Category Archives: Early Childhood Education

New Research Finds Surprising Results When it Comes to Latino Participation in Early Care and Education: Public Policy Changes Appear to Pay Off, Attracting Hard to Reach Latino Groups

Source: National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families, Press Release, November 17, 2016

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

A Lesson For Preschools: When It’s Done Right, The Benefits Last

Source: Elissa Nadworny, NPR, November 17, 2016

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.
Related:
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
(subscription required)

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.

Transforming the workforce for children birth through age 8 : a unifying foundation

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. …..
Related:
Summary

Revisiting the Impact of Head Start

Source: Claire Montialoux, University of California – Berkeley, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Policy Brief, September 2016

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…..

The Economic Record of the Obama Administration: Progress Reducing Inequality

Source: White House, Council of Economic Advisors, September 2016

….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….

Underpaid and Unequal: Racial Wage Disparities in the Early Childhood Workforce

Source: Rebecca Ullrich, Katie Hamm, Rachel Herzfeldt-Kamprath, Center for American Progress, August 2016

From the summary:
More than 3 million children younger than age 6 regularly attend center-based care and education. Formal care arrangements—such as child care centers and preschools—are an increasingly prominent part of children’s lives: 65 percent of young children have all available parents in the workforce. Policymakers, recognizing the importance of these early care and education environments—not just as a work support for parents but also as a means to promote children’s learning and development—are looking for strategies to boost program quality.

Experts know that effective teachers are central to quality early care and education. It is no surprise, then, that many quality improvement efforts have focused on increasing education requirements for teachers and bolstering access to professional development and training. Children’s learning and development is supported by thoughtful instruction and warm, engaging interactions. It takes a skilled and effective workforce to provide the level of instruction necessary to promote positive outcomes—including social skills and early literacy and numeracy skills—but the United States continues to pay most early childhood educators embarrassingly low wages. Preschool teachers and child care workers rank in the bottom 20th percentile for mean annual salaries. Moreover, many teachers lack access to important benefits such as health insurance and paid leave.

New analyses presented in this report suggest that poor compensation and benefits are felt most acutely by African American women in the early childhood workforce. On average, African American female teachers working full time make 84 cents for every $1 earned by their white counterparts. White teachers working full-time make an average of $13.86 per hour: This 16 percent wage gap means an African American teacher would make $366 less per month and $4,395 less per year, on average. When differences in educational backgrounds, years of experience, and employment characteristics are taken into account, the wage gap between African American and white female, full-time teachers is reduced to roughly 93 cents on the dollar. However, this is still a meaningful difference in a workforce that makes less than $30,000 per year, on average…..

The Never-Ending Struggle to Improve Head Start

Source: Lillian Mongeau, The Atlantic, August 9, 2016

The federal government has invested billions in preschool, but there’s still lots of room to grow….. Today, Head Start is nearing the end of a decade of big reforms, meant to improve quality and get closer to meeting the goals that Johnson laid out for it when he announced this new front in his War on Poverty. Simultaneously, cities and states are increasing their public preschool enrollments slowly, but steadily. If all continues apace, the largest public program in the country could be just one step ahead of the locals, creating a roadmap for how to operate a public preschool program big enough to serve more than 1 million children without sacrificing quality…..

Related:
The Underestimation of America’s Preschool Teachers
Source: Lillian Mongeau, The Atlantic, August 16, 2016
One city’s attempt to professionalize early education could be a model for the nation.

What Boston’s Preschools Get Right
Source: Lillian Mongeau, The Atlantic, August 2, 2016
After a relentless focus on quality in the early years, the city is even bringing lessons learned to later grades.

Why Does America Invest So Little in Its Children?
Source: Lillian Mongeau, The Atlantic, July 12, 2016
How the U.S. became one of the worst countries in the developed world for kids under 5

Early Learning in the United States

Source: Jessica Troe, Center for American Progress, July 19, 2016

The United States is home to almost 24 million children younger than age 6. Sixty-five percent of these children have all available parents in the workforce, making access to high-quality early learning programs a necessity. These programs benefit parents and children alike, allowing parents to work while their children are in safe, nurturing environments that facilitate learning and development.

For too many families, high-quality programs are out of reach. The average cost of center-based care in the United States comprises nearly 30 percent of the median family income. However, the high cost of care does not guarantee quality: Only 10 percent of child care programs in the United States are considered to be high quality. While there is some public funding available at the preschool level, only 14 percent of 3-year-olds and 36 percent of 4-year-olds are enrolled in a public preschool setting, such as Head Start or a state-funded preschool program, and even among these publicly funded preschool programs, quality varies greatly.

The following fact sheets provide an in-depth look at both the need for and the current state of early learning programs in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The fact sheets include:
• State-specific costs of child care and cost as a percentage of income for families of color and families living in poverty
• Brief descriptions of state-funded preschool programs and the proportion of children in each state who access these programs
• How access to affordable, high-quality early childhood programs can boost states’ economies
• How policies such as the High-Quality Child Care Tax Credit and voluntary universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds can benefit children and families in each state

2015 State Preschool Yearbook

Source: W. Steven Barnett, Allison H. Friedman-Krauss, Rebecca Gomez, Michelle Horowitz, G.G. Weisenfeld, Kirsty Clarke Brown, James H. Squires, National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), 2016

From the summary:
The 2015 State of Preschool Yearbook is the newest edition of our annual report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. This latest Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2014-2015 school year as well as documenting more than a decade of change in state pre-K since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year. The 2015 Yearbook profiles 57 state-funded pre-K programs in 42 states plus the District of Columbia and also provides narrative information on early education efforts in the 8 states and the U.S. territories that do not provide state-funded pre-K. Nationally, the 2014-2015 school year showed continues improvement in state funded pre-K with larger increases in enrollment, spending, spending per child, and quality standards than the previous year. State funded pre-K served almost 1.4 million children in 2014-2015, an increase of 37,167 children from the previous year. State spending topped $6.2 billion, an increase of over $553 million, although two-thirds of this increase can be attributed to New York. Spending per child saw the largest increase in a decade, reaching $4,489 per child. Six programs in five states met new quality standards benchmarks and two new states, West Virginia and Mississippi, joined the group of states meeting all 10 quality standards benchmarks. However, progress has been unequal and uneven with some states taking large steps forward and other states moving backward. At the recent rate of progress it will take decades to serve even 50% of 4-year-olds in state pre-K. Government at every level will need to redouble their efforts and move forward.

The 2015 Yearbook is organized into three major sections. The first section offers a summary of the data and describes national trends in enrollment, quality standards, and spending for state-funded preschool. This year, a special supplemental section on state pre-K policies to support Dual Language Learners and the Workforce is also included. The second section presents detailed profiles outlining each state’s policies with respect to preschool access, quality standards, and resources for the 2014-2015 year. A description of our methodology follows the state profiles, and the last section of the report contains appendices. The appendices include tables that provide the complete 2014-2015 survey data obtained from every state, as well as Head Start, child care, U.S. Census, and special education data. This year, additional appendices are included that show the complete supplemental survey data on Dual Language Learners and the workforce.
Related:
Executive Summary
Table of Contents
State Data
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