Eye on Early Education’s Take on First 10 Study

8 Communities Map Improved

For a helpful introduction to the First 10 study, see Eye on Early Education’s review, Addressing the Gaps in Children’s First 10 Years. Eye on Early Education is the blog of Massachusetts’ early childhood advocacy organization, Strategies for Children. With its Massachusetts audience in mind, this post highlights examples of First 10 work in Boston, Cambridge, and Lowell. The First 10 study also includes examples from California, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, Ohio, and Oregon.

Cleaner Classrooms and Rising Scores: With Tighter Oversight, Head Start Shows Gains (NYT)

“Head Start, the country’s biggest preschool program, is getting better.”

More than a decade after Congress imposed new standards on Head Start, a third of its partners have been forced to compete for funding that was once virtually automatic, and the share of classrooms ranked good or excellent has risen more than fourfold. With a $10 billion budget and nearly 900,000 low-income students, Head Start is a behemoth force in early education, in an age when brain science puts ever more emphasis on early learning.

‘The quality of Head Start has definitely improved,’ said Margaret Burchinal, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a Head Start authority. ‘That’s a big jump because there are so many classrooms involved. To make that much improvement across the whole country is pretty amazing.'”

https://nyti.ms/2UCe57x

A Purple Agenda for (Early) Education

I’m pleased to share my commentary in today’s Education Week, “A Purple Agenda for (Early) Education (print edition title).” It begins:

“Education policy has become as polarized as the rest of American politics. In the new administration, disagreements over standards, funding, school choice, and students’ civil rights are sure to intensify. Yet despite this polarized state of affairs, liberal and conservative education priorities are converging in a number of important respects, driven in part by mounting research findings. Common ground is emerging where conservative commitments to character formation, strong families, and local solutions meet liberal commitments to services that help low-income families overcome obstacles to improving their quality of life.

Borrowing a term from the Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, I suggest that a number of educational priorities, described below, are “purple”—they resonate with both red and blue constituencies. Further, these priorities animate a powerful reform movement that is spreading across the country ….”

 

Principles of Effective P-3 Partnerships: Improved Family Engagement Language

I have strengthened the language around family engagement and support in the principles for effective P-3 partnerships and the associated theory of action graphic. You will see that I drew on a consolidated version of the renowned Head Start family and community engagement outcomes, which I think are right on-point and fit well within the context of the P-3 theory of action. Check out the Overview and/or the Full Explanation (a 12-minute read). Many thanks to my EDC colleague, Heidi Rosenberg, for her helpful suggestions.

Also see Melissa Dahlin’s article at New America’s EdCentral: All in the Family: Supporting Students through Family Engagement in ESSA.

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

From a recent NPR article:

“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….

The big difference between the long-term findings in North Carolina and Tulsa and the fade out in Tennessee, researchers say, is the quality of the preschool program.

Having a high-quality program is key, says Dodge. ‘The long-term impact,’ he says, ‘depends entirely on quality and how well elementary schools build on the foundations set in pre-K.'”

See here for the full article.

“Affordable Child Care: The Secret to a Better Economy”

Of the 24 million children under 6 in the United States today, some 12 million need day care, because both parents work or a single parent is the breadwinner. Yet most working families can’t afford good care — if they can even find it in the first place. In 2006, a federal study gave a “high quality” rating to only 10 percent of the nation’s child care programs, and the proportion today is almost certainly smaller, since government financing for child care has declined in the past decade.

So it is no surprise that child care has become a campaign issue, with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump proposing to help with costs that now average nearly $18,000 a year for two children in a child care center (or about 30 percent of median family income). What is surprising is that it has taken so long for the issue to gain prominence. After all, affordable high-quality child care is one remedy to the long stagnation in wages afflicting most of the work force. It is also an antidote to the waning productivity that threatens future living standards.

New York Times Editorial: https://go.edc.org/8hfw