Policy Analysis

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

Policy Brief – Does Preschool Education Policy Impact Infant/Toddler Care?


Public support for the education and care of 3- and 4-year-olds has increased, but has this helped or hurt the provision of care for infants (children up to 12 months old) and toddlers (1- and 2-year-olds)? This policy brief examines trends in supply and demand in the infant/toddler care market, reviews state and federal policies for infant/toddler care, and recommends policy changes that could ensure new preschool policies benefit infant/toddler care and avoid unintended negative consequences.

By Debra J. Ackerman and W. Steven Barnett NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 20, March 2009) Summary Public support for the education and care of 3- and 4-year-olds has increased, but has this helped or hurt the provision of care for infants (children up to 12

Policy Brief – Federal Early Childhood Policy Guide For The First 100 Days


At the request of President-elect Obama’s transition team, this NIEER policy brief provides guidance on federal investments in preschool and child care for the sake of America’s children.

by Steve Barnett and Ellen Frede, NIEER Co-directors NIEER Policy Brief (1/8/09) Summary At the request of the president-elect’s transition team, NIEER Co-directors W. Steven Barnett and Ellen Frede developed federal policy proposals, including suggest

Policy Brief – Connecting Neurons, Concepts, and People: Brain Development and its Implications


This policy brief summarizes what is known about early brain development and corrects some of the common misunderstandings of the research.

By Ross A. Thompson NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 17, December 2008) Summary Over the last decade, news reports, policy statements, and commercial marketing have all contributed to the public’s understanding of early brain growth. While the most significan

Preschool Education and Its Lasting Effects: Research and Policy Implications


Amid debate over the benefit of preschool programs, this new brief examines what researchers currently know about the potential of those programs to bring about positive change.

Policy Brief – Challenging Behaviors and the Role of Preschool Education


This policy brief from NIEER examines the role of preschool education in regard to problem behaviors in young children.

By Lisa A. McCabe and Ellen C. Frede NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 16, December 2007) Summary Is there a rise in challenging behaviors among young children in early care and education? Is preschool a contributing factor or can it provide positive experienc

Policy Brief – Who Goes to Preschool and Why Does it Matter? (Updated)


What are the factors that influence preschool enrollment? See who goes to preschool by age, ethnicity, income, maternal employment and education and region in this policy brief.

By W. Steven Barnett and Donald J. Yarosz NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 15, November 2007) Summary Preschool participation in the U.S. has been increasing steadily over the last four decades. By 2005, more than two-thirds of the nation’s 4-year-olds were e

The Abbott Preschool Program Longitudinal Effects Study (APPLES)


This report presents the results of a longitudinal study of New Jersey's public preschool program, which found that children attending the program improve in language, literacy and math skills through the end of their kindergarten year.

The Abbott Preschool Program Longitudinal Effects Study (APPLES) by Ellen Frede, Kwanghee Jung, W. Steven Barnett, Cynthia Esposito Lamy, and Alexandra Figueras (June 2007) This report discusses the results of a rigorous study of New Jersey’s Abbott Pr

Building Early Childhood Facilities: What States Can Do to Create Supply and Promote Quality


This report explores common facility issues and outlines strategies for policymakers to address early care and education facility needs.

By Carl Sussman with Amy Gillman April 2007 Summary Much of the growth in early care and education can be attributed to research that shows the educational, social, and economic benefits of high-quality preschool education. As states’ efforts to provid