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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Screenshot of New America’s report.

 

What does high-quality pre-K look like?

It depends on where you look, according to a new report from the think tank New America.

“Since publicly funded pre-K programs are guided by varying intents, regulations, and funding approaches, there is little continuity in early learning. There are uneven standards for program quality, variable hours of coverage, incongruent eligibility requirements, and competing demands for accountability.”

Despite this “uneven” practice, the research does provide clear answers of what quality looks like.

To get a sharp picture of quality, New America’s report — “Indispensable Policies & Practices for High-Quality Pre-K: Research & Pre-K Standards Review” — “synthesizes recent meta-analyses and other studies” and “analyzes existing pre-K quality standards.”

Six themes emerged from this process: (more…)

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Screenshot: The Ounce’s website

 

Like most states, Massachusetts has limited data on its birth-to-5 early education and care system, making it difficult for us to answer basic questions such as “Where are all the 4-year-olds?”

Elliot Regenstein wants to change that. He’s the plain-spoken author of “An Unofficial Guide to the Why and How of State Early Childhood Data Systems,” which was just released by The Ounce, a national nonprofit that advocates for children.

“This is not one of those policy papers that earnestly describes how the world is supposed to be—this guide is a zealous exploration of how the world actually is,” Regenstein, the director of policy and advocacy at The Ounce, writes.

The unofficial guide is one of a series of “policy conversations” that The Ounce is sharing to “rethink education.” The policy conversations cover “innovative ideas about how we can bridge the early education and K–12 systems, improving the quality and outcomes of both.”

How can data help this effort?  (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Next time a child says, “tell me a story,” ask them instead to tell you a story. It may help them become stronger readers.

New research shows this may be particularly true for African-American boys.

Strong storytelling skills correlate with better reading in some children, according to researchers at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Knowing how to tell a clear and coherent story is an important skill for helping young children to develop strong reading skills, which, in turn, can help them to be successful across a number of different subjects in school,” says Nicole Gardner-Neblett, an FPG advanced research scientist. (more…)

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Mid-summer is here with its long days and slower pace, so why not kick back and watch some videos on our revamped YouTube channel.

It’s a “greatest hits” collection of 50 videos that have been featured in the blog – all compiled by our media-savvy intern Nicolette Forsey.

These videos are great for advocates who want to learn more or use videos to educate policymakers and the public.

Looking for an overview? Wheelock College recently posted a video on the importance of early education and care featuring state leaders such as Tom Weber, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care, and Carlos Sanchez, commissioner of the Department of Higher Education.

Need a quick hit? The First Five Years Fund’s PowerPoint-style video, “Early Learning Matters,” is one minute and 53 seconds worth of big-picture preschool advocacy. (more…)

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Screenshot of the Alliance’s website

 

If you’re an early education advocate and you spend a lot of time “making the case” for high-quality preschool experiences, the Alliance for Early Success wants to help you make that case — and make it airtight.

The alliance unites “state, national, and funding partners” whose goal is to “advance state policies that lead to improved health, learning, and economic outcomes for young children, starting at birth and continuing through age eight.” 

To help advocates, the Alliance has a resource page on its website with an olive-green tab marked “Making the Case.”

Click on the olive-green arrow, and you’ll find a database full of advocacy resources, including websites, fact sheets, and infographics as well as #bthru8 images that can be posted on Twitter. (more…)

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“That’s where professors Stephanie Jones and Nonie Lesaux at the Harvard Graduate School of Education come in.

“They’re launching a study, ‘The Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative’.

“They’re gathering information from 5,000 families in Massachusetts with three and four-year-old children and plan to follow them over the next five years – all of the information will be confidential.

“‘It’s a ground-breaking study that will influence conversations and policies around early education in the U.S. with the goal of doing better with all children and their families,’ said Lesaux.

“Nationwide, preschool is expensive and the quality can be uneven.

“‘The challenge, actually, is only two in 10 experiences are high quality so only two in 10 children have access to a high quality early education experience,’ said Jones.”

“Eye On Education: Harvard Study Aims To Strengthen Preschool Learning,” CBSBoston, June 28, 2017

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Screenshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation website

KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has released its annual Data Book. It’s a comprehensive look at children’s lives that’s meant to urge “policymakers not to back away from targeted investments that help U.S. children become healthier, more likely to complete high school and better positioned to contribute to the nation’s economy as adults.”

The Data Book has a mix of good and bad news: progress in some areas and lapses in others.

“The U.S. continues to have one of the highest child poverty rates among all developed countries,” Laura Speer, associate director of policy reform and advocacy for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said in a press release. “This unfairly burdens our young people and the nation, costing an estimated $500 billion a year in reduced economic opportunities and increased health and criminal justice-related costs.” (more…)

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