Spring peepers and the war on Pre-K for All

In the past week I have seen many more attacks directed against Pre-K for All than I have in some time. This signals the start of the state budget season as surely as drumming woodpeckers and noisy peepers signal the arrival of spring. What I find surprising is how many preschool policy peepers promote misinformation based on research that is flawed or simply misused.

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

Young immigrants and dual language learners: Participation in pre-K and Kindergarten entry gaps

In a recent webinar, NIEER discussed what it means to be Hispanic and a DLL (a dual language learner) or Hispanic and come from a home with immigrant parents. We showed that Hispanic children, DLLs, and children with an immigrant background have lower rates of participation in center-based care (including Head Start) pre-K programs than White non-Hispanic children. We considered the impacts on enrollment of home language and of varied immigrant backgrounds, which make this group quite heterogeneous.

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

Will FY2016 be the year for children? Or déjà vu?

In January’s State of the Union address, President Obama highlighted several initiatives meant to simplify child care for America families. The White House’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016, released on Monday, provides further insight into the costs and details of these programs as well as additional areas of focus within the early childhood world.

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

Healthy preschool habits can last a lifetime

By the end of January, gyms are slowly becoming less crowded, as many adults give up on their resolutions to lose weight or get in shape. But a healthy weight and staying active remain important for all ages throughout the year. January 30 is National Preschool Health and Fitness Day, underscoring the importance of beginning healthy habits early in life.

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

Annie Rooney French on Early Learning Leadership Networks in Kentucky

Can you describe the Early Learning Leadership Networks and how they were started?

The Early Learning Leadership Networks were an extension of the K-12 Leadership Networks promulgated by Senate Bill 1 (2009), in the area of professional learning and support. The Leadership Networks (K-12) Kentucky’s Leadership Networks (K-12) are designed to build the capacity of district leadership teams (3-4 teacher leaders in each content area, 3-4 school leaders, 3-4 district level leaders) to implement new standards within the context of highly effective teaching, learning, and assessment practices. They are designed to ensure that each district has a core team that can scale implementation effectively district-wide.

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

Early Education Has Its Day

Yesterday, the White House hosted its first Summit on Early Childhood Education. The Summit brought together a wide variety of stakeholders, including local government officials; private philanthropy; researchers; federal government officials; and business leaders. The President’s remarks can be seen here. The event also launched the InvestInUs campaign, administered by the First Five Years Fund to encourage private-public investment in a range of early childhood activities. The campaign released a profile of major private commitments, as well as highlighting notable “early learning communities” that may serve as models for other communities.

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

Remembering Dave Weikart’s legacy: How we can work together to help children succeed in school and life

This week, as the White House convenes an Early Learning summit, we reflected on how research has informed policy development in this area and the ways in which the HighScope Perry Preschool study and its creator David P. Weikart continue to be important. Dave led this study from its beginning in 1962 until his death on December 9, 2003, 11 years ago this week.  The study, which continues today with midlife data now being collected, addressed a simple question: could a well-done preschool program help young children living in difficult circumstances do better in school?

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

The second “I” in QRIS

As quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS, QRS, and Tiered QRIS) take hold across states with support from federal agencies via the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge’s high-quality, accountable programs and Preschool Development Grant opportunities, the “system of systems” still remains under quiet scrutiny and undergoes continuous improvement itself. This is particularly true to better serve children with special needs and their families.

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

Revisiting early childhood teachers, 25 years later

This week, the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment released its report Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages: The Childhood Workforce 25 Years after the National Child Care Staffing Study with a live event at the New America Foundation. In 1989, the National Child Care Staffing Study brought attention to the high turnover rates and poverty-level salaries for early childhood education teachers. The new report revisits the topic of teacher wages and working conditions in light of the dramatic increase in attention to, and investment in, early childhood education in the last 25 years.

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

Preschool and politics

Just before children started back to school this year, Gallup surveyed Americans on their attitudes towards the importance of education, including preschool education. Results continue to indicate strong backing for early childhood education programs, supported by federal funds, even when Americans believe that preschool (and college) are less important to long-term life outcomes than the K-12 years. Together, 73 percent of Americans polled indicated that they believe preschool is very important for future success in life.

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