Category Archives: Early Childhood Education

Toward a More Equal Footing: Early Head Start in Maine

Source: Jessica Carson, University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy, National Issue Brief #122, Spring 2017

From the summary:
Policy makers and advocates nationwide recognize that funding for early childhood education is a crucial investment in the future. Critical foundational development occurs before age 5, and research consistently shows that high-quality early education for children leads to higher future educational attainment and lower likelihood of crime, and yields a return on investment of 7 to 13 percent.
Yet accessing affordable, quality early childhood education and care is a challenge for families nationwide. More than a quarter of families with young children are burdened by child care costs, and the availability and quality of child care and education are highly variable across states.
One program that connects the most economically vulnerable families with quality early childhood programming is Early Head Start (EHS). Subject to rigorous quality and staffing standards, implemented among the youngest children (prenatally through age 2), and delivered via a two-generation approach, EHS is a significant opportunity for providing quality care and education to a population that might otherwise struggle to access it. This brief explores the characteristics of EHS in Maine, compares them to the national landscape, and connects these findings to a discussion of the federal and state policy climates.

Key Findings:
– Maine has 837 funded Early Head Start (EHS) slots for more than 8,000 poor children age 0–2 in Maine. Limited funding means that EHS is unable to reach the vast majority of children living below the poverty line.
– Nearly half (47.2 percent) of Maine’s EHS enrollees participate via the home visitation service delivery model, compared with 37.3 percent nationwide.
– Maine’s EHS staff are more highly educated than EHS staff nationwide. More than one-third of center-based teachers and almost two-thirds of home visitors have at least a four-year degree, compared with about a quarter and a half, respectively, nationwide.

Public Education Finances: 2015

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Educational Finance Branch, Report Number: G15-ASPEF, June 14, 2017

From the summary:
The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the Census of Governments and the Annual Surveys of State and Local Government Finances as authorized by law under Title 13, U.S. Code, Sections 161 and 182. The Census of Governments has been conducted every 5 years since 1957, while the annual survey has been conducted annually since 1977 in years when the Census of Governments is not conducted. The 2015 Annual Survey of School System Finances, similar to previous annual surveys and censuses of governments, covers the entire range of government finance activities—revenue, expenditure, debt, and assets (cash and security holdings).

This report contains financial statistics relating to public elementary-secondary (prekindergarten through grade 12) education. It includes national and state financial aggregates and displays data for the 100 largest school systems by enrollment in the United States….

The Condition of Education 2017

Source: Joel McFarland, Bill Hussar, Cristobal de Brey, Tom Snyder, Xiaolei Wang, Sidney Wilkinson-Flicker, Semhar Gebrekristos, Jijun Zhang, Amy Rathbun, Amy Barmer, Farrah Bullock Mann, Serena Hinz, Thomas Nachazel, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2017144, May 2017

The Condition of Education is a congressionally mandated annual report summarizing important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The 2017 Condition of Education report presents 50 indicators on topics ranging from prekindergarten through postsecondary education, as well as labor force outcomes and international comparisons. Also included in the report are 4 Spotlight indicators that provide more in-depth analyses on selected topics.
Related:
Description
At A Glance
Highlights

State of Preschool 2016

Source: W. Steven Barnett, Allison H. Friedman-Krauss, G.G. Weisenfeld, Michelle Horowitz, Richard Kasmin, James H. Squires, National Institute for Early Education Research, 2017

From the summary:
The State of Preschool 2016 is the latest edition of our annual yearbook report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. NIEER’s State Preschool Yearbook is the only national report on state-funded preschool programs with detailed information on enrollment, funding, teacher qualifications, and other policies related to quality, such as the presence of a qualified teacher and assistant, small class size, and low teacher-to-student ratio.

This Yearbook presents data on state-funded preschool during the 2015-2016 school year and documents more than a decade of change in state preschool since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year. The 2016 Yearbook profiles state-funded preschool programs in 43 states, plus Guam and the District of Columbia and provides narrative information on early education efforts in states and the U.S. territories that do not provide state-funded preschool.

Nationwide, state-funded preschool program enrollment reached an all-time high, serving nearly 1.5 million children, 32 percent of 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds. State funding for preschool rose 8 percent to about $7.4 billion, a $564 million increase. State funding per child increased to $4,976, exceeding pre-recession levels for the first time. Six state funded preschool programs met all 10 current quality standards benchmarks. Nine states had programs that met fewer than half; and seven states do not fund preschool at all.

Current benchmarks were designed to help states build programs, focusing on resources and policies related to the structural aspects of public preschool—elements needed for a high-quality program but not fully defining one. This year, NIEER is introducing major revisions to the policy benchmarks for the first time since the Yearbook was launched. The new benchmarks raise the bar by focusing on policies that more directly support continuous improvement of classroom quality. State profiles in the 2016 Yearbook include both current and new benchmark scores…..
Related:
Executive summary
State profiles
Yearbook contents

State Pre-K Funding 2016-17 Fiscal Year: Trends and opportunities

Source: Bruce Atchison, Emily Parker, Louisa Diffey, Education Commission of the States, January 2017

From the abstract:
This 50-State Review details state investments in pre-K funding by program for the 2016-17 fiscal year – including the percentage change over 2015-16, highlights state examples and includes opportunities for states under ESSA.

Early Care and Education State Budget Actions FY 2017

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, April 28, 2017

NCSL surveyed 50 state legislative fiscal offices on their FY 2015, FY 2016 and FY 2017 state appropriations for various early care and education programs—child care, prekindergarten, home visiting and other related programs. Early Care and Education Budget Actions FY 2017 provides a snapshot of state funding investments from 36 states that responded to the survey in these areas. Click on each of the tabs to see specific changes to appropriations for child care, prekindergarten, home visiting and other early childhood programs that occurred from FY 2016 to FY 2017….

The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects

Source: Deborah A. Phillips, Mark W. Lipsey, Kenneth A. Dodge, Ron Haskins, Daphna Bassok, Margaret R. Burchinal, Greg J. Duncan, Mark Dynarski, Katherine A. Magnuson, and Christina Weiland, Brookings Institution, 2017

From the summary:
Scientific research has established that if all children are to achieve their developmental potential, it is important to lay the foundation during the earliest years for lifelong health, learning, and positive behavior. A central question is how well our public pre-kindergarten (pre-K) programs are doing to build this foundation.

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia, through 57 pre-K programs, have introduced substantial innovations in their early education systems by developing the infrastructure, program sites, and workforce required to accommodate pre-K education. These programs now serve nearly 30 percent of the nation’s 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds.

In recent years, there as been increasing interest in assessing how well these short- and long-term goals have been achieved. What should we expect pre-K to produce for our society? How can we ensure that children who attend these programs get as much out of them as they can? ….

…. All members of the Task Force agreed on six consensus statements, which include:
• Children’s early learning trajectories depend on the quality of their learning experiences not only before and during their pre-K year, but also following the pre-K year;
• There is often greater improvement for economically disadvantaged children and dual-language learners after a year of per-k than there is for more advantaged and English-proficient children;
• Among the effectiveness factors that may make a difference are curricula that build foundational skills, professional development and coaching for teachers, and organized and engaging classrooms;
• Convincing evidence on the longer-term impacts of contemporary scaled-up pre-K programs on academic outcomes and school progress is sparse, precluding broad conclusions. ….
Related:
Consensus statement

The Path to a Fair and Inclusive Society: Policies that Address Rising Inequality

Source: Justin Steil, Stephen Menendian, Samir Gambhir, University of California, Berkeley – Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, Policy Brief, 2017

From the summary:
A major policy brief from the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society offers a proven roadmap to end extreme inequality in the United States. The brief, entitled “The Path to a Fair and Inclusive Society: Policies that Address Rising Inequality,” names six basic solutions to tackle what may be the greatest problem of the 21st Century.

These solutions include:
-increasing the minimum wage
-expanding the Earned Income Tax
-building assets for working families
-investing in early childhood education
-making tax code more progressive
-ending racial segregation

A Path Out Of Poverty: Career Training + Quality Pre K

Source: Eric Westervelt, NPR, April 28, 2017

What makes a high-quality learning program effective not just for the child but the whole family? What else, besides a well-run pre-K, is essential to help families break out of intergenerational poverty? These are some of the key questions that an approach called “two-generation” programs are working to answer. There are many of these “two-gen” programs across the U.S. And while they differ in emphasis and detail, at their core they intentionally focus on ways to help both the child and parent. Usually this happens through targeted education and career training and other vital support such as health services, mentoring, and transportation. NPR Ed has been keeping an eye on one innovative two-gen program in Oklahoma. It’s called Career Advance and is run by the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAP Tulsa). I’ve reported on it here and here. It gives low-income mothers access to high-quality Head Start for their children, alongside free career training in nursing and other in-demand health care fields as well as life coaching and support.