys


This policy brief examines the efforts of six states in pursuit of preschool for all.

By Debra J. Ackerman, W. Steven Barnett, Laura E. Hawkinson, Kirsty Brown and Elizabeth A. McGonigle NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 18, March 2009) Summary Over the last decade, state-funded preschool education programs have grown and now enroll more than o

Policy Brief – Math and Science in Preschool: Policies and Practice


This policy brief reviews research addressing the development of mathematics and science knowledge in preschool children, identifies areas that require further study, and outlines recommendations for early education policy in these domains.

By Kimberly Brenneman, Judi Stevenson-Boyd and Ellen C. Frede NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 19, March 2009) Summary High-quality preschool experiences can positively affect later math achievement, and mathematics skills at school entry are correlated with