Friday, April 9, 2010

NIEER early ed hot topics 4/9

Major Meta-analysis: Pre-K Improves Cognitive, Social-Emotional Development and Schooling Outcomes
A broad-based meta-analysis of 123 studies reported in the Teachers College Record found that preschool education had positive effects on cognitive and social and emotional development as well as schooling outcomes. The largest effects were observed for cognitive outcomes. Specific aspects that positively correlated with gains included teacher-directed instruction and small-group instruction. "If we focus on the rigorous studies, we find that the immediate impact is to close about 70 percent of the achievement gap. After third grade, it's about 30 percent of the gap," said study co-author and NIEER co-director Steve Barnett, who adds, "This should put the final nail in the coffin of the idea that preschool education's effects fade out after third grade." Watch the video here.

Promise Neighborhoods Program Gets a Boost in Obama's FY 2011 Budget
If approved by Congress, the federal FY 2011 budget will add $200 million to the $10 million allocated to the Promise Neighborhoods program in the current budget. The idea behind Promise Neighborhoods is to replicate the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ), which claims to have successfully raised disadvantaged children's achievement — sometimes spectacularly so — through a network of high-quality schools and services. The money will go for planning grants for communities that show they have what it takes to develop a feasible plan for replicating HCZ. That will be easier said than done, points out New America Foundation's Lisa Guernsey who looks at HCZ and what it might take to assemble those ingredients elsewhere in this week’s Early Ed Watch blog.

New Report: Time to Refocus New York State's Universal Pre-K Effort
Thirteen years after New York state adopted its universal pre-K initiative, it's time to refocus the effort, says a report just out from Winning Beginning NY, the statewide early learning coalition. The report points out that while New York Universal Pre-K (UPK) now serves 109,000 children, there are some 120,000 kids who don’t yet have access. Among its recommendations are developing a five-year plan to prepare an early childhood workforce, revising the UPK funding statute so pre-K funding is sustainable and able to support full-day services, and enacting legislation to implement a quality improvement system.

Pew Launches Home Visiting Policy Campaigns in Four States
Beginning this year, the Pew Home Visiting Campaign will support statewide advocacy and public education efforts aimed at expanding and improving home visiting programs in Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Washington. John Schlitt, who directs the effort, says those states were chosen because they have a variety of approaches to home visiting and leaders there have voiced a desire to expand and improve these services. He and his team are also involved in field research aimed at bridging gaps that exist in the home visiting research literature, particularly as regards what program ingredients generate the most positive results, home visiting's effect on school readiness, and how best to engage fathers.

Researchers: Head Start Impact Study Delayed, Ignored by Press
Russ Whitehurst of the Brookings Institution and Nicholas Zill, a consultant and former director of Head Start's Family and Experience Survey (FACES), say the Head Start Impact Study was delayed in its issuance and ignored by the press. Whitehurst said the six-year delay between the time key data were gathered and the report's issuance as well as the appearance of a positive bias in reporting the findings suggests the Office of Management and Budget needs to get involved in setting standards for agencies on conducting and issuing evaluation reports. They spoke at a recent Heritage Foundation event.

nterview with Lt. General Norman R. Seip (Ret.)
Lt. General Norman R. Seip (Ret.) answers questions on why he believes that expanding public pre-K is critical to addressing the skills gap that exists among many military recruits and to maintaining our nation's future security. Seip, who was a fighter pilot and Commander of the 12th Air Force, serves on the Executive Advisory Council of Mission: Readiness.

Also featured: NIEER Consultant Marcie Weber reviews Good Morning Children: My First Years in Early Childhood Education by Sophia Pappas, a Teach for America volunteer who taught pre-K in New Jersey's Abbott Preschool Program. Pappas was also a blogger for the national advocacy group Pre-K Now.

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