Early childhood resources

In a new research brief, the University of Virginia team summarizes findings from the Fairfax PreK-3 project (FP3), a 2016-2021 study of a diverse cohort of 2,500 students eligible for public pre-K in Fairfax County. The results to date are clear. Enrollment in early educational programs contributes to students’ learning and development the year in which they enroll, and they enter the following year performing significantly better than peers without those prior experiences. The team calls this effect the “school entry boost.” Download the research brief here.

1 in 3 working families is struggling to find the child care they desperately need. According to a new poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 34% of families with young children are facing serious problems finding child care when adults need to work.

Preschool enrollment has plunged: What that means for school readiness – New Census data show only 40 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in school in 2020, a 14 percentage-point drop from 2019 and the first time since 1996 that fewer than half of U.S. children in that age group attended preschool. Read more.

On Tuesday, December 7, The Hunt Institute is hosting a webinar highlight significant reforms in early childhood education that occurred in 2021 across multiple states. This review will spotlight “2021’s big wins for little kids”. Register here.

K-12 education resources

WEBINAR: Policy Levers for Recruiting Educators of Color, featuring UNC’s Constance Lindsay & CALDER’s Dan Goldhaber – register here.

Schools need family input on COVID spending. Here’s how they can get it.

MissionSquare Research Institute presents survey findings for a subset of K-12 public school employees who participated in a survey about finances, employment outlook, and safety concerns due to COVID-19.

Equity – Available WestEd Archived Webinars and Resources:

Creating Conditions for Equitable Teaching and Learning

How Leaders Can Support Equity in Classrooms, Schools, and Districts

Advanced Well-Being, Connection, and Equity in Schools

Higher education resources

College enrollment plummeted during the pandemic. This fall, it’s even worse. The numbers are from a preliminary data set representing 8.4 million undergrad and graduate students from about 50% of U.S. colleges. The numbers show there are now 240,000 fewer undergraduates enrolled this fall compared with the same time last year, and if that rate of decline holds up for the rest of the colleges, that could translate into almost a half-million fewer undergraduate students.

Illinois community colleges’ economic impacts and student employment outcomes. Community colleges produce substantial economic impacts for the state and communities where they reside. This is an in-depth study of these impacts. Overall, the impacts are positive and are achieved on two fronts. First the study looks at students completing certificates and degrees in the Illinois Community College System (ICCS) that generate economic impacts by their employment and earnings gains. Then the study turns to evaluating economic impacts generated by the ICCS in the form of increased expenditures and employment.

Teaching and leadership resources

Equity in Education: Unpacking Key Terms – a primer explains social and emotional learning (SEL), culturally responsive and sustaining education (CRSE), and critical race theory (CRT), how each relates to equity issues, and how SEL and CRSE are distinct from the academic framework of CRT.

The Illinois State Board of Education is using multiple methods to address the teacher shortage in Illinois. ISBE reports that school districts have reported 3,600 vacancies in education. Read more.

Study: Suspensions of students of color go down when teachers of color are in charge – Studies repeatedly show that students of color in K-12 schools are suspended more often and more harshly than white students. Yet drawing from ten years of New York City public school data from grades 4 to 8, a new working paper found that Black, Latinx, and Asian American students were less likely to face such exclusionary discipline when their teachers matched their racial or ethnic background.

“If we are going to affirm the cultural identities of those that we are serving,” Buchanan-Rivera said, “then as educators we have to be responsive to the needs of individuals, which requires us to do self-work where we look in the mirror and we think about the ways in which we show up for students, we think about our biases, as well as how our beliefs of diversity align with our actions.” – Read a brief presented by K-12 Dive here and the full report here.

Upcoming opportunities

REL West Event, November 17 – High-Quality Tutoring to Accelerate Learning: A Deeper Dive into Literacy and Mathematics – The USDE’s ED COVID-19 Handbook highlights tutoring as a key strategy for supporting academic needs and addressing the loss of instructional time. This is the third in a series of three webinars.

AIR Webinar, November 18 – Policy Levers for Recruiting Educators of Color: What the Evidence Suggests – A diverse teacher workforce contributes to increases in academic achievement, higher adult expectations in schools, positive role modeling, and reductions in exclusionary discipline. But what does the evidence say about how to influence educator pipeline & workforce development? Register here.

REL West Event, November 18 – Arizona’s Supervisors of Principals’ Academy: One State’s Response to Evidence on Principal Pipeline Supports – An overview of the Educator Effectiveness Alliance, highlighting research related to the evolving role of a principal and how supervisors can support them. The webinar will provide strategies that state education agencies can use to create a system of support for principal supervisors.

REL Northwest Event, November 30 – Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence-Based Resources for Professional Development Facilitators – REL Northwest will introduce new professional development materials and share strategies to support middle grade and high school educators as they return to in-person instruction. REL Northwest created customizable professional development modules that school or district educators and facilitators can use to prepare teachers to leverage remote learning resources and build students’ social and emotional skills in a hybrid or in-person learning environment. These modules draw on evidence-based resources that were produced by researchers from the 10 Regional Educational Laboratories.

REL West Event, December 8 –  Academic Mindsets and Behaviors, Prior Achievement, and the Transition to Middle School – Positive academic mindsets and behaviors are linked with successful transitions to middle school, and several interventions targeting academic mindsets and behaviors have been shown to have significant impacts on outcomes for students in middle school and beyond. This 1-hour webinar will share key findings from the REL West report, “Academic Mindsets and Behaviors, Prior Achievement, and the Transition to Middle School.” Download the full REL Report here.