Social-Emotional Development

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:

Tired of Federal Gridlock? Take a Look at Education Reform in the States

October 14, 2013

As the government shutdown continues (with no end yet visible), it’s easy—and wholly understandable—to get cynical. If we can’t manage basic stuff like funding the federal government, it’s hard to expect any sort of meaningful, exciting, education (or otherwise) policy reforms. In times like these, it’s good to keep an eye on the states.

So, if you’re looking for evidence for the potential of new education policy reforms, take a look at the National Governors Association’s recent report, “A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting All Students Reading By Third Grade.”

Update on DC’s Early Childhood Performance Management Framework

October 9, 2013

Last month, the DC Public Charter School Board officially adopted the new early childhood performance management framework with a few good revisions. But there is still a lot of room for improvement.

In late August, Conor Williams and I wrote about the proposed framework, which was controversial among many parents and early childhood advocates. The framework is intended to be a common accountability tool that will be used to evaluate public charter schools serving pre-K through 2nd grade, beginning this year. The framework, however, will first be used to tier schools in 2015.

One of the major concerns about the proposed framework is the overemphasis on student outcomes, PreK-2nd grade, in literacy and math. In these early years, teachers are helping children develop a love for learning and inquiry. Children are learning to explore, be creative, problem-solve, and engage in positive interactions with adults and their peers. Because social-emotional development is so important to young children’s education, assessing it should be more than an “option” in the performance management framework. As it stands, however, DC’s PMF does not require charter schools to assess SEL.

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.

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.

New Research: Targeted Parent Training Can Help Students Focus—and Succeed

July 8, 2013

As the Obama Administration ramps up its push for expanded early childhood education access for all children, it’s important to ensure that preschool quality remains a big part of the conversation. Fortunately, there’s good news on this front from the University of Oregon’s Brain Development Lab.

Child Care, Preschool, and American Families

June 28, 2013
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The last few news cycles have confirmed what researchers already knew: American families, conceptions of marriage, and views on gender are changing fast. In 1975, nearly half of American households followed the traditional “dad-at-work, mom-at-home” model. Less than one-third of families use that model today. Twice as many dads stay home with their children now as did a decade ago. And today, over 40 percent of mothers are the “sole or primary providers” in their households today.

Child Care Legislation Heightens Emphasis on Quality

June 13, 2013

Last week, amidst the release of multiple reauthorization bills for No Child Left Behind, key members of the Senate produced a draft bill for reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Introduced by a bipartisan group of senators, including Democratic Senators Mikulski (MD) and Harkin (IA) and Republican Senators Burr (NC) and Alexander (TN), S. 1086 is somewhat more prescriptive than the last version of CCDBG, and a lot more focused on quality.

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