Subscribe Here                                                                         November 7 , 2015
Early Education Research Roundup

Expulsion of preschoolers: "Let's take that option off the table"
Source: AP/Ted S. Warren
Preschoolers in public programs are expelled at more than three times the rate of K-12 students, according to research cited in a new report. 

Point of Entry: The Preschool-to-Prison Pipeline, from the Center for American Progress, pulls together data from several sources to call attention to the issue. Children who are expelled or suspended from preschool are more likely to have problems - including higher rates of incarceration - later in life. According to the study:
  • While African American children make up 18 percent of enrollment in public preschools, they account for 42 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 48 percent of those receiving multiple suspensions.
  • Young students who are suspended or expelled are, according to research cited in the paper, "several times more likely to experience disciplinary action later in their academic career; drop out or fail out of high school; report feeling disconnected from school; and be incarcerated later in life."
The study makes policy recommendations including prohibiting suspensions and expulsions in early childhood settings, and providing increased access to mental health services and counseling for young children.

Maryam Adamu, one of the authors of the study, said in a recent interview with EdSource, " Instead of pushing kids out of the school, connect them with help. Too often the only option is suspending kids. Let's take that option off the table."
Is the push for pre-K leaving out middle-class kids?

A new report
  Credit: Erin Brownfield, EdSource
by Halley Potter and Julie Kashen of The Century Foundation urges policymakers not to leave middle-class children out of the expansion in early childhood programs.

Together from the Start: Expanding Early Childhood Investments for Middle-Class and Low-Income Families, cites research showing that preschoolers from middle-income backgrounds receive significant benefits from high-quality preschool.

According to the authors, "when three- and four-year-olds are enrolled in high-quality pre-K... middle-class children experience educational and economic boosts almost as large as those seen for low-income children."

The authors see benefits from more integrated classrooms, as is common in countries with universal preschool programs such as Denmark:  "when middle-class and low-income children have the chance to attend preschool together, both groups benefit from the increased diversity in the classroom."

That economic diversity can be hard to find when poor children attend state-funded programs and better-off kids head to private programs that can cost as much as college tuition-- and may be unaffordable for middle-income families, the report says.

Talking points for your early ed elevator speech

"Ten reasons why early childhood education pays off," from Bloomberg News writer Peter Coy provides a succinct list of research-based claims for investment in early education, such as this one: 

#2. "When a young child enters kindergarten ready for school, there is an 82 percent chance that child will master basic skills by age 11, compared with a 45 percent chance for children who are not school ready."

The list is drawn from a report from the Bridgespan Group and the Pritzker Children's Initiative entitled, Achieving Kindergarten Readiness for All Our Children: A Funder's Guide to Early Childhood Development from Birth to Five.

The report focuses on the needs of the youngest low-income children: what developmental outcomes matter most, and the extent to which early education programs and systems are supporting them. Though intended as a guide for philanthropic investment, the report may be useful to a wider audience seeking to understand the case for increased investment in early education-- a subject of renewed debate in recent months.
EdSource Today 
   Credit: Sarah Tully, EdSource

A major challenge facing California education is how to make sure that preschool children with limited English-speaking abilities enroll in kindergarten ready to learn.

It is a goal that experts say preschool programs across the state have only partially been able to fulfill.

Credit: Fermin Leal, EdSource
Over the past three years, California has more than quadrupled the number of early childhood centers being evaluated with a new rating system, but that is still just a fraction of the state's publicly subsidized programs.

Free pre-K should be for all - not just a quarter - of our kids

In a commentary, Seth Rosenblatt, a member of the governing board of the San Carlos School District, argues that instead of Transitional Kindergarten programs that benefit a relatively small number of students, "the state should do what it should have done in the first place, which is make the program universal for all students."

Early Education News Briefs

Utah has been funding public preschool using a mostly untested way of paying for programs known as a social impact bond: Private entities put up the money for a public program upfront, and the government only pays if the program gets the results it wants.

In the case described in an article on, the upfront investment came from Goldman Sachs and the results were a pre-K program that successfully reduced the number of students who went on to need special education.

Here's a surprise: according to a new poll highlighted in The Atlantic, Americans think the federal government has its "education priorities reversed," and should be supporting improvements in quality and affordability of early education rather than funneling more money to colleges.

The survey of 800 registered voters, commissioned by the First Five Years Fund, reveals that 94 percent of Democrats said yes to federal support for improving early education--and so did 59 percent of Republicans.

Read more here. 

The U.S. Department of Education released reports on the progress of 20 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge states, including CA, in improving the quality of early learning programs and enrolling more children, especially from low- and moderate income families.

According to the Department, the funding has improved quality, increased enrollment, and allowed thousands more children to receive health screenings to help detect medical or developmental issues.

Read the press release here.

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