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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

“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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What do we know about preschool?

To find answers, researchers in different disciplines from a number of universities and from the think tank Brookings set up a task force to review the evidence “on the impact of state-funded pre-kindergarten programs.”

The result is a new report, “The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects,” released by Brookings and Duke University. Videos of related panel discussions are available here.

This effort produced “one, clear, strong message,” NPR reports. “Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don’t.”

“This timely report can guide states and local communities, including several here in Massachusetts, as they continue to expand access to high-quality preschool,” Titus DosRemedios, director of research and policy at Strategies for Children, says.

Included in the report is a six-part consensus statement that says: (more…)

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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

 

“What we’ve done is shown the benefits across two generations of the study of these enriched early child care programs,” Nobel-prize winning economist James Heckman said in an interview with NPR. “Not only providing child care for working mothers — allowing them to get more education — but primarily to get more work experience, higher earnings gains through participating in the workforce, but also getting high-quality child care environments that turn out to be developmentally rich. It promotes social mobility within — and across — generations. That I think is an important finding of this study.”

Heckman and his colleagues have just released these findings in a paper called “The Life-Cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program.”

A two-page summary is posted here.

(more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Here at Strategies for Children, we’re paying close attention to locally-led efforts to expand preschool and support children’s early learning. As local momentum grows for supporting young children and families, we are keeping track of best practices, success stories, and research. Our colleague David Jacobson at the P-3 Learning Hub blog shares a recent example of community action from Washington State.

Jacobson, a senior project director at the Education Development Center, has written about how strong community partnerships in Washington State echo and support the P-3 (prenatal through third grade) partnerships that can help children thrive.

In Washington, a state-wide Family Policy Council was created “to address a spike in youth violence. The Council in turn funded local community networks to develop integrated approaches to violence prevention,” Jacobson writes.

“Over time the Family Policy Council began sharing research with the community networks regarding the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on young children. ACEs refer to 10 types of abuse, neglect, and family exposure to toxic stress.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

A new study from the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy has found that “North Carolina’s investment in early child care and education programs resulted in higher test scores, less grade retention and fewer special education placements through fifth grade,” according to a Duke University news release.

The study looked at the children who attended the state’s two flagship early childhood programs, Smart Start and More at Four, between 1988 and 2000. Researchers also examined the entire population of children “more than 1 million North Carolina public school students born between 1988 and 2000,” which allowed them to estimate “spillover effects” of the early childhood programs onto the child population at-large (more on “spillover effects” below).

One research query was whether the programs “provided long-lasting benefits for children, or if previously seen positive results diminished by the end of elementary school.” (more…)

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