Last week we alerted our readers to a call from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a division of the U.S. Department of Education, for comments on their proposal to collect data for the annual State of Preschool Survey. The National Institute for Early Education Research has administered this data collection, which they have used in their invaluable pre-K “yearbooks,” since 2003. The yearbook data are some of the most valuable and comprehensive available to those attempting to understand how pre-K policy is implemented across the United States.
Since the grant that funds the yearbook is expiring, this proposal from NCES is essential to keeping state-by-state pre-K data collection alive. The Early Education Initiative has posted its official public comment on the NCES website and also on our website. We argue the Department of Education has demonstrated a commitment to early learning, and that good data from the State of Preschool Survey is essential to the proper functioning of the department. We also make six recommendations to improve the State of Preschool Survey:
- Begin collecting data on enrollment at the local level
- Collect child, program and workforce data
- Make distinctions about dosage - the number of hours or days that a program is open to children
- Include publicly funded early education opportunities for infants and toddlers
- Open the survey to questions about kindergarten
- Incorporate the data into the Common Core of Data
Click here to see our full comment submitted.
CORRECTION 2/12/2013 at 9:49 a.m.: An earlier version described NCES's proposal as essential to keeping federal pre-K data collection alive. It should have said "essential to keeping state-by-state pre-K data collection alive." The federal government has not previously collected pre-K data.