Early Education

Early Educational Data Comments to U.S. Department of Ed

September 17, 2013

The Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) project is an initiative headed by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics to create comparable, consistent data definitions. It’s an entirely voluntary initiative, and its glossary includes preschool through workforce data elements. CEDS is in the process of refining its version 4 dictionary – open for comments through Friday, September 20.

New Report Shines Spotlight on Negative Effects of Pre-K Absenteeism

September 17, 2013
Allbriton PreK Classroom

This month is labeled the first-ever “Attendance Awareness Month” by the advocacy group Attendance Works, and there is plenty to which we ought to be paying attention. A 2008 study by the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) estimated that one out of every 10 children nationally is chronically absent (meaning he misses at least 10 percent of scheduled days) in his first two years of school.

Aligning Investments in Parenting With Investments in Early Education

September 13, 2013

Alignment is critical in early education policy. That goes for curriculum, instruction, standards, and much more. To be highly effective, public early education programs need to be: 1) accessible to those who need them, 2) high-quality, and 3) aligned with the rest of the education system. The last part is certainly key; we know, for example, that pre-K programs work best when they are designed in tandem with the K–12 system into which they feed. However, it is a mistake to think of alignment as perfectly linear, running from pre-K straight through college admission. Students are also their parents’ children—and those parents’ influence can support or undermine educators’ work. Can targeted policies help align parenting with schooling? Should policymakers dare to try?

Child Care Workforce Lacking in Opportunities

September 11, 2013

Federal data suggest that in 2010, the nation’s nearly 1.3 million child care workers earned an average of around $9.28 per hour, or $19,300 per year. The lowest-paid 10 percent of workers earned less than $7.65 per hour. With statistics like that, it’s no wonder studies have found that child care workers leave the profession at high rates -- according to one study, more than half of teachers who left the centers at which they worked actually left the occupation entirely.

Correcting Pernicious Myths About Dual Language Learners

September 8, 2013

Almost every discussion of dual-language learning students in the United States begins with statistics illustrating their growing numbers. This is understandable, since the number of districts that inadequately meet dual language learners’ needs dwarfs the number that adopt intentionally-crafted, research-based approaches. Language learning experts emphasize the size of the DLL population in order to demand attention.

Math Apps, Preschoolers and Framing New Research Questions

September 4, 2013
Children and teacher around iPad

For the past two years, I’ve been following the creation and development of Next Generation Preschool Math, a research and development project funded by the National Science Foundation. The project is designed to shed light on how -- and if -- 4-year-olds can learn early math skills from apps designed to be used in classroom settings with teacher input and guidance. 

PreK-3rd Grade Work Elevated in New Round of Race to the top – ELC

September 3, 2013

Last week, the US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services released the application for the next round of the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge program. This new round includes a notable change: implementing PreK-3rd grade approaches to sustain gains made in preschool programs has been elevated to a competitive priority.

Pre-K Debates: Access and Quality

August 26, 2013

In the early education policy world, the research consensus supporting public investment in high-quality pre-K programs is overwhelming. We know that money spent on these programs leads to big savings in the long run.

Will New Pre-K Accountability Metrics in D.C. Enhance—Or Undercut—Pre-K Quality?

August 23, 2013

Like many in D.C.’s family-heavy Ward 4, Sam Chaltain sends his children to charter schools. His older son attends Latin American Montessori Bilingual, and his younger son will follow in a few years. This is just one of the area’s charters; it also boasts E.L. Haynes, Capital City, and several others that rank among the District’s very best, according to D.C.’s Public Charter School Board’s accountability rating system.

Three States with NCLB Waivers Slow to Make Student Growth Part of Teacher Evaluation Ratings

August 22, 2013

Last week, officials at the U.S. Department of Education put three states’ No Child Left Behind waivers on high-risk status – Kansas, Oregon, and Washington – for not following through on their teacher evaluation reform promises. Specifically, these states have delayed making student growth a significant factor in teacher evaluation.

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