Policy Analysis

Policy Report – Promoting Children’s Social and Emotional Development Through Preschool Education


This policy brief describes the importance of social and emotional development of children, reviews the evidence that high-quality preschool can promote social and emotional development, and describes characteristics of programs most likely to benefit children.

By Judi Boyd, W. Steven Barnett, Elena Bodrova, Deborah J. Leong, and Deanna Gomby NIEER Policy Brief (March 2005) Summary This policy brief describes the importance of social and emotional development of children, reviews the evidence that high-qualit

Policy Report – Prepared for Kindergarten: What Does “Readiness” Mean?


This policy report examines key issues for public policy related to school readiness, the relationship between school readiness and other factors in young children’s lives, and challenges in readying children for kindergarten.

By Debra J. Ackerman and W. Steven Barnett NIEER Policy Report (March 2005) Summary What does school readiness mean? From age-eligibility requirements to readiness testing and from academics to social skills, it often depends on whom you ask. Studies h

Policy Report – Overlooked Benefits of Prekindergarten


Studies suggest that prekindergarten can strengthen a child’s commitment and attitude toward school, enhance the parenting skills of children’s parents, and have positive impacts on family relationships. This policy report summarizes research findings about these wider benefits of early education.

By Karen Schulman NIEER Policy Report (March 2005) View the full policy report Summary Studies have shown that high-quality prekindergarten can better prepare children for school, increase their chances of academic success, and even enable them to avoi

Policy Report – Making the Most of Kindergarten


This policy report examines academic and social outcomes of half-day versus full-day kindergarten and trends in provision of full-day programs. Recommendations include balancing anticipated gains from expanding kindergarten schedules against cost considerations and developing classroom and teacher support strategies when moving to full-day.

Making the Most of Kindergarten: Present Trends and Future Issues in the Provision of Full-day Programs By Debra J. Ackerman, W. Steven Barnett, and Kenneth B. Robin NIEER Policy Report (March 2005) Summary Policymakers considering the shift to full-da

Policy Brief – Class Size: What’s the Best Fit?


This policy brief examines how class size and staff-child ratios affect quality, educational effectiveness, and cost of preschool programs.

By W. Steven Barnett, Karen Schulman, and Rima Shore NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 9, December 2004) Summary Is there a link between class size and the quality of preschool? Do the gains to children in the form of more individual attention and fewer stress

Policy Brief – Better Teachers, Better Preschools: Student Achievement Linked to Teacher Qualifications


High-quality preschool education depends on effective, high-quality teachers. This brief presents educational requirements for preschool teachers, reviews evidence on the importance of teacher qualifications, and offers policy recommendations.

By W. Steven Barnett NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 2, revised December 2004) Summary Research has linked early learning and development to the educational qualifications of teachers. The most effective preschool teachers – those with at least a four-year c

Policy Brief – Preschool Assessment: A Guide to Developing a Balanced Approach


This policy brief examines assessment of learning among preschoolers and the trend toward increased standardized testing of young children. The brief offers definitions and applications of assessment concepts and policy recommendations essential to a balanced approach.

By Ann S. Epstein, Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Andrea DeBruin-Parecki and Kenneth B. Robin NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 7, July 2004) Summary This brief from NIEER examines assessment of learning among preschoolers and the trend toward increased standardized

Policy Brief – The Universal vs. Targeted Debate: Should the United States Have Preschool for All?


The debate over universal vs. targeted preschool programs is explored in this policy brief. Policy recommendations include a gradual move toward voluntary universal preschool programs with federal matching funds used to encourage states to fund high-quality preschool for all.

By W. Steven Barnett, Kirsty Brown, and Rima Shore NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 6, April 2004) Summary The debate over universal vs. targeted preschool programs is explored in this policy brief. While targeted programs traditionally have lower costs, univ

Policy Brief – Child Outcome Standards in Pre-K Programs


This policy brief provides an overview of the extension of the standards movement to preschool programs. It presents the conditions and special considerations necessary for standards to have a positive impact on preschool children and strengthen accountability.

By Elena Bodrova, Deborah Leong, and Rima Shore NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 5, March 2004) Summary In the early childhood field, terms such as building blocks, desired results, or learning goals have all been used to describe the kinds of development and

Policy Brief – Investing in Head Start Teachers


What will it cost to give Head Start the tools it needs to succeed? This brief includes information on the qualifications and compensation of Head Start teachers and discusses the issues surrounding the push towards raising both.

NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 4, September 2003) Summary What will it cost to give Head Start the tools it needs to succeed? It will take an investment in teachers. A fully certified teacher in every Head Start classroom stands as the single most effective

Policy Brief – Low Wages = Low Quality: Solving the Real Preschool Teacher Crisis


This brief looks at salaries for preschool teachers and child care workers and provides evidence of the effects of poor pay and employee benefits on teacher morale, turnover rates, and ultimately on educational quality.

By W. Steven Barnett NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 3, May 2003) Summary Evidence points to the low wages and benefits offered to preschool teachers as the single most important factor in hiring and keeping good teachers. In fact, preschool programs with th

Policy Brief – High Quality Preschool: Why We Need It and What It Looks Like


Research has shown that 3- and 4-year-olds, especially those who are at risk for school failure, when placed in high-quality preschool programs are more successful in their future academic and social development. This policy brief calls for the improvement of early education and care in our nation by focusing on what is critical for the child, family, teacher, curriculum, and classroom.

By Linda M. Espinosa NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 1, November 2002) Summary Research has shown that 3- and 4-year-olds, especially those who are at risk for school failure, when placed in high-quality preschool programs are more successful in their future