Harvard Center Changes the Climate Across the Country
The Center on the Developing Child’s communication and translation efforts change the climate across the country for policy efforts. Their work has tremendous reach in a multiple media formats including short briefs, working papers, videos, interactive features and web links: The InBrief: The Science of Neglect video that was posted this year has been viewed more than 38,000 times; the corresponding Working Paper, The Science of Neglect: The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain (#12), has received more than 23,000 downloads since posting a little more than a year ago. Posted in February 2014, the new interactive feature, The Spectrum of Neglect: Four Types of Unresponsive Care, was viewed by approximately 5,100 people. More than 400 different web sites have referred traffic to the working paper and video. The Center is also starting to highlight innovation through profiles of local interventions. The Center’s communications pieces are being actively used in the field: the working paper on neglect has been incorporated within an online training program for the North Carolina Division of Social Services; the Core Concept videos and other slides are part of a widely used professional development curriculum developed by Casey Family Programs for use with child welfare workers; and the Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes: A Theory of Change video has been used in a webinar with Head Start leaders nationally, at a Maine symposium on Children’s Mental Health and Well- Being, at a Wyoming early childhood symposium, and at a policy leadership institute in Connecticut. Visit the Center's website
State Advocates for Early Learning Builds Support at the Federal Level
The Alliance also invested in Rhode Island Kids Count (RIKC) to manage the State-Based Advocates for Early Learning group which grew to 30 states over the grant period. The group was facilitated by RIKC and ACNJ to enable state-based advocates to play a major role in building a groundswell of support for the newly proposed federal investment in early learning. Rhode Island Kids Count and Advocates for Children of New Jersey co-convened the full 30 state group, hosting both regular conference calls and a meeting of the state advocates while also participating in strategy and policy development with the national campaign leaders. It was this second part that was key, the opportunity for state leaders who have been leading pre-k campaigns in their states, to inform the agenda and policy content of the national campaigns. Five state leaders from RI, CA, NJ, OR, and PA lead a steering committee and participated in often round-the-clock conversations with national leaders as policy positions were being drafted. RIKC and ACNJ hosted Steering Committee Phone calls every other Monday, and Coordinating Team planning phone calls on the alternate Monday’s. The state advocacy leaders from RI, NJ, PA, and CA co-chaired or served on the FFYF Committees on Policy, Outreach, and Communications, so that their state-based experience would help to inform the development of the federal proposal and advocacy materials. Starting in January, 2014, the regular phone call meetings of the State-Based Advocates for Early Learning took place on a monthly basis, with more than 30 states to directly inform the national campaign to promote the Strong Start for America’s Children Act. RIKC also hosted a second in-person meeting in July, 2014 which brought together advocates from 28 states for two days of strategy sessions followed by Hill visits. October 2014
NAEYC's Valuable Technical Assistance
NAEYC delivered on workforce and professional development issues to sixteen states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Idaho, Mississippi, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Louisiana, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) and five national organizations (BUILD, Child Care Aware of America, CSCCE, the Ounce, NGA.) Topics ranged from building a system of professional development, core competencies, coaching and many more.
What Infants and Toddlers Need
California Infant and Toddler Proposal: The most significant proposal in 2014 for infants and toddlers was the Strong Start for Children proposal, SB 1123 in California. The bill raised the educational requirements for child care and included comprehensive services including part and full-day care, services to support the parent-child relationship, nutrition, referrals to services such as early childhood mental health and home visiting for children ages 0-3. It also called for the development of new standards that start with Early Head Start, to promote language rich environments, including supporting a child's home language and English acquisition and to promote responsive caregiving by parents, guardians, and care providers. It also addresses teacher education requirements including those specifically for infants and toddlers, ratios, continuity of care, and coordination across child care, pre-k and home visiting. The bill analysis commented on the importance of brain development as a key factor in the bill focusing on the 0-3 age range. Would have been funded by $350 million. View the bill.
NGA Policy Academy on Educator Effectiveness and Assessment
The National Governors Association engaged governors offices through its Policy Academy. Four of the selected states, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, focused on strategies to strengthen the effectiveness of early childhood and early elementary educators. The other two states, Hawaii and Massachusetts, focused improving assessment practices across the B-3rd grade continuum. In the process of working on these goals, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are also aligning their early learning and K-12 standards by including social-emotional learning in the early elementary grades. Participants attended a cross state meeting and are six states are hosting a governor’s symposium to raise awareness and momentum for their B-3rd grade state policy agenda. View the Policy Academy information.
Nebraska Gains Again
First 5 Nebraska reported significant gains for early childhood this year. These included a new $3.2 million to the Department of Education for the early childhood grant program. Additional funding for technical assistance to programs was saved from a gubernatorial veto by a legislative override. A new $400,000 in funding will support the Nurturing Healthy Behaviors program to help parents and young children in social and emotional development. Several bills addressed protecting lottery funding to early childhood programs past 2016. In addition, a licensing loophole bill passed as did a bill requiring a strategic planning process for education, giving early childhood leaders the chance to make their case as part of the education continuum. See their website.
Early Learning Fellows Next Class
In 2014 the National Conference of State Legislatures wrapped up its second class of Early Learning Fellows and launched its third year. 117 legislators were nominated from 45 chambers in 34 states, and six legislative staff from four states. Learn more about the Fellows.
Pennsylvania Rolls On&nbs
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children reported a $10 million increase for pre-k and $15 million in TANF funds to child care to reduce the child care waiting list. Proposals for additional pre-k and state Head Start funding, child care reimbursement rates, tiered reimbursement and tuition for the early childhood workforce did not pass. Lawmakers are also working on a poverty initiative that includes early learning.
The Center for Michigan’s Bridge Magazine reports on disparities in children repeating across the state. One district retained as many as 45 percent of their kindergarteners after the 2010-11 school year, adding to a total of more than 13,000 children. The cost to the state for each child retained is $7,000 per student or more than $90 million per year. Some of this practice is “planned retention” in which the district allows for a developmental kindergarten year followed by a second year. Another district relies on student supports and the state’s preschool program.
This article comes after Bridge Magazine received first-place for investigative reporting from the Education Writers Association for its series, “Michigan’s Forgotten Four-Year-Olds,” a special report series that documented the unmet need in Michigan’s public preschool program. The reporting helped spur Governor Rick Snyder to propose doubling the state’s preschool investment.
View the multi-part series.
Twenty-eight state teams participated in the meeting "Aligning and Implementing Birth-3rd Grade Learning Standards: A Strong Foundation for College and Career-Training Readiness", sponsored by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The two organizations partnered to bridge early childhood and K-3 policies and featured author Paul Tough, author of "How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character".
View the meeting materials.
A leader in communicating the importance of early learning, the Maine Children’s Alliance carried out several successful communications strategies to engage the media, including arranging meetings with editorial boards. Click here to see the editorial announcing a new State Agency Interdepartmental Early Learning Team created through the ME Department of Education and the Maine Department of Human Services (and featuring a photo of partner, Fight Crime Invest in Kids!)
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices hosted an expert roundtable on early literacy featuring research experts and state leaders to talk through issues including early language and literacy development from birth to 3rd grade, the role of early care and education, Classroom/School/District policies and practices, teacher preparation and professional development, and the role of out-of-school factors. The meeting focused on research that could be actionable to improve 3rd grade reading proficiency and the key levers for governors, legislators and state leaders. For more information, click here.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick proposed a FY14 budget that includes $131 million in new investments in high-quality early education. The goal of the proposal is to close the achievement gap, improve 3rd grade reading proficiency, and enhance school readiness. The plan recognizes that the full scope beginning at birth through 3rd grade is essential. Partner Strategies for Children launched a 10-year campaign in 2010 with the release of the report Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success which calls for specific strategies and funding to support language development and literacy from birth through 3rd grade. To view the report, click here. For more information about the governor’s proposal, click here.
Five States Selected by ZERO TO THREE to Lead Infant and Toddler Initiatives
ZERO TO THREE is funded by the Alliance to host a meeting and provide added technical assistance support to five states that are seeking to advance an agenda for infants and toddlers. Partnering with both the Ounce of Prevention Fund and BUILD, the partners invited selected states to apply and chose teams from Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to participate. Contact ZERO TO THREE for more information.
In November, Governor John Kitzhaber proposed his 2013-15 budget that continued the focus on early education in the broader plan for education reform. His proposal includes $9 million to increase early reading awareness among parents and caregivers and to expand funding to help struggling readers in grades K-3; and $20 million more for early-childhood programs for children with disabilities or developmental delays. The Children’s Institute has been working closely with the governor’s team and leaders in the legislature to advance key strategies and new investments in early childhood. For more information, click here.
In September, HB 4243 became law. The bill, championed by Strategies for Children, addressed several key recommendations in the 2010 report Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success. Key policy areas in the law include a comprehensive curricula focused on language and literacy development, effective instructional practices, professional development and training, assessment, and family partnership strategies, that will be further developed through the efforts an Early Literacy Expert Panel. For a summary of “An Act Relative to Third Grade Reading Proficiency,” please click here.