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How can researchers talk so that policymakers will listen?

Child Trends has a new brief – as well as a webinar – that covers the best ways to share research with elected officials and other policy leaders.

“We’ve seen here at Child Trends… a real growth in what we at the federal level call evidence-based policymaking. It’s really a movement,” Elizabeth Jordan, a Child Trends senior policy analyst, explains in the webinar.

“It’s really a way for policymakers and advocates on both sides of the aisle to find consensus,” “We all want to do what we know works for vulnerable children and their families.”

How can research have more of an impact on policy? Child Trends points to several examples, including how research on home visiting programs showed ““Rigorous evidence of the short- and long-term positive outcomes for children and families who participated…”

The result: the administration created a new federal home visiting program.”

So, what should researchers and advocates know about reaching policymakers? (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Ivanka Trump could be a champion for child care – and for lower child care costs.

That’s the argument that former Boston Globe columnist Joanna Weiss makes in a recent Globe opinion piece.

Weiss also asks a key question: Who should take care of very young children?

The answer is complicated. Obviously, parents play the most vital role. But what should happen when both parents work? And how does the country cope with the fact that many of the families who most need child care struggle to afford it?

Weiss says Ivanka Trump could help forge an answer.

“As the president’s daughter chats up bigwigs and members of Congress [to support working women], here’s hoping she’ll bring up the most fundamental challenge for working families: the impossible economics of child care.”

Last year, another Globe opinion piece took on the high cost of child care, noting: (more…)

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“The push for high-quality universal pre-K for four-year-olds, now embraced by a growing number of political and thought leaders, is strangely isolated from the movement supporting child care for working mothers. Focusing solely on four-year-old children may make for good politics, but by itself it falls short. Good policy takes into account the science of early childhood brain development, the needs of working mothers with younger children, and provides disadvantaged infants and toddlers with the high-quality child care that has been proven to promote success in school and later on in life.”

“Combining quality child care with preschool promotes social mobility across generations,” by James J. Heckman and J.B. Pritzker, The Hill, February 9, 2017

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Early childhood education (ECE) has strong public and legislative support. The challenge is paying for it.

In Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh has called for using tourism dollars to finance an expansion of preschool. Philadelphia is using a beverage tax.

Now a new brief – “Innovative Financing for Early Childhood Education” — highlights a number of different funding approaches.

Finding up-front financing is crucial, because investments in early education end up paying off. As we’ve blogged, the return on investment can be as high as $13 for every $1 spent.

“Our group proposes specific action to expand upon what is ‘right’ with existing tax policy and to create new incentives that promote state, local and private collaboration,” the brief says. It was released by the Early Childhood Education Action Tank, a coalition that includes Save the Children Action Network and the First Five Years Fund as well as financial and business institutions. (more…)

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“Hundreds of supporters gathered at the Indiana State House to convince lawmakers to invest more money to help families pay for Pre-K.

“A number of advocates spoke, as well as top Indiana lawmakers, including house speaker Brian Bosma.

“The rally was organized by a group called All IN 4 Pre-K.

“Members say right now there are 27,000 low income 4-year-olds in Indiana who aren’t enrolled in Pre-K.

“The state started a pilot program, and plans to invest $50 million this year to expand it.

“Lawmakers say the $50 million dollar investment will put 7,000 Hoosier kids in Pre-K.

“Right now, Indiana currently spends $12 million dollars to help low-income families use Pre-K.”

“Hundreds gather to get more investments in Pre-K,” WISHTV.com, January 25, 2017

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Early education is getting a lot of multimedia exposure. There are blogs and, increasingly, podcasts, including the Early Link Podcast, produced by the Children’s Institute, a nonprofit organization in Portland, Ore.

The institute’s vision: “We imagine an Oregon where every child is prepared for success in school and in life.”

Its mission: “Move research to action by promoting cost-effective public and private investments in our youngest children pre-birth through third grade.”

The institute’s Early Link Podcast “highlights national, region, and local voices engaged in the process of early childhood education. Children’s Institute works to ensure a strong beginning for all Oregon children with a focus on investments and strategies that strengthen services on the prenatal through third grade continuum.”

The advantage of podcasts? They can pay attention to stories that the mainstream media misses.

Here’s the opening to a recent Early Link podcast, “Yoncalla Strives for Long-Term Change:” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

How do you build “a more inclusive sandbox” where more collaborators can lend their support to early education?

Our own Titus DosRemedios, director of research and policy at Strategies for Children, provides good answers in an article that ran this fall in NAEYC’s journal, Young Children.

The sandbox metaphor comes from social justice activist Michael Skolnick, who was featured in a New York Times profile. Skolnick was making the point that the civil rights movement needs more allies.

The sandbox metaphor,” Titus writes, “could also apply to the field of early education, which currently faces a similar challenge. The early childhood education movement has grown steadily over the past two decades, plateaued in recent years, and currently is in dire need of reinforcements.” (more…)

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