Pianta to Policymakers: Build a System, Include K-5

Early childhood expert and UVA dean, Robert Pianta, in The Hill:

“There is precious little evidence that boosts from pre-k are then followed by boosts in kindergarten, first, and second grades – the kind of cumulative impact that produces lasting increases in academic achievement.

More to the point, focusing so intently on universal pre-K obscures the fact that most pre-K (and K-2) programs still require a lot of improvements when it comes to curriculum, assessment, and effective instruction. And perhaps more importantly, there is abundant evidence that the experiences provided to children across these years are poorly aligned, resulting in repetition of instruction that hold some of our children back.

So let’s stop thinking that pre-k, universal or targeted, is the silver bullet answer.  And for every argument about expanding or improving pre-k, let’s add a focus on strengthening and aligning curricula across the early grades, which spans from pre-K through third grade. Young students need a consistent trajectory of educational experiences that builds on the preceding years—and informs what follows.”

For the full article, see Running on a New Promise for Pre-K.

Survey Finds Majority of K-3 Teachers Feel Unity With Preschool Educators

Marva Hinton of Education Week writes:

“Sometimes there seems to be a disconnect between educators who work with children prior to elementary school and those who teach in the early grades, but new survey results find a strong connection between the two groups.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children, or NAEYC, recently released results from a survey of more than 530 current or recent K-3 teachers. The group also conducted online, in-depth qualitative interviews with 14 K-3 teachers.

On average, two-thirds of the teachers who were surveyed viewed themselves as “early-childhood educators.” The numbers were highest among kindergarten teachers with 93 percent agreeing with that statement, while it dropped to 52 percent among 3rd grade teachers …

The survey also found that 76 percent of K-3 teachers supported the creation of a unified and aligned system of early-childhood education from birth to age 8

Those surveyed indicated that a unified and aligned system has several potentially important outcomes such as more developmentally appropriate standards for students (92 percent) and higher wages for teachers (88 percent).”

Pre-K isn’t an inoculation: What comes next matters

Important new research out of the University of Virginia. Provides additional support for P-3 approaches. The New America Foundation has a nice summary blog post. A few excerpts:

“In a new study out of the University of Virginia, The role of elementary school quality in the persistence of preschool effects, the authors find that the quality of the elementary school students matriculate into matters for whether pre-K gains persist. Which makes sense, right? It is unrealistic to expect the benefits gained in any one year of schooling to be maintained in a low-quality setting. In fact, the authors suggest that to believe so would be ‘to believe in magic.'”

This study is a welcome reminder that as it states, ‘preschool programs do prepare children academically for kindergarten, validating contemporary policy initiatives that focus on investing early,’  but that ‘we must pay careful attention to what is realistic to expect from one year of preschool education and the conditions under which its benefits persist or diminish.'”

When we talked to Rolf Grafwallner, program director for Early Childhood Initiatives at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), he explained that ‘you have to look at this period [PreK-3rd] as a block. You can’t piecemeal it.'”

How a School-Based Early-Learning Program Boosted Later College Attendance (Ed Week)

“Preschool may be be good at offering short-term academic gains for kids, but a program that provided services starting at preschool through 3rd grade showed benefits for children that boosted their college attendance rates years later, according to a new study.

Researchers examined the life outcomes of nearly 1,000 children who attended the Chicago Child-Parent Centers as preschoolers in the early 1980s. On average, children who attended the program completed more years of education than a control group of children. And those effects were amplified the longer that they remained in the program.”

https://go.edc.org/29ke

“Want to Beat the Stock Market? Bet on Early-Childhood Education”

I’m posting this from Normal, IL. Over the next couple of days I’ll be visiting two of the CPC P-3 Centers that University of Minnesota professor Arthur Reynolds discusses below in an excerpt from a recent Education Week commentary. I look forward to sharing what I learn as part of an ongoing study of Place-Based Collaboration on Early Education funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

As Reynolds says,

“After five decades and more than 250,000 families served, the CPC program is arguably one of the nation’s most effective social programs. Now in its third generation as a P-3 school-reform model, the program and its unique success provide an approach and set of action steps to innovate in education to produce even better investment returns. Collaborative leadership, engaged learning, small classes, and comprehensive family and instructional supports are core elements.

In fact, CPC has one of the highest economic returns of any public or private financial investment. Cost-benefit analyses have shown that for every dollar invested, more than $10 is returned in cost savings in the areas of remedial education and criminal justice, coupled with an increase in economic well-being and tax revenues. That is an inflation-adjusted annual return of 18 percent over a child’s lifetime, a cumulative return of 900 percent. In the 2013 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama even cited the research into CPC’s return on investment as a major basis of his Preschool for All initiative.”

See the full article: https://go.edc.org/rndt

“The Preschool Fade-Out Effect Is Not Inevitable”

In Education Week by Stanford professor Deborah Stipek:

“Is fade-out inevitable? No. Studies have shown definitively that investment in preschool can yield sustained effects and significant social and economic returns. But fade-out is common and remains a persistent reminder that simply providing preschool to low-income children is not sufficient to achieve long-term benefits.

If we want to sustain the effects of preschool, we need to look at what happens after children enter school. Clearly, the quality of schooling they receive in the early elementary grades matters. Poor instruction can undo the effects of high-quality preschool experiences. But instruction has to be more than good to sustain preschool effects; it has to build strategically on the gains made in preschool.”

“The Preschool Fade-Out Effect Is Not Inevitable”

And see these two summaries by the New America Foundation:

What “Transforming the Workforce” Says About the Importance of Continuity

New Report from SRCD on What PreK-3rd Means for Instruction

New Case Studies: PreK-3rd Alignment

The U.S. Department of Education recently released a set of case studies of PreK-3rd Alignment and Differentiated Instruction. The case studies are of the Boston Public Schools, the Chicago Child-Parent Centers, Early Works, FirstSchool, and the SEAL program.

The alignment efforts in these programs all emphasize developmentally-appropriate instruction and focus on building students’ vocabulary, oral language skills, and social-emotional skills. All of the programs organize their teachers in professional learning communities and support them with coaches. In addition to the findings across the five programs, the case studies at the end provide helpful detail about each model.

The New America Foundation’s Aaron Lowenberg provides a nice overview here.