The states and cities expanding early education have wrestled with the question of what qualifies as “universal.”
From the summary:
In Europe, rich and poor kids alike are enrolling in early care and preschool programs in large numbers. These accomplishments offer us insights for our collective efforts to strengthen early education in the U.S….
From the overview:
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. The report focuses on the 2014-2015 program year but also provides longitudinal data beginning with the 2006-2007 program year. 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.
This report’s findings underscore the need for greater coordination between Head Start and state and local government agencies to build high-quality early learning programs with widespread reach and adequate funding. The authors call for an independent bipartisan national commission to study the issues raised in this report and develop an action plan to ensure every eligible child in every state has an equal opportunity to benefit from Head Start…..
From the abstract:
This special report summarizes the top policy components 12 of the nation’s top content experts convened by Education Commission of the States prioritized for a high-quality K-3 system.
Three new reports from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families offer a fresh snapshot of early care and education (ECE) program use among Hispanic families across the United States. They suggest that Latino families are more willing to enroll their children in ECE programs than ever before. Such programs can help prepare low-income children for kindergarten and future academic success. The briefs in the series include:
– Hispanic Children’s Participation in Early Care and Education: Type of Care by Household Nativity Status, Race/Ethnicity, and Child Age
– Hispanic Children’s Participation in Early Care and Education: Amount and Timing of Hours by Household Nativity Status, Race/Ethnicity, and Child Age
– Hispanic Children’s Participation in Early Care and Education: Parents’ Perceptions of Care Arrangements, and Relatives’ Availability to Provide Care
Is preschool worth it? Policymakers, parents, researchers and us, at NPR Ed, have spent a lot of time thinking about this question.
We know that most pre-kindergarten programs do a good job of improving ‘ specific skills like phonics and counting, as well as broader social and emotional behaviors, by the time students enter kindergarten. Just this week, a study looking at more than 20,000 students in a state-funded preschool program in Virginia found that kids made large improvements in their alphabet recognition skills.
So the next big question to follow is, of course, Do these benefits last?
New research out of North Carolina says yes, they do. The study found that early childhood programs in that state resulted in higher test scores, a lower chance of being held back in a grade, and a fewer number of children with special education placements. Those gains lasted up through the fifth grade.
Impact of North Carolina’s Early Childhood Programs and Policies on Educational Outcomes in Elementary School
Source: Kenneth A. Dodge, Yu Bai, Helen F. Ladd, Clara G. Muschkin, Child Development, Early View, November 17, 2016
From the abstract:
North Carolina’s Smart Start and More at Four (MAF) early childhood programs were evaluated through the end of elementary school (age 11) by estimating the impact of state funding allocations to programs in each of 100 counties across 13 consecutive years on outcomes for all children in each county-year group (n = 1,004,571; 49% female; 61% non-Latinx White, 30% African American, 4% Latinx, 5% other). Student-level regression models with county and year fixed effects indicated significant positive impacts of each program on reading and math test scores and reductions in special education and grade retention in each grade. Effect sizes grew or held steady across years. Positive effects held for both high- and low-poverty families, suggesting spillover of effects to nonparticipating peers.
Source: Allen LaRue and Bridget B. Kelly – editors, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of the National Academies, Committee on the Science of Children Birth to Age 8: Deepening and Broadening the Foundation for Success, Board on Children, Youth, and Families, ISBN 978-0-309-32486-1, 2016
….. The major focus of this report is on those professionals who are responsible for regular, daily care and education of young children from birth through age 8, working in settings such as homes, childcare centers, preschools, educational programs, and elementary schools. Many of the report’s messages are also applicable to closely related care and education professionals who see these children somewhat less frequently or for periodic or referral services, such as home visitors, early intervention specialists, and mental health consultants. The report also encompasses professionals in leadership positions and those who provide professional learning for the care and education workforce. In addition, the report includes considerations for the interactions among care and education professionals and practitioners in the closely related health and social services sectors who also work with children and their families. Finally, findings presented in this report regarding foundational knowledge and competencies are applicable broadly for all adults with professional responsibilities for young children.
This report’s focus is on the competencies and professional learning that need to be shared among care and education professionals across professional roles and practice settings in order to support greater consistency. Although further specialized competencies and professional learning experiences differentiated by age, setting, and role are also important, this committee’s task was to bridge those competencies and experiences in ways that will enable these professionals to contribute collectively and more effectively to greater consistency in practices that support development and high-quality learning for young children. …..
From the blog post:
As millions of parents across the United States are getting their children back to school, academics and policymakers are also taking a closer look where it all begins for the nation’s earliest learners — preschool. Does it really work and is it worth the cost? ….
…. The question may be simple, but the answer is less so.
Early studies of Head Start and other preschool programs found large positive effects on both cognitive and non-cognitive skills, like vocabulary and self-control. But the first randomized experimental study of Head Start (the Head Start Impact Study, or HSIS), conducted in 2002, showed that the program produced smaller benefits that faded out by the time the students were in third grade. Some have interpreted this as evidence that Head Start is ineffective.
Several recent studies by UC Berkeley faculty and others, however, have shown that the HSIS data, when interpreted appropriately, indicates that Head Start has significant benefits. Some of these benefits last far beyond the Head Start years, like increases in health and lifetime earnings.
The reason for this misinterpretation is simple: unlike earlier studies, the HSIS compared Head Start participants to children in a broad range of childcare arrangements, many quite similar to Head Start. About one-third of the HSIS control group participated in alternative preschool programs, and the rest of the children in the control group were cared for at home…..
….This report focuses on three specific areas where the Administration has achieved its most substantial and immediate success in reducing inequality—restoring economic growth, expanding access to health insurance, and enacting a fairer tax code. However, over the last eight years, the Administration has undertaken a much broader set of initiatives designed to address inequality and promote opportunity. Some of these efforts, such as investments in early childhood education and job training, are designed to have longer term impacts. In addition, the President’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget proposes numerous reforms that would further boost incomes for working families, expand opportunity, and reduce inequality….
New York City’s prekindergarten program is far from perfect, but it’s the kind of universal public good we have to defend and expand.