Latest News From the Field

February 1, 2016 – Washington Post
The Biggest Public Policy Mistake We are Continuing to Make, Year After Year

By not investing in quality early childhood education, we’re leaving vulnerable kids behind and lots of future benefits on the table. 

It is widely agreed that while we do not seek equal outcomes in America, we do aspire to equal opportunity, at least in theory. We have, however, never come close to that ideal, particularly as regards minorities and those with few resources. A great way to correct that is to invest more national resources in early childhood education.

Moreover, given rising economic inequality, the rationale for this idea is more pressing than ever. Other advanced economies, as you will see, are way ahead of us on this point.”

January 28, 2916 – Eye on Early Education
In Quotes: A Budget Season Commitment to Children

From education to energy to transportation; from economic development bills that focus on diverse regions and industries to our nationally-heralded gun safety legislation; we are known in Massachusetts and this House for pairing bold ideas with commitment to collaboration. We also know that excellence — the historic excellence that makes Massachusetts a national model in areas like education — is achieved by laying groundwork for continuous improvement over time. Although we recognize that we’re facing some real financial constraints, the House will keep its focus on our most precious resource: our children.”

January 28, 2016 – Center for American Progress
Examining Quality Across the Pre-school to Third Grade Continuum

For the past several decades, U.S. policymakers at every level have highlighted the need to close the educational achievement gaps between racial and socioeconomic groups. One much-needed improvement is better alignment across the preschool-to-third-grade continuum. Knowing that gaps begin before children enter kindergarten, understanding what children experience as they enter their formal education is vital in order to inform policies that can improve alignment across the early learning and K-12 education systems and ultimately support better outcomes for all children.

January 28, 2016 – National Women’s Law Center
Set Up to Fail: When Low-Wage Work Jeopardizes Parents’ and Children’s Success

cx_gr_set_up_to_failEvery day, working parents in low-wage jobs are desperate to keep food on the table and a roof over their families’ heads, and to provide a better life for their children. Yet, even when they work full time, they may not earn enough to lift their children out of poverty. They often have unpredictable work hours over which they have little control, making it difficult to arrange child care or manage other family responsibilities. And when they must miss work to meet the demands that all parents face—sick children, doctors’ appointments, parent-teacher conferences—their jobs may be at risk. For many low-wage working parents, the conditions of their jobs effectively set them up to fail: meeting both their work and family obligations becomes an impossible juggling act. And too often, despite their best efforts, parents’ low wages and work conditions undermine their children’s chances for success as well.

January 26, 2016 – Boston Globe
DeLeo to focus on early education, charter schools, Uber

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo is expected to lay out the chamber’s approach to early education, charter schools, and legislation regulating ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft in his annual address to colleagues Wednesday.

The speech, set for 1 p.m. in the ornate House chamber, will not get the attention of Governor Charlie Baker’s State of the Commonwealth speech last week. But it will be an important signal of House priorities in the final months of the legislative session.”

January 24, 2016 – Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, North Adams Aim to Fill the Early Childhood Program Gaps

For the preschool-aged children and families of Berkshire County, access to more free early childhood programs can’t come fast enough.

State figures for December indicate that 486 local children from income eligible families qualify and could benefit from but are wait-listed for vouchers that would allow them to attend a certified early childhood or school-age education program.”

January 21, 2015 – Eye on Early Education
Massachusetts Awards $500,000 in Pre-K Grants

Newly announced grants from the state of Massachusetts will help 13 cities and towns “develop strategic plans for providing high-quality preschool to more children in their community.”

The grant program — the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative — will invest $500,000 to help communities design “a collaborative, public-private partnership model for providing high-quality preschool that is aligned with Massachusetts’ Preschool Expansion Grant program.”

January 21, 2016 – Boston Globe
Baker Neutral on Early Education

A day after Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh pleaded with the state to increase funding for early education, saying it can make or break a student’s scholastic success or struggle, Governor Charlie Baker issued a noncommittal response.

January 19, 2016 – The Boston Globe
Guaranteed Pre-K Gives Kids a Strong Start: Mayor Walsh Editorial

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh: “What’s at stake is access to a nationally renowned full-day early childhood education program that’s proved to boost long-term academic, social, and emotional development and close achievement gaps. What’s causing the stress is that we lack the local resources to offer it to all our city’s children.”

January 19, 2016 – Institute of Education Sciences
IES Launches Research Network on Early Childhood Education

Early Learning Network to conduct research and develop tools to improve programs and policies across the country. The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is launching a new research network that will develop reliable information and useful tools to improve early childhood education across the country. IES’ National Center for Education Research (NCER) and the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services (Departments) today announced that $26 million in grants have been awarded for the creation of the new Early Learning Network, which will conduct its work over the next five years.”

January 15, 2016 – Fast Company
How the US Almost Had Universal Childcare (Twice)

Day care costs more than college tuition in most states in America. This high cost often ends up being close to or more than the take-home pay of many parents, and thanks to the persistent gender pay gap, that parent is most often the mom. This means that more women are quitting their jobs or scaling back their hours after they have children. On average, professional women lose around $11,000 a year, thanks to the gender pay gap, which is also the average annual cost of child care in the U.S., and after decades of decline and a drop to 23% in 1999, the share of stay-at-home mothers rose to 29% in 2012. But it hasn’t always been this way.”

January 11, 2016 – Alliance for Early Success
The Every Student Succeeds Act: a half-full or half-empty glass for early education?

From an early childhood perspective, there’s cause for celebration. More so than ever before, early childhood educators, program directors, and policy leaders should be able to see themselves in our nation’s most significant public education law, moving us closer to a P-12 system.”

January 6, 2016 – NIEER Preschool Matters Blog
Universal Pre-K: What does it mean and who provides it?

Inquiring minds often want to know which states offer “universal pre-K.” As states vary in what they define as universal pre-K (UPK) and in how far they have progressed toward fully implementing a universal program as intended, the answer is somewhat complicated.

January 5, 2016 – Colorado Springs Independent
Re-imagining Early Education

If all the evidence shows that kids really need to go to preschool, why isn’t it provided as a part of public schooling, she wondered. Well, it turns out that there’s a lot of research into early education these days. That research is showing what our country could do to help young kids develop into successful adults — if we’re willing to spend the money and make the changes.

PBS is running a documentary on the subject and a group is hosting a community-wide conversation on the topic this Saturday.”

January 5, 2016 – National Public Radio
Will More Day Care Help Boost Japan’s Sluggish Economy?

Japan has made progress recently in getting more women to join the workforce. The latest numbers show a greater percentage of Japanese women work outside the home than American women. But for a rapidly aging and shrinking population, that progress may not be fast enough.

One of the biggest reasons Japanese women choose to stay home is the lack of child care options. As of the latest count, in April 2015, about 23,000 Japanese children were on waiting lists for day care. Unable to find other options, many parents give up the hunt.”

January 4, 2016 – Department of Health and Human Services
Why Childcare Packs Quite the Economic Punch

quality_child_careWith revenue of $41.5 billion, the child care industry supports an additional $41.6 billion in spillover supporting additional industries within communities.

More than 1.5 million sole proprietors (those operating child care programs out of their home) and wage and salary employees working within centers support 624,500 jobs in other industries.

While individuals in the child care field typically earn low wages, the industry supports about $18 billion in additional earnings outside of the child care field throughout the United States.

These are important findings. Not only does child care help parents work and offer a setting for children to promote their healthy development, the child care industry also plays an important role in supporting local economies. The report also found that for every federal dollar increase invested in child care, there is a return of $3.80 in local economies.”

January 4, 2016 – Newslocker via WUNC
New Research: Childcare Helps Brain Development for Kids in Chaotic Homes

050114-N-3659B-050 Millington, Tenn. (Jan. 14, 2005) - The Morale Welfare and Recreation Child Development Center on board Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington, Tenn., provides daycare services for dependent children ages six weeks to five years old of military personnel. U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 3rd Class Joseph M. Buliavac (RELEASED)

New research suggests childcare can improve the brain development of kids who live in chaotic homes.

A team of researchers, including several from UNC, looked at poor children under the age of 5 living in loud, crowded and unpredictable homes in eastern North Carolina and central Pennsylvania. They found the children had decreased executive functioning—or the ability to learn and solve problems.

But lead author Daniel Berry of the University of Illinois says those negative impacts seemed to disappear for kids who attended non-parental childcare for at least 35 hours a week.”

January 1, 2016 – Central Maine Morning Sentinel
Businesses must shoulder fair share of the cost of quality child care

Quality child care is an integral part of our economy, and people seem to agree that there is a need for greater involvement of the business community and for quality teachers for our youngest children.

The expectation, however, falls short of the reality of working families in Maine.”

December 29, 2015 – DNA Info New York
Pre-K Teachers are on Food Stamps After 10 Years Without a Raise

After nearly three decades on the job, Debra Johnson, an assistant Pre-K teacher at a city-funded early learning center, earns an annual income of $27,000 — or $13.94 an hour — about $3,000 less than assistant teachers with the same degree would earn in a public school in their first year.”

December 29, 2015 – The Atlantic
The New Preschool is Crushing Kids

lead_960“…the average preschool program “narrows the achievement gap by perhaps only 5 percent,” compared with the 30 to 50 percent that studies suggest would be possible with higher-quality programs. Contrasting the dismal results of Tennessee’s preschool system with the more promising results in places such as Boston, which promotes active, child-centered learning (and, spends more than twice the national average on preschool), lends further credence to the idea that preschool quality really does matter.”

December 28, 2015 – Boston Globe
Boston and NY on Different Paths to Pre-K for All

In Boston — where Mayor Martin J. Walsh said he would double the number of preschoolers within four years — the city still doesn’t have a plan to make that happen. Instead, he has offered only enough new funding to add 200 preschool seats and has relied upon a federal grant that brought Boston Public Schools’ preschool model into private centers across the city — all told, boosting the preschool rolls about 5 percent.”

December 25, 2015 – The Hechinger Report
Why 2015 was a benchmark year for early childhood education

Early childhood education once again emerged as the bipartisan winner in a year marked by deep political polarization. In fact, Congress gave early childhood education more attention this year than almost any other issue — and capped it off by matching good intentions with great funding for programs from birth to preschool and beyond.”

December 18, 2015 – Child Care & Early Education Research Connections
Child care burden and the risk of child maltreatment among low-income working families

Studies suggest that a substantial proportion of low-income working mothers experience work disruptions and parental stress related to child care, which may lead to increases in the risk of physical and psychological abuse and neglect of children. However, little research has examined the relationship between child care burden and the risk of child maltreatment among low-income working families. Using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study 3-year data, this study explores how child care burden is associated with the risk of child maltreatment (physical aggression, psychological aggression, and neglectful behavior) among low-income working mothers. We find that instability in child care arrangements is likely to increase mothers’ physical and psychological aggression, while not having someone reliable for emergency child care is likely to increase mothers’ neglectful behaviors. Findings also show that the risk of child maltreatment related to child care burden measures is more significant for single mothers than married mothers. Potential policy implications are discussed.”

December 18, 2015 – Child Care & Early Education Research Connections
Child care subsidies and employment outcomes of low-income families

In both separate and joint analyses of earnings and quarters employed, we found that subsidy receipt was associated with an increase in the probability of an increase in earnings and/or number of quarters employed and a decrease in the probability of a decrease in quarters employed. However, in general, these associations were only significant when mothers received a subsidy for 12 months or more. These findings suggest the importance of identifying potential barriers to subsidy use, as stable receipt of subsidies may contribute to parents’ economic well-being.”

December 18, 2015 – Baltimore Sun
Maryland’s perfect education equation

One would think the best solution would be to establish more birth to age 3 programs within the traditional school structure. However, while that might be one viable option, research shows that the highest quality and most effective early childhood programs take place in specially designed learning centers that integrate education, family and health-related services and employ child care staff possessing very specific skill sets designed to foster healthy brain development and positive educational outcomes for infants. We know very young children often do not benefit from an environment that is highly structured with rigid rules. Infants and toddlers develop language and social skills when they are free to play, explore their environment, and interact with trained, caring adults who know how to structure those opportunities in purposeful ways.”

December 17, 2015 – New York Times
Class Differences in Child-rearing Are on the Rise

Early childhood experiences can be very consequential for children’s long-term social, emotional and cognitive development,” said Sean F. Reardon, professor of poverty and inequality in education at Stanford University. “And because those influence educational success and later earnings, early childhood experiences cast a lifelong shadow.”

The cycle continues: Poorer parents have less time and fewer resources to invest in their children, which can leave children less prepared for school and work, which leads to lower earnings.”

December 17, 2015 – Washington Post
Labor Department announces new aid for ballooning child-care costs

baby-feet-framed-in-parents-heart-shaped-handsThe annual cost of day care for infants in most states now exceeds a year of public college tuition, an issue that has become a significant problem for the nation’s labor force. Because day care devours at least 30 percent of a minimum-wage worker’s earnings in every state, getting the job training necessary to move up the income scale is effectively impossible for many parents.

The potential for surging child-care costs to stifle workforce development has prompted the Labor Department to step in, offering $25 million in grants next year to programs that provide job training and access to quality child-care to parents.”

December 16, 2015 – Pennsylvania State Government website
BLOG: Where Investing in Pre-K Really Counts by John Wetzel, Secretary of Corrections for PA

wetzel-and-governorAt a budget hearing earlier this year, a senator asked, ‘If you were to advise us as to an investment that we should be making in another agency, in another part of government, that would impact what you do, change the outcome of what you do, what would you recommend?’

My answer was easy: early-childhood education programs.

As I see it, every time we talk about corrections reform, it really must begin with the realization that improving the chances for children, especially those in our most disadvantaged communities, is not just a great investment financially, but our responsibility and the true answer to improving criminal justice in America.”

December 16, 2015 – Preschool Matters, NIEER Blog
Finishing the job we started: the next best step in early childhood education

We call on Governor Baker to convene a task force to better realize the aspirations that he and many others have set forth: a highly qualified and competent early care and education workforce that can provide the best possible start in life for all children. Let’s finish the job we started, face current realities, and create the synergy that will keep Massachusetts a leader.”

December 11, 2015 – MA Budget and Policy Center
Race to Equity: The State of Black Massachusetts 

Because of cuts to state funding in Massachusetts, many low-income kids, including many kids of color, are not currently in publicly-supported early education programs. For those kids who can, quality is not always up to the level it needs to be because of low reimbursement rates, which mean that care providers can’t pay salaries that would attract and retain well-trained teachers.”

December 11, 2015 – The Huffington Post
The Teachers Who Educate Our Youngest Kids Are Struggling To Make Ends Meet

time for a changeDespite all we have learned about the crucial development in the first years of life and the important role of teachers in facilitating early learning, ECE jobs offer little premium to those teachers who have earned degrees. ECE has the dubious distinction of affording graduates the lowest life time earnings of any college major.” 

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