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Early Education

Subprime Learning

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • Laura Bornfreund,
  • Clare McCann,
  • Conor Williams,
  • New America Foundation
January 21, 2014
Five years ago, the United States was in the thick of the Great Recession, coping with a stock market crash and loss of jobs that would send aftershocks throughout early education. Yet early 2009 was also a time of great hope among advocates for young children. President Barack Obama, newly sworn in, had called attention to early education throughout his campaign, aiming for $10 billion in public investments for children from birth to age five, educational infrastructure grants for states, and improvements in teaching. Many states already had been making investments in public preschool.

A Closer Look at FirstSchool’s PreK-3rd Grade Approach

October 31, 2013
The September/October 2013 edition of Principal Magazine, a publication of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, spotlights early learning in the context of aligning pre-kindergarten with the early grades.

Roundtable on the Science of Digital Media and Early Learning

October 25, 2013
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With nearly 100,000 apps in the education category of the iTunes app store, and television still a huge part of children’s daily lives, the questions about how technology affects learning are more pertinent than ever.  At the New America Foundation last week, the Early Education Initiative sought answers to these questions at a first-of-its-kind roundtable discussion with dozens of media and early childhood researchers from across the country. 

The discussion, Digital Media and Early Learning: What We Know and What We Need to Learn, was organized in partnership with the Alliance for Early Learning in a Digital Age, a consortium of institutions that included the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, the Ounce of Prevention Fund, PBS, Sesame Workshop, and The TEC Center at Erikson Institute. The Grable Foundation of Pittsburgh funded the event.

Pre-K is Win-Win, Concludes a New Report

October 23, 2013

Early education is one of the most powerful ways to close the achievement gap between low-income and minority children and their more-advantaged peers. But all too often, pre-K advocates cite the same, decades-old research studies – the Abecedarian Project and the HighScope Perry Preschool Study, in particular – to prove the value of high-quality programs. A new report, Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education, published by the Society for Research in Child Development and the Foundation for Child Development earlier this month, offers an updated view of the research, and a path forward for scaled-up pre-K programs.

Researchers were on hand for an event at the New America Foundation last week to answer some questions (click here for the event video, or here to see a Storify summary of the Twitter conversation). Here are the report’s headline findings:

Can New Accreditation Standards Improve Teacher Preparation?

October 22, 2013

Teacher preparation programs have come under fire in recent years for poorly preparing new teachers to meet the needs of today’s students and the demands of education reforms. Most recently, the National Council on Teacher Quality released its survey of about 1,200 prep programs. (Spoiler alert: Only four programs made the top tier.)

Putting Technology Second

October 21, 2013

With all the creative projects that can derive from audio, video and interactive media, it can be easy to forget that hardware and software are just tools. Fortunately, the producers of a project called HearMe at Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE lab,  learned that lesson quickly. They realized that to take advantage of media tools, people had to come first.

Storify: Too Much Evidence to Ignore

October 16, 2013

This week, New America's Early Education Initiative hosted an event reviewing the research on pre-K, published in a new report, “Investing in Our Children: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education," from the Foundation for Child Development and the Society for Research in Child Development.

Shutdown Got Your Data? Check Out Our Federal Education Database

October 15, 2013
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The federal government has been officially shut down for over two weeks now, and the impact has been real: furloughed employees across the country, Head Start programs shut down (and some reopened), and confusion and delays in many federal programs. But for education experts and data geeks, another issue has been highly inconvenient, if less severe: the disabling of federal education data websites.

Fortunately, Early Ed Watch’s sister initiative, the Federal Education Budget Project, maintains one of the most comprehensive federal education databases in the country for every state, school district, and institution of higher education. The data are collected from state and federal sources and updated regularly. The PreK-12 data for more than 13,700 school districts and every state include:

  • Federal funding information, like per pupil expenditures, Title I and IDEA allocations, and school lunch awards;
  • Pre-K information for state-funded pre-K, Head Start, and special education preschool grants;
  • Demographic information on enrollment and racial, economic, and academic subgroups; and
  • Achievement data for math and reading in 4th grade, 8th grade, and high school, both for state standardized tests and the NAEP exam.

Check it out now, and until the shutdown is over! For some background on the data and on other education policy topics, check out our Background & Analysis pages.

Shutdown Got Your Data? Check Out Our Federal Education Database

October 15, 2013
Publication Image

The federal government has been officially shut down for over two weeks now, and the impact has been real: furloughed employees across the country, Head Start programs shut down (and some reopened), and confusion and delays in many federal programs. But for education experts and data geeks, another issue has been highly inconvenient, if less severe: the disabling of federal education data websites.

Fortunately, Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, the Federal Education Budget Project, maintains one of the most comprehensive federal education databases in the country for every state, school district, and institution of higher education. The data are collected from state and federal sources and updated regularly. The PreK-12 data for more than 13,700 school districts and every state include:

  • Federal funding information, like per pupil expenditures, Title I and IDEA allocations, and school lunch awards;
  • Pre-K information for state-funded pre-K, Head Start, and special education preschool grants;
  • Demographic information on enrollment and racial, economic, and academic subgroups; and
  • Achievement data for math and reading in 4th grade, 8th grade, and high school, both for state standardized tests and the NAEP exam.

The higher education data cover more than 7,500 institutions and all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, and include:

  • Tuition and fees, price, endowment, and net price for all and for low-income students;
  • Federal finance data on student loan recipients and disbursements for schools, as well as Pell Grant and other federal aid data;
  • Student demographics, including full-time, part-time, and graduate student enrollment, as well as racial subgroups;
  • Outcomes as defined by graduation rates, retention rates, student loan default rates, and repayment rates; and
  • The share of students receiving federal, state, and local financial aid, as well as the average award size.

Check it out now, and until the shutdown is over! For some background on the data and on other education policy topics, check out our Background & Analysis pages.

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