Early Education Stands at Attention

Millions of young people are having the door to military service shut before them. According to Mission: Readiness, an organization of retired military leaders seeking investment in young Americans to ensure the nation’s military remains strong, 75 percent of Americans age 17 to 24 are unfit for military service, largely due to failure to graduate high school, a criminal record, and failure to meet physical fitness standards, particularly due to obesity.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Hats Off to the “B-Team” of Early Education

Early education has advanced tremendously over the past decade in terms of research, policy, and practice. The State of Preschool 2011: State Preschool Yearbook  highlighted progress and setbacks in access, quality and resources across states during the decade, and media chronicle its condition on a daily basis in headlines. Enrollment in state pre-K programs has doubled to outpace the rate of expansion in Head Start and child care. Resources for pre-K have expanded too, though their ebb and flow creates unpredictable scenarios for states attempting to engage in long-term planning.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

New England’s Pre-K Patchwork

A common pastime in colonial America was the quilting bee when neighbors gathered with scraps of fabric, needles and thread to create something functional. The product of these gatherings, in combination with lengthy discussion about local affairs and gossip, was a uniquely designed quilt that provided comfort to those who would huddle underneath on chilly nights.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

FDR’s Advice to Pre-K’s Big Four

When the auto industry mentions “The Big Three,” all eyes turn to Detroit. The Big Three’s dominance in automotive engineering lasted for decades before years of failing to pay attention to critical signs caught up with them. As NIEER’s The State of Preschool 2011: State Preschool Yearbook indicates, early education has its own version of dominance in “The Big Four” – California, Florida, New York, and Texas – whose stories deserve a closer look.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Learning about Teaching: What We Know about Early Ed Professionals

Our 2011 State Preschool Yearbook got a lot of attention for sounding the alarm on decreasing per-child funding threatening program quality. Nothing is more important for providing a high-quality early education than highly effective teachers and assistant teachers. NIEER’s research-based quality standards benchmarks credit teacher requirements in five different ways.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Missed Opportunities: Pre-K Lags for Hispanic Children

Hispanic children and families have been hit particularly hard due to recent funding cuts in state-funded pre-K. While the Yearbook does not break down data by ethnicity, our data on state efforts combined with other sources paints a troubling picture for Hispanic preschoolers, especially those growing up in a household where English is not the primary language. A survey of Hispanic families shows that Hispanic parents are very likely to enroll their children when voluntary preschool education is available to them, but only 25 percent of Hispanic children at age 3 attend public or private preschool, compared to 43 percent of non-Hispanic children.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Primero es lo Primero (First Things First): Public-Private Partnerships Invest in Young Children

In difficult economic times, public-private partnerships are an important strategy for increasing investments in young children, globally as well as in the United States. I had the opportunity to participate in the recent launch of a new initiative of the national government of Colombia and private organizations called Primero es lo Primero, which translates as “First Things First.” Primero es lo Primero is a partnership of some 30 private and public organizations, including NIEER.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Giving Kids a Shot at Success: World Immunization Week

Beginning April 21, the World Health Organization (WHO) is launching World Immunization Week, a global awareness campaign about the importance of vaccines in preventing diseases like measles and polio.  According to WHO’s website, “immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions and prevents debilitating illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Widening Gap in Pre-K Access: Haves and Have Nots

Mountains of evidence over years of study have shown that high-quality preschool education helps put kids on the right track for future success in school and beyond, especially those children from low-income families or facing other challenges that put them at a disadvantage.  It could not be clearer, though, from our 2011 State Preschool Yearbook that the disparities in state-funded pre-K are so great as to exacerbate lifelong inequalities among children.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.