Childhood Obesity: A Growing Problem

Obesity, especially beginning in childhood, has become a growing problem in the United States. The rate of childhood obesity has been increasing at a breakneck speed so that currently a third of children are obese (16.4 percent) or overweight (18.2 percent), according to a recent report from the Trust for America’s Health. Childhood obesity is linked with numerous negative effects that can follow a person throughout their lifetime, including greater risk for other health problems such as asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

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

All in the Family: Engaging Families in Children’s Early Learning

Ask any parent, teacher, or researcher, and they will tell you the same thing—education starts, and extends, well beyond the walls of the classroom.  Parents are children’s first teachers, and families play a crucial role in education, especially for the youngest learners.  Noting the importance of this, the week of September 26-30 is being celebrated as Head Start Family Engagement Week.

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

The Empty Space on the Carpet: Absenteeism in the Early Years

While the Perfect Attendance award may be a coveted prize for some, young students are missing an alarming number of school days. According to the national nonprofit Attendance Works, about 1 in 10 kindergarteners and first-graders are chronically absent—that is, missing 18 or more days of the school year, or about 10 percent of class days.

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

Words around the World: Celebrating International Literacy Day

Since 1967, September 8 has been celebrated as International Literacy Day, with the goal of focusing attention on the need to improve literacy worldwide. As students, parents, and teachers settle into their back to school routines, it is worth looking at the status of literacy both at home and around the world.

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

Head Start: Mend It, Don’t End It

One of the most neglected questions in the ECE policy arena is “How should we respond to the failure to find lasting effects for Head Start and Early Head Start after investing years and many millions in nationwide randomized trials of those important programs?” I say neglected because there is far less awareness of what the research says than one might expect given the importance of the high-quality research effort that represents our best shot at unbiased estimates of program impacts.

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

Why I’m Going to Head Start

As many of you know, I recently transitioned to a new position as Senior Vice President for Early Learning, Research and Training at Acelero Learning and will no longer be co-director of NIEER. I’ve loved my job at NIEER – the research has been interesting and my colleagues here and elsewhere have been a pleasure and inspiration. I am especially grateful to the Pew Charitable Trusts for the funding that has formed the foundation for NIEER’s work.

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

Early Childhood Education Featured in Principal Magazine

IEER co-directors Ellen Frede and Steve Barnett discuss the critical role pre-K plays in closing the achievement gap in the May/June issue of NAESP’s Principal magazine. Drs. Frede and Barnett note that the availability of preschool is a strong predictor of differences in scores in the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a comparison of educational achievement across 65 countries.

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

Human Capital Development: Why Pre-K Needs to be a Capitol Concern

It would be difficult to find a more timely report than Attracting, Developing, and Maintaining Human Capital: A New Model for Economic Development, from the Partnership for America’s Economic Success (a project of the Pew Center on the States). At the same time American families fret over the continued economic doldrums and begin to worry about back-to-school shopping for their kids, the report connects high-quality early education to long-term economic success, pulling from the new book by economist Timothy Bartik.

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

Early Education: The Power to Reduce Future Crime Victimization

While the goal of high-quality preschool programs is to ensure all young learners are ready to succeed in school, these programs are linked with a number of impressive long-term outcomes. Children who attend high-quality preschool are more likely to graduate from high school and go on to higher education than are their peers who did not attend. They are also less likely to require special education services or repeat a grade in school, both of which contribute to savings for taxpayers.

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

Pre-K Disparities: What You Get Depends on Where You Live

When we analyzed the data for The State of Preschool 2010, a disturbing trend that we noticed the previous year continued to appear: during these difficult economic times, disparities among states in providing high-quality preschool education are growing larger. Consequently, children’s access to and quality of experiences in preschool vary drastically depending on where they reside.

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