New Jersey early childhood program’s benefits stretch to 10th grade

Students in grades 3-10 who participated in New Jersey’s Abbott Preschool Program showed higher achievement levels in language/literacy, math and science, as well as lower grade retention by grade 10, according to a study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly, conducted by researchers from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers Graduate School of Education.

Policymakers used to ignore child care, then came the pandemic

When the economist Nancy Folbre got a call from the MacArthur Foundation in 1998, she was expecting rejection: a courtesy call to deny the funding application she’d submitted. You can’t measure the productivity of a child-care center the way you would, say, a car factory, she explained. The incentives are nothing alike. The profits don’t go only to the center’s owner. Instead, benefits are shared by children and their parents, and society as a whole. The country benefits from a more educated and productive work force.

Developing high-quality PreK educators and leaders

The need for high-quality early childhood education and care programs in the United States has garnered increasing public support in recent decades. However, an uneven policy and  funding landscape has resulted in a lack of consistent quality throughout the field, including inequitable development opportunities for members of the workforce and leadership. This white paper by Emily Holm Tobin, Cinthia Palomino, Asha Warsame, Linghui Chu, Anran Ouyang, and Gail E. Joseph at the University of Washington offers a review of research literature, seminal reports, and policy work examining the role of higher education in PreK teacher and leader preparation over the last 15 years.

Early Childhood Workforce Index 2020

This third edition of the Index from the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment continues to track state policies and conditions affecting the early care and education workforce, like workforce qualifications, work environments, and compensation. It includes policy recommendations and spotlights state responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To provide high-quality early learning, California must invest in its Early Learning Assessment System

High-quality early childhood experiences, coupled with good nutrition and health care, can help close gaps before children enter formal schooling. Yet by the time they start kindergarten, young children in the United States have already experienced systemic inequities, including varying levels of access to nutritious meals, health care, and home learning experiences. These different circumstances take the form of early and ongoing opportunity gaps, which translate into achievement gaps in later grades. In California, the disparities between the opportunities afforded young children from low-income backgrounds and their peers from higher-income families are even greater than the national average.

Illinois has a great opportunity to increase pay, number of teachers in early childhood education

When COVID-19 shut down much of the world, including most child care centers, many working parents had to do their regular job virtually while also juggling being a teacher to their young children. They realized that a full day of caring for and educating young children is definitely not “just babysitting.” Nonetheless, roughly half of Illinois’ full-time early childhood teachers earn so little that they qualify for public assistance or for the child care assistance programs where they work. And while wages are better in Illinois’ Preschool for All programs, only 10% of those teachers are nonwhite, compared to about 40% nonwhite teachers who work in licensed child care centers and on average earn $13.84 an hour.

Three ways to support early career teachers beyond the COVID-19 pandemic

The early career years are a fragile stage in an educator’s career in non-pandemic times, as studies estimate that 30% to 45% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years on the job. This high turnover rate may be particularly concerning to policymakers dedicated to recruiting and retaining a more diverse workforce, as recent gains in the recruitment of teachers of color could be lost without attention to keeping early career educators in the classroom.