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You Choose: Which 2 Studies from SRCD Do You Want to Learn More About?

April 6, 2009

[Voting concluded at 9 a.m. on April 9. Thanks for your input. Based on your votes, I'll be working on #9, #4 and #1. (See my note in the comment field for the full tally.) Stay tuned! -LG]

By the time the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development concluded in Denver on Saturday, thousands of research projects had been presented and discussed, critiqued and disputed. Even the most conscientious attendee at the conference could not have learned about even a fraction of them.

Some New and Surprising Links Between Early Skills and Later Academic Success

April 3, 2009

DENVER -- Preliminary results unveiled yesterday from three new education studies show some surprising and complicated connections between young children's math and attention skills and their ability to do well in school. The studies also highlight how difficult it can be to draw a straight line from one skill at age 4 or 5 to strong test scores or good learning practices in later school years.

In Search of More Play in Kindergarten – and More Solid Research on What’s Happening There

March 31, 2009

A child-advocacy group called the Alliance for Childhood recently released a white paper with a head-turning title: "Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School." A press release accompanying the report carries the dramatic headline: "Kindergarten Playtime Disappears, Raising Alarm on Children's Learning and Health."

TV Research: Let’s Get Smarter About What Young Children See, Hear and Experience

March 9, 2009

Oh, parents. Oh, researchers. What are we going to do with you two?

What's Been Cut: The Story of the Child Parent Centers

February 26, 2009

Consider an education program so effective that its impact can be measured 19 years later, so well-studied that it can be backed up with decades of scientific evidence on children's improved skills in math and reading, and so impressive to policymakers that it continues to be championed around the country 40 years after its launch.

February 17: All Eyes on Illinois…
February 19: Duncan’s Record in Chicago
February 23: Q-and-A with Barbara Bowman
Today: What’s been cut


These are the superlatives that come with Chicago's Child Parent Centers. So you might figure they're flourishing as part of the Chicago Public Schools' early childhood programs, right? Not so. Their numbers are dwindling. In the mid-1980s, there were at least 25 CPCs serving more than 1,500 children. By 2006, there were 13. Today, 11 are still open, according to the Promising Practices Network. Enrollment in 2009, as reported by the Chicago Public Schools, is down to 670, less than half of what it once was. It now represents just 2 percent of the system's total preschool enrollment.

The distressing story of the CPCs needs to be told. In this series, we have examined Illinois's early childhood framework and its Preschool for All program, as well as U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan's record in Chicago. Both offer helpful lessons for structuring and funding early childhood programs. But the CPCs offer some of the strongest lessons of all, and their closures send a warning about how difficult it can be to sustain the programs that have been shown to do the most good. It's a shame that even in an environment brimming with early childhood advocates, the CPCs haven't been able to gain ground. And it begs the question: If Chicago can't make this happen, who can?

Featured Abstract: Parental Conceptions of School Readiness

February 12, 2009

A recent study in Early Education and Development looks at what skills parents believe their children must have in order to be kindergarten-ready.

Featured Abstract: Promoting Academic and Social-Emotional School Readiness: The Head Start REDI Program

December 9, 2008

A new study in the November/December 2008 issue of Child Development looks at the impacts of an intervention designed to improve Head Start students' language, literacy, and social-emotional skills:

Why the Early Education Sector is More Innovative than K-12

October 16, 2008

Over the past 6 months, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about educational innovation, because Andy Rotherham and I have been writing a paper for the Brookings Institution on the federal role in supporting educational innovation. One of the things that’s become increasingly clear to me is that the early education sector is much more innovative—and offers a much more hospitable climate for innovators—than the K-12 education system.

Generation Left Behind?

October 10, 2008

The current generation of young adults may be the first since World War II, possibly the first in American history, to be less educated than the generation that preceded them, according to a new report from the American Councils on Education.

Gene Linked to Poor Reading Ability

October 1, 2008

Researchers in England have identified a gene linked to poor reading ability. Previous research had identified a correlation between the gene and dyslexia, but this research shows a correlation between the gene and poor reading ability among non-dyslexic children, as well. While the presence of the gene correlated with poorer reading performance in a population of 6000 children, ages 7 to 9, it does not affect overall cognitive abilities.

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