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Tired of Federal Gridlock? Take a Look at Education Reform in the States

October 14, 2013

As the government shutdown continues (with no end yet visible), it’s easy—and wholly understandable—to get cynical. If we can’t manage basic stuff like funding the federal government, it’s hard to expect any sort of meaningful, exciting, education (or otherwise) policy reforms. In times like these, it’s good to keep an eye on the states.

So, if you’re looking for evidence for the potential of new education policy reforms, take a look at the National Governors Association’s recent report, “A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting All Students Reading By Third Grade.”

Research Suggests Redshirting May Be Harmful

September 26, 2013

More and more parents are electing to keep their children out of school until they’re 6 years old. The practice, known as “redshirting,” is the academic equivalent of the allegedly middle-school aged behemoth with a mustache who plays for a Little League team. More than being a reaction to a child’s specific developmental needs, many parents see it as a way to give their kids an edge in school. But it could be far from a harmless practice. It turns out redshirted kids don’t do as well as on-time kindergarten entrants later in life.

New Grants Focus on Inter-State Collaboration for Kindergarten Entry Assessments

September 24, 2013
Earlier this month, the US Department of Education awarded $15.1 million in Enhanced Assessment Grants (EAGs) to the three state education agencies that applied for funding to develop or enhance their Kindergarten Entry Assessments.
As senior policy analyst Laura Bornfreund wrote last year, two of the state education agencies awarded grants—Maryland and North Carolina—were also amongst the winners of the Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC). The third winner, Texas, did not participate in RTT-ELC; their EAG application came as a surprise to many. 

Early Educational Data Comments to U.S. Department of Ed

September 17, 2013

The Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) project is an initiative headed by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics to create comparable, consistent data definitions. It’s an entirely voluntary initiative, and its glossary includes preschool through workforce data elements. CEDS is in the process of refining its version 4 dictionary – open for comments through Friday, September 20.

Pre-K Debates: Access and Quality

August 26, 2013

In the early education policy world, the research consensus supporting public investment in high-quality pre-K programs is overwhelming. We know that money spent on these programs leads to big savings in the long run.

Will New Pre-K Accountability Metrics in D.C. Enhance—Or Undercut—Pre-K Quality?

August 23, 2013

Like many in D.C.’s family-heavy Ward 4, Sam Chaltain sends his children to charter schools. His older son attends Latin American Montessori Bilingual, and his younger son will follow in a few years. This is just one of the area’s charters; it also boasts E.L. Haynes, Capital City, and several others that rank among the District’s very best, according to D.C.’s Public Charter School Board’s accountability rating system.

Quality, Not Just Access, Important in the Kindergarten Debate

August 16, 2013

Barriers to full-day kindergarten exist throughout the country, and the recent cuts to full-day kindergarten in Pennsylvania are just the most recent reminder. But although access is a crucial component to ensuring that the positive effects of quality programs reach students, it matters only inasmuch as those programs are worth attending.

IES Report: Early Interventions and Early Childhood Education

August 7, 2013
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On July 23rd the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released a report on research pertaining to early childhood education. The report describes findings supported by IES early intervention and childhood education research grants, as well as how to use these to better support improvements in early childhood education in the United States. In particular, it spotlights instructional practices and curriculum that appear to enhance young children’s development and learning and approaches for improving teachers’ and other practitioners’ instruction.

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