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A monthly dissemination of research and policy updates about developments in the Pre-K–3 field

April 2015artwork-4

New from ECS

ECS National Forum on Education Policy
This year’s Forum – a 50th anniversary celebration – will be held June 29 through July 1 in Denver. While sessions will focus on education at all levels, those interested in early childhood will care about the June 29 presentation on "PreK-Third Grade Reading Policies: Why quality matters." The following day NAEYC Executive Director Rhian Allvin will talk on "Early Learning Policies and the K-12 Divide;" also that day will be a session on "School Turnaround: Making efforts count early." On July 1, early childhood will be a topic in “Dual Language Immersion and the Achievement Gap.” Don’t miss out … register today!

What's Happening in the States

Average families save $10,000 a year in child care costs
New York City saw 22,000 students enroll on the first day of preschool registration this year, three times the number who signed up last year at this time. Every 4-year-old in the city can now be accommodated, saving their families an average of $10,000, said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Targeting young children’s least developed skills
Texas has launched a free online pre-K learning platform that will be available at no cost to the state’s public school districts, charters and Head Start programs. Developed by the University of Texas Health Sciences Center and the Texas Education Agency, the platform features child progress monitoring assessments that identify children at risk for school failure, supplementary lessons to target children’s least developed skill areas and professional development courses.

Transitional kindergarten
In 2010, California's SB 1381 established a new grade level for students who turned 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2, called transitional kindergarten (TK). The first year of a two-year kindergarten experience, TK offers children learning as well as social and emotional development experiences. There was an economic advantage as well: full-day programs provided more hours of schooling for children, helpful for working parents.

Good Reads

ESEA reauthorization
Education Secretary Arne Duncan used a visit to Patrick Henry Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., to promote inclusion of early childhood in the rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) so children start kindergarten ready to learn.

Senators introduce bills to increase child-care tax credit
Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced separate bills in March to increase the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Casey’s calls for a more generous credit for children under 5. Murray’s plan, introduced with other senators, would help families with children under 13.

Executive function study
While there is growing interest in the idea of school-based interventions to improve executive function and thus improve academic achievement, this analysis done by Robin Jacob of the University of Michigan and Julia Parkinson of the American Institutes for Research found they were associated, but that one doesn’t necessarily cause the other. Executive function is defined as tasks that involve concentration, planning, problem solving, coordination, making choices among alternatives, or overriding a strong internal or external pull.

Quality improvement initiatives
Responding to Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) isn’t easy because there’s little research on specific aspects of what works. This Child Trends report proposes an action blueprint using features in initiatives already linked to positive outcomes.

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