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Early Ed Watch

A Blog from New America's Early Education Initiative

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New America Ed Launches EdCentral

November 11, 2013
New America's education policy analysis and information is now available on a fantastic new platform: Edcentral.org. Our website includes a section focusing on the early years and early grades (birth to third) -- find it at Early.EdCentral.org. Please update your bookmarks and head over to our new website. We look forward to welcoming you to our EdCentral community.

Success for All with i3 Program

November 5, 2013

The Success for All program, a school improvement effort funded with federal Investing in Innovation (i3) dollars, seems to be a success. A new evaluation of the program conducted by MDRC,The Success for All Model of School Reform, found that kindergarteners who went through the program demonstrated about 12 percent higher average annual growth in reading achievement than their average peers.

Troubling & Promising Findings in NCTQ Scan of State Teacher Eval Policies

November 4, 2013
Of the 40 states and D.C. that require student achievement as a factor in teacher evaluation, fewer than half have an explicit policy for using student achievement measures to evaluate teachers of untested grades and subjects, according to a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality. That includes, in most cases, PreK-3rd grade teachers.

Treating Student Bidialectism As An Opportunity

October 31, 2013
Last Friday, Chicago’s Erikson Institute convened a group of stakeholders to consider recent research and educational practices touching bilingualism and bidialectism. While much of my work concerns Dual Language Learners—and other students striving to become bilingual—I knew very little about how students’ dialects can affect their educational trajectories. 

Jana Fleming, Director of Erikson’s Herr Research Center, opened the event by noting that the process of adding a dialect is “similar, but not identical” to the process of adding a language. To that end, she warned educators against marginalizing students who speak non-standard varieties of English. This “normative bias” towards standard English can delegitimize students’ cultural backgrounds. In addition, students who are unfamiliar with standard English conventions can struggle with academic materials presented solely in standard English dialect. 

A Closer Look at FirstSchool’s PreK-3rd Grade Approach

October 31, 2013
The September/October 2013 edition of Principal Magazine, a publication of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, spotlights early learning in the context of aligning pre-kindergarten with the early grades.

At Whole Child Podcast: Education and our Youngest Learners

October 31, 2013
Publication Image Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to participate in a conversation on the Whole Child Podcast about education for our youngest learners in pre-K and the early grades. Much of the podcast focused on how pre-K and kindergarten are becoming more academic and allowing for fewer opportunities for children to play, socialize, explore, and direct their own learning.

Roundtable on the Science of Digital Media and Early Learning

October 25, 2013
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With nearly 100,000 apps in the education category of the iTunes app store, and television still a huge part of children’s daily lives, the questions about how technology affects learning are more pertinent than ever.  At the New America Foundation last week, the Early Education Initiative sought answers to these questions at a first-of-its-kind roundtable discussion with dozens of media and early childhood researchers from across the country. 

The discussion, Digital Media and Early Learning: What We Know and What We Need to Learn, was organized in partnership with the Alliance for Early Learning in a Digital Age, a consortium of institutions that included the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, the Ounce of Prevention Fund, PBS, Sesame Workshop, and The TEC Center at Erikson Institute. The Grable Foundation of Pittsburgh funded the event.

Pre-K is Win-Win, Concludes a New Report

October 23, 2013

Early education is one of the most powerful ways to close the achievement gap between low-income and minority children and their more-advantaged peers. But all too often, pre-K advocates cite the same, decades-old research studies – the Abecedarian Project and the HighScope Perry Preschool Study, in particular – to prove the value of high-quality programs. A new report, Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education, published by the Society for Research in Child Development and the Foundation for Child Development earlier this month, offers an updated view of the research, and a path forward for scaled-up pre-K programs.

Researchers were on hand for an event at the New America Foundation last week to answer some questions (click here for the event video, or here to see a Storify summary of the Twitter conversation). Here are the report’s headline findings:

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