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Early Education

Event Summary: The Hell of American Day Care

May 14, 2013
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The Asset Building Program and New America’s Early Education Initiative co-hosted an event yesterday on “The Hell of American Daycare,” so titled after a recent piece by Jonathan Cohn for The New Republic. Cohn and a panel of experts explored this controversial issue at the intersection between early education and the American workforce. Asset Building Program director Reid Cramer introduced the subject of child care as an “issue at the heart of the social contract.” The event made clear that today’s workforce cannot succeed without adequate, affordable child care to which it can entrust its children; that those children cannot succeed without safe, stimulating experiences in their earliest years; and that tomorrow’s workforce will not thrive without the formative educational experiences only pre-kindergarten learning can provide.

Questions About How the Sequester Is Affecting Low-Income Children

May 13, 2013

On March 1, 2013, federal agencies were directed by the White House budget office to cut spending for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year, through Sept. 30. The cuts, known as “sequestration” in Washington parlance, apply evenly to almost every program, so agencies do not have much leeway to protect certain programs at the cost of others. Now, two-and-a-half months later, the big question is how the cuts are affecting people on the ground. The answer: We have anecdotes, but no firm numbers.

A New Way to Track Pre-K—Hourly: Part 2

May 10, 2013
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In a blog post from earlier this week I examined the issues of funding streams and dosage. We currently have no way to track a state-funded pre-K center’s level of funding or the different ways it is funded. We also have no reliable way of measuring how some pre-K programs supervise children for much longer than others because we rely on a vague binary measurement of “half-day” versus “full-day”. In this post I will explain how we can fix these problems.

An Ocean of Unknowns

  • By
  • Laura Bornfreund,
  • New America Foundation
May 15, 2013

What is the best way to use data to measure teacher impact on student learning? States and school districts are attempting to navigate these uncharted waters. As of 2012, 20 states and DC require evidence of student learning to play a role in evaluating teacher performance. As a result, better information on student learning is in high demand, and no grade level is immune. Historically, most states have required standardized testing only in grades three through eight.

Head Start Exceeds Requirement That Half of Teachers Earn BA in Early Childhood

May 9, 2013

According to recent budget documents from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Head Start program has surpassed a statutory requirement that half of Head Start teachers have bachelor’s degrees in early childhood by September 30, 2013. In fact, according to the Department, 62 percent of teachers had earned the degree by fiscal year 2012.

A New Way to Track Pre-K—Hourly: Part 1

May 7, 2013
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In today’s blog post, I will examine some basic problems with current data collection processes in pre-K, kindergarten and across the PreK-12 landscape. Look for Part 2 later this week, when I’ll propose hourly tracking -- an outside-the-box approach to solving some of these issues. 

At National Journal: Assessment Lessons from Early Childhood

May 3, 2013

This week, the National Journal’s expert blog asked writers to respond to a series of questions about assessment. I zoomed in on several lessons from early childhood assessments, PreK-3rd grade, that educators can and should integrate into 3rd – 12th grade standardized assessment practices.

iPads in the Classroom and Media Mentors

May 1, 2013

Is it just me, or has there been a shift lately in the way people talk about technology and young children? In addition to the still-lingering questions of "whether" screen technologies have any role in children's learning, parents and teachers seem to be hungry for more on the "how" -- How should iPads be used? How could apps fit with what I want to show or have children explore? How can I find out what works and what doesn't?

Early Learning in a BooksPlus World

May 1, 2013

On April 29, 2013, Lisa Guernsey was part of a panel at the Office of Head Start's 2nd Bi-Annual Birth-to-Five Leadership Institute, where she presented findings on what scientists know about the impact of electronic media on children's learning. Lisa focused on how early childhood policies need to bend to accommodate a "BooksPlus" view of children's learning environment, in which books remain critically important, especially for early literacy skills, but where children also have chances to learn from and engage with multimedia of all kinds.

Last Year the “Worst in a Decade” for High-Quality Pre-K, Annual Report Finds

April 29, 2013

State pre-K funding shrunk by over half a billion dollars from the 2010-11 to the 2011-12 school year. That was the largest one-year decrease in the last 10 years, leading the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) to declare it the "worst year in a decade” for high-quality pre-K access across the United States.

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