Tag Archives: The National Education Policy Center

Journal of Human Resources: Early, quality preschool can close the achievement gap

7 Jan

In Early learning standards and the K-12 continuum, moi said:
Preschool is a portal to the continuum of lifelong learning. A good preschool stimulates the learning process and prompts the child into asking questions about their world and environment. Baby Center offers advice about how to find a good preschool and general advice to expectant parents. At the core of why education is important is the goal of equipping every child with the knowledge and skills to pursue THEIR dream, whatever that dream is. Christine Armario and Dorie Turner reported in the AP article, AP News Break: Nearly 1 in 4 Fails Military Exam which appeared in the Seattle Times:

Nearly one-fourth of the students who try to join the U.S. Army fail its entrance exam, painting a grim picture of an education system that produces graduates who can’t answer basic math, science and reading questions, according to a new study released Tuesday. http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2013729556_apusmilitaryexam.html

Many children begin their first day of school behind their more advantaged peers. Early childhood learning is an important tool is bridging the education deficit. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/early-learning-standards-and-the-k-12-contiuum/

Rebecca Klein of Huffington posted in the article, This Is What Could Close The Achievement Gap Among Young Kids, Study Says:

Just a few years of high-quality early childhood education could close the academic achievement gap between low-income and affluent students, a new study suggests.
The study, conducted by two university professors, analyzed previous data from a now-defunct program that offered free preschool to students from different social backgrounds.
Using this data, the researchers found that after providing low-income children with quality preschool early in life, the kids had the same IQs as their wealthier peers by age 3. This stands in contrast to the IQ gap that typically exists between affluent and low-income students at that age.
The study also showed that quality early education has long-lasting effects on low-income students. For example, although students analyzed in the study were not offered preschool past the age of 3, by age 5 and 8, they still had IQs that were more similar to their wealthier peers than is typical.
At the same time, while the IQs of low-income students in the study appear to have been hugely impacted by preschool attendance, the IQs of more affluent students in the study remained standard for their social class.
Study co-author and University of Minnesota professor Aaron Sojourner told The Huffington Post that this is likely because affluent students not analyzed in the study were also attending high-quality preschool, unlike the peers of low-income students in the study.
“The big, main finding is that this program had very large persistent effects on kids from lower income families,” Sojourner explained over the phone. “The program ends at age 3. After age 3, all the families are sort of on their own, but even at age 8 there’s big effects on low-income kids.”
The study concludes that if all low-income children were offered free, high-quality preschool, it “could make a large, persistent positive impacts on low-income children’s cognitive skill and academic achievement and reduce, if not eliminate, the early skills gap between America’s children from low and higher-income families….” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/07/preschool-achievement-gap_n_4556916.html

Citation:

Can Intensive Early Childhood Intervention Programs Eliminate Income-Based Cognitive and Achievement Gaps?
Greg J. Duncan
Aaron J. Sojourner
Abstract
How much of the income-based gaps in cognitive ability and academic achievement could be closed by a two-year, center-based early childhood education intervention? Data from the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP), which randomly assigned treatment to low-birth-weight children from both higher- and low-income families between ages one and three, shows much larger impacts among low- than higher-income children. Projecting IHDP impacts to the U.S. population’s IQ and achievement trajectories suggests that such a program offered to low-income children would essentially eliminate the income-based gap at age three and between a third and three-quarters of the age five and age eight gaps.
Received December 2011.
Accepted September 2012.
J. Human Resources Fall 2013 vol. 48 no. 4 945-968

Lesli A. Maxwell reported in the Education Week article, Study Finds U.S. Trailing in Preschool Enrollment a new study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD):

According to the Paris-based OECD’s “Education at a Glance 2012,” a report released today, the United States ranks 28th out of 38 countries for the share of 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-primary education programs, at 69 percent. That’s compared with more than 95 percent enrollment rates in France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Mexico, which lead the world in early-childhood participation rates for 4-year-olds. Ireland, Poland, Finland, and Brazil are among the nations that trail the United States.
The United States also invests significantly less public money in early-childhood programs than its counterparts in the Group of Twenty, or G-20, economies, which include 19 countries and the European Union. On average, across the countries that are compared in the OECD report, 84 percent of early-childhood students were enrolled in public programs or in private settings that receive major government resources in 2010. In this country, just 55 percent of early-childhood students were enrolled in publicly supported programs in 2010, while 45 percent attended independent private programs….. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/09/11/04oecd.h32.html?tkn=YZXFRtH3UunPt9e%2B5ZodvlLULKTdt47aFyK8&cmp=clp-edweek
https://drwilda.com/2012/09/11/oecd-study-u-s-lags-behind-in-preschool-enrollment/

Citation:

Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators http://www.oecd.org/edu/eag2012.htm#press

Our goals should be: A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

Money spent on early childhood programs is akin to yeast for bread. The whole society will rise.

Related:

What is the Educare preschool model?
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/09/what-is-the-educare-preschool-model/

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART ©
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Policy brief: The fiscal and educational benefits of universal universal preschool

25 Nov

In Early learning standards and the K-12 continuum, moi said:

Preschool is a portal to the continuum of life long learning. A good preschool stimulates the learning process and prompts the child into asking questions about their world and environment. Baby Center offers advice about how to find a good preschool and general advice to expectant parents. At the core of why education is important is the goal of equipping every child with the knowledge and skills to pursue THEIR dream, whatever that dream is. Christine Armario and Dorie Turner are reporting in the AP article, AP News Break: Nearly 1 in 4 Fails Military Exam which appeared in the Seattle Times:

Nearly one-fourth of the students who try to join the U.S. Army fail its entrance exam, painting a grim picture of an education system that produces graduates who can’t answer basic math, science and reading questions, according to a new study released Tuesday.

Many children begin their first day of school behind their more advantaged peers. Early childhood learning is an important tool is bridging the education deficit. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/early-learning-standards-and-the-k-12-contiuum/

Huffington Post reports in the article, Preschool Education Deserves Expansion, Investment: National Education Policy Center Brief:

In a brief released Tueday, National Education Policy Center managing director Dr. William Mathis urges policymakers to invest in high-quality preschool education, citing its universally acknowledged economic and social benefits.

According to Mathis, in inflation-adjusted dollars, overall funding per child is lower than a decade ago, despite the fact that high-quality, intensive preschool education for at least two years has been found to close as much as half the achievement gap.

Involvement in preschool programs can also yield more positive adult outcomes, such as fewer arrests, less drug use, fewer grade retentions, higher college attendance rates, higher employment and earnings, greater social mobility and less welfare dependency.

Mathis goes on to explain the key elements of a quality preschool program, which include small class sizes and ratios — 20 or fewer children, with two adults. He also says programs should boast well-trained, adequately compensated teachers and include strong links to social and health services. The author highlights the importance of featuring a mix of child-initiated and teacher directed activities, with adequate time for individualized and small group interactions.

According to Mathis’ brief, economically deprived children benefit most from preschool, but all children experience some advantage from participation in such programs. Branching off that, children from middle-income families tend to struggle with access because they are not eligible for programs like Head Start, which enrolls fewer students than state or district programs. Results indicate Head Start is a cost-effective program with lesser but nonetheless positive results, suggesting it should be retained but also strengthened

Besides broad investment in preschool, Mathis recommends states develop and monitor early education standards in order to ensure quality programs. Furthermore, programs should be expanded to include three-year-olds, with an emphasis on needy children and promoting the well-being of the “whole child.”

The results of a Chicago-based study released last June bolstered the findings from similar, smaller studies showing that high-quality preschool “gives you your biggest bang for the buck,” according to Dr. Pamela High, chair of an American Academy of Pediatrics committee that deals with early childhood issues. The study tracked more than 1,000 low-income, mostly black Chicago children for up to 25 years, including nearly 900 who attended the city’s intensive Child-Parent Center Education Program in the early 1980s. Overall, those who attended the program fared much better in life than their peers who did not attend preschool, recording fewer arrest and securing better jobs. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/national-education-policy_n_2122594.html

Here is the press release from The National Education Policy Center:

Contact 

William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/a3kh6ps

BOULDER, CO (November 13, 2012) –Policymakers should heed the sound research evidence supporting the expansion of high-quality preschool opportunities, according to the third in a series of two- and three-page briefs summarizing key  findings in education policy research.
The brief is authored by Dr. William Mathis, managing director of the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Bo ulder School of Education.
There is near-universal agreement among researchers “that high-quality preschool programs more than pay for themselves in economic and social benefits,” Mathis writes. Indeed, high-quality preschool for at least two years has been found to close as much as half the achievement gap. Such preschool participation is also associated with a wide range of more positive adult outcomes, including less drug use, less welfare dependency, higher graduation rates, higher college attendance, and higher employment.
Despite these demonstrated outcomes and the increase in children attending pre-school, “in inflation adjusted dollars, overall funding per child served is lower than a decade ago,” Mathis writes. For preschool to reap its proven substantial benefits, lawmakers must assure that the programs are of high quality and are adequately supported.
The brief explains the key elements of a quality pre-school program. It also discusses research findings concerning basic issues such as the entrance age for preschool, comparisons of center-based and home-based programs, and whether preschool should be universal or targeted by socioeconomic group.
The three-page brief is part of
Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking, a multipart brief that takes up a number of important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research. Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations to policymakers are based on the latest scholarship.
The brief is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Find William Mathis’s brief on the NEPC website at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/options
The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information on the NEPC, please visit
http://nepc.colorado.edu/.
This brief is also found on the GLC website at
http://www.greatlakescenter.org/

Here is more information from Dr. Mathias:

William J. Mathis

November 13, 2012

Press Release →

Media Citations →

Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking is a 10-part brief that takes up important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research. Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations for policymakers are based on the latest scholarship. 

Introduction

Section 1:  Teacher Evaluation.  After reviewing different types of evaluative methods, Mathis points out the importance of using a combination of methods, of including all stakeholders in decision-making about evaluation systems, and of investing in the evaluation system.

Section 2:  Common Core State Standards.  Mathis explains how the actual effect of the widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards will depend less on the standards themselves than on how they are used.

Section 3:  Preschool Education.  Investment in high-quality preschool education is one of the most effective reform strategies. Bill Mathis details the key elements of such a program, and the supporting research.

Section 4:  Effective School Expenditures

Section 5:  Funding Formulas and Choice

Section 6:  English Language Learners Parent Involvement

Section 7:  Dropout Strategies

Section 8:  21st Century College and Career Ready

Section 9:  LGBT Safety Policies

Section 10:  Detracking

Moi wrote in OECD study: U.S. lags behind in preschool enrollment:

 

Lesli A. Maxwell reports in the Education Week article, Study Finds U.S. Trailing in Preschool Enrollment a new study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD):

According to the Paris-based OECD’s “Education at a Glance 2012,” a report released today, the United States ranks 28th out of 38 countries for the share of 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-primary education programs, at 69 percent. That’s compared with more than 95 percent enrollment rates in France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Mexico, which lead the world in early-childhood participation rates for 4-year-olds. Ireland, Poland, Finland, and Brazil are among the nations that trail the United States.

The United States also invests significantly less public money in early-childhood programs than its counterparts in the Group of Twenty, or G-20, economies, which include 19 countries and the European Union. On average, across the countries that are compared in the OECD report, 84 percent of early-childhood students were enrolled in public programs or in private settings that receive major government resources in 2010. In this country, just 55 percent of early-childhood students were enrolled in publicly supported programs in 2010, while 45 percent attended independent private programs….. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/09/11/04oecd.h32.html?tkn=YZXFRtH3UunPt9e%2B5ZodvlLULKTdt47aFyK8&cmp=clp-edweek

https://drwilda.com/2012/09/11/oecd-study-u-s-lags-behind-in-preschool-enrollment/

Citation:

Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators

Our goals should be: A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

Think small, Not small minded ©

Money spent on early childhood programs is akin to yeast for bread. The whole society will rise.

Related:

What is the Educare preschool model?                                https://drwilda.com/2012/11/09/what-is-the-educare-preschool-model/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART © http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

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Study:School reform, like politics is local

3 Oct

Moi wrote in The love affair with the Finnish education system:

In U.S. education failure: Running out of excuses, moi said:

Education tends to be populated by idealists and dreamers who are true believers and who think of what is possible. Otherwise, why would one look at children in second grade and think one of those children could win the Nobel Prize or be president? Maybe, that is why education as a discipline is so prone to fads and the constant quest for the “Holy Grail” or the next, next magic bullet. There is no one answer, there is what works for a particular population of kids. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/u-s-education-failure-running-out-of-excuses/

Many educators around the world have a love affair with the Finnish education system. The question is what if anything which is successful about the Finnish system can be transported to other cultures?

The Pearson Foundation lists some key facts about Finland in their video series,Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education

Key facts

Finland’s society is relatively homogeneous. Out of a population of 5.3 million, only 3.8% are foreign-born, against an OECD average of 12.9%. Finland spends 5.9% of its gross domestic product on education, slightly above the OECD average of 5.2%.

  • Finland recruits its teachers from the top 10% of graduates. From primary through upper secondary level, all teachers are required to have a Master’s degree.

  • Finnish teachers spend 592 hours per year teaching in class, less than the OECD average of 703 hours. This allows more time for supporting students with learning difficulties.

  • At least two out of five Finnish school students benefit from some type of special intervention during their secondary schooling.

Outcomes

Finland was the top performer in the PISA 2000 tests and it has consistently featured among the top performers since then. In 2009, the number of Finnish students reaching the top level of performance in science was three times the OECD average.

  • Upper secondary students are expected to design their own individual learning programs within a modular structure.

  • In 2008, Finland’s upper secondary graduation rate was 93%, against an OECD average of 80%.

  • In 2008, more than 40% of Finns between 20 and 29 were enrolled at university, well above the OECD average of 25%. http://www.pearsonfoundation.org/oecd/finland.html

Pasi Sahlberg urges a measured analysis in his Washington Post article.

Pasi Sahlberg, author of “ Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn About Educational Change in Finland? writes in the Washington Post article, What the U.S. can’t learn from Finland about ed reform:

What I have to say, however, is not always what they want to hear. While it is true that we can certainly learn from foreign systems and use them as backdrops for better understanding of our own, we cannot simply replicate them. What, then, can’t the United States learn from Finland? https://drwilda.com/2012/04/17/the-love-affair-with-the-finnish-education-system/

There are probably some lessons which can be learned from the Finnish experience, but we shouldn’t be looking through rose colored glasses. Just a Tip O’Neil famously commented, “All politics is local.” All school reform is local as well. Dr. Tina Trujillo and Dr. Michelle Renee have written the study, Current School Turnaround Policies ‘More Likely to Cause Upheaval Than to Help.’ 

The National Education Policy Center has released the Trujillo and Renee study about school reform:

Study: Current School Turnaround Policies ‘More Likely to Cause Upheaval Than to Help’ 

Collaboration, investment can improve public schooling in disadvantaged communities 

Contact

Jamie Horwitz
jhdcpr@starpower.net
202-549-4921

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/95t48jr

BOULDER, CO (October 1, 2012) — A new report, “Democratic School Turnarounds: Pursuing Equity and Learning from Evidence,” by Tina Trujillo at the University of California, Berkeley and Michelle Renée of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, suggests that government agencies and policy-makers, including the U.S. Department of Education, would be wise to look at educational research as they guide school turnarounds. Evidence shows that top-down, punitive efforts that are currently in vogue are ineffective and counterproductive. A collaborative, community-driven approach combined with significant, sustained financial investment and a focus on teaching and learning has been proven to be the better path to school improvement.

“We appreciate the Obama Administration’s efforts to try to improve troubled public schools,” Trujillo stated. “But good intentions are not enough. We need to move past old reform strategies that research shows destabilize public schools and instead increase our investment in these schools and in the people.”

In 2009, the administration announced its intention to turn around 5,000 of the nation’s lowest-performing schools over five years. It created the federal School Improvement Grant program (SIG) to temporarily channel increased federal dollars into states and struggling schools.

In exchange for up to $2 million per year for up to three years, the federal program mandates that SIG-funded schools implement one of four reforms: turnaround, transformation, restart or closure. The report explains how these four approaches are really “old wine in new bottles” because they promote change strategies that research shows do not work and that actually recreate the conditions that cause school failure.

The report explains that the four SIG approaches are largely grounded in the firing and replacement of school staff – a process also known as churn.  Because the nation’s lowest-performing schools are also the hardest to staff, these approaches have an inherent logistical problem: finding the better-qualified personnel to refill vacant slots in turnaround schools. In New York, for example, under the new turnaround policy some districts found themselves swapping principals from one low-performing school to another. In Louisville, over 40 percent of the teachers hired to work in turnaround schools were completely new to teaching. And in another region, hiring difficulties forced many schools to begin the school year with high numbers of substitutes.

“Low-performing schools are placed in a terrible situation,” Renée explains. “In order to get the needed federal resources in the middle of this fiscal crisis, they must implement strategies that are more likely to cause upheaval than to help. When a school is in crisis, it is damaging to remove the people who are committed to helping children learn.”

Renée further explains that because of this and other problems, “the current approaches to school turnaround are almost always ineffective, weakening school systems, causing staff upheaval, crushing morale, and leaving the schools with poor student performance.”

The new report also points out what is missing. While many experts consider community engagement critical for turnarounds to succeed, federal and state policymakers have rarely involved the public in the turnaround decision-making process.

“It is extremely important to engage those most impacted by turnaround: families, community members and teachers in targeted schools, usually in racially and socio-economically segregated areas,” said Renée.  “These groups are our biggest assets in improving education.  They can help plan and implement turnaround strategies that are tailored to each school and community and they have roots in the community to ensure a reform lasts overtime.”

Recent research links community organizing with more effective teacher recruitment and retention, improved curricula, increased equity in school funding systems, and higher student performance.

“Though these kinds of initiatives are relatively new, they offer examples of the ways in which communities might play leading roles in designing, planning and implementing more equitable, democratic turnarounds under the current federal policy structure,” Trujillo explained.

Trujillo and Renée conclude with a series of recommendations for federal and state policymakers. First among the recommendations is increasing current federal and state spending for public education, particularly as it is allocated for turnaround-style reforms. “Real change requires real investment in teaching and learning,” Trujillo states. “Though closing a school and firing teachers make great headlines, the real work of educating our students is about providing all young people with engaging and supported learning environments, high-quality teachers and rich opportunities to learn and succeed.”

A companion document, released along with the policy brief, takes the brief’s recommendations and offers legislative language that would translate those recommendations into law. This legislative brief is written by Tara Kini, a senior staff attorney at Public Advocates, a California-based nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy.

The policy brief and the legislative brief were both produced by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado Boulder, with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice (greatlakescenter.org). In addition, the Ford Foundation provided funding for the policy brief.

Both the policy brief and the legislative brief can be found on the NECP website here:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/democratic-school-turnarounds

About the Authors
Tina Trujillo is an Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. She studies the politics of urban district reforms, the unintended consequences of policies and reforms for students of color and English Learners, and trends in urban educational leadership. She is a former urban public school teacher, school reform coach, and educational evaluator. She holds a Ph.D. in education from UCLA.

Michelle Renée of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University studies community organizing and works to make research relevant and available to community organizers, to support the development and implementation of equitable education policies. She is a core staff member of the new Center for Education Organizing, and is co-leader of a Ford Foundation project designed to document the implementation and results of the Foundation’s More and Better Learning Time (MBLT) initiative. She is a former legislative assistant in the United States Congress, and she holds a Ph.D. in education from UCLA.

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University is a national policy research and reform-support organization that works with urban districts and communities to improve the conditions and outcomes of schools, especially in urban communities and in those attended by traditionally underserved children. Its work focuses on three crucial issues in education reform today: school transformation, college and career readiness, and expanded learning time.

The National Education Policy Center produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information on NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/. For more information of the Ford Foundation-funded project, called the Initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Learning (IDEAL), please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/ideal.

The point is, there is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is what works to produce academic achievement in a given population of children.There must be a way to introduce variation into the education system. The testing straightjacket is strangling innovation and corrupting the system. Yes, there should be a way to measure results and people must be held accountable, but relying solely on tests, especially when not taking into consideration where different populations of children are when they arrive at school is lunacy.

The words of truth are always paradoxical.

Lao Tzu

Related:

Center for American Progress report: Disparity in education spending for education of children of color https://drwilda.com/2012/08/22/center-for-american-progress-report-disparity-in-education-spending-for-education-of-children-of-color/

What exactly are the education practices of top-performing nations?                                                          https://drwilda.com/2012/05/28/what-exactly-are-the-education-practices-of-top-performing-nations/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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