Paul Nyhan

Students in top early ed program more likely to graduate, less likely to land in jail

A new report shows that children who attended a high-quality early education program were more likely to graduate high school and less likely to land in jail 25 years later, and those who spent the longest time at the school had even better results.

In one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, researchers followed 1,400 students – 957 from the well-regarded Child-Parent Center Education Program and 529 from a control group. A quarter of a century after enrolling in the center, 28 percent fewer had been incarcerated and 22 percent fewer had been arrested for a felony, compared to the control group, the study found.

Researchers also reported:

  • 9 percent more completed high school. (more)

Are sleep problems among preschoolers a sign of future attention problems?

We have new research about why sleep matters. A new study suggests poor sleep during preschool years may signal hyperactivity and attention problems in kindergarten, ScienceDaily reports.

“Children who were reported to sleep less in preschool were rated by their parents as more hyperactive and less attentive compared to their peers at kindergarten,” said lead author Erika Gaylor, PhD, senior researcher for SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, Calif.




WA budget boosts early learning; money provided for full-day kindergarten and more

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a lean budget yesterday that closed a $5.1 billion deficit, but also contained investments in early learning that put the state in position to compete for tens of millions of dollars in new federal grants.

At a time when education programs are getting cut around the country, early learning fared well in the Washington budget. There is money to expand state-funded preschool by 165 spots, a fresh investment in the kindergarten assessment initiative, known as WaKIDS and more money for full-day kindergarten. It also contains new public funds to match private grants for home visiting programs.

The home visiting investment means the state can now compete for a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services worth between $9 million and $10 million. While Washington must compete for that money, its investment ensures it will receive a different home visiting grant worth $1.8 million.

The new preschool and kindergarten assessment money should help Washington compete in another high profile contest for federal funds, the Education Department’s new $500 million Race to the Top, which will support high-quality investments in early learning.


Formal child care can reduce behavior problems of children with depressed mothers

A new study shows another benefit of formal child care: It cut down on behavior problems among five-year-old children whose mothers were depressed.

In recent years, doctors, journalists and parents focused on post-partum depression – a mental illness that affects one in six women, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. This study, however, examined the impact of maternal depression once a baby turns a year old. When mothers have recurrent depression during their child’s toddler years those children were more likely to have behavior problems at age five, according to research cited today in Pediatrics, the AAP journal.


New analysis of preK-3rd’s promise and data challenges

The ideas of PreK-3rd are becoming bigger parts of early learning plans in Seattle and Washington state, and a new report released explores both the potential and challenges of this national movement to better integrate pre-kindergarten and K-3.

The Hechinger Report story covers the PreK-3rd movement’s goal “to revolutionize early education.” It also reports on promising work happening at The New School Foundation, which helped to build a PreK-3rd model at South Shore School in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle.

One of the challenges is that there isn’t enough evidence to support PreK-3rd strategies, author Sarah Garland writes.



Why changing the minimum age for kindergarten is wrong and unfair

When should kids start kindergarten? The debate over cutoff dates and redshirting has been one of the biggest in early education during recent weeks and one of the nation’s leading thinkers in education added his voice, telling policymakers these ideas ignore how kids learn.

Simply because two kids turn five in October doesn’t mean they are at the same stage of development, Erikson Institute president Samuel Meisels wrote in a letter to the Connecticut General Assembly, which is considering moving the kindergarten cutoff date from Jan. 1 to Oct. 1.


Rise in diagnosed developmental delays shows need for more support

Research released last week that showed 1 in 6 children are now diagnosed with developmental delays continues to raise questions about what this increase means for schools and families.

The spike in diagnoses will place more demands on schools, University of Washington’s chairman of special education Ilene Schwartz points out. Schools will be asked to do more with less, she adds, since education funding is being cut.

Professor Schwartz raises a series of other important questions about what the findings in last week’s Pediatrics article mean in the real world.



Moms breastfeed longer on extended maternity leave

A new study found new mothers who were able to take longer maternity leaves also breastfed their infants longer, evidence of the importance of extended family leave policies.

Women who did not return to work until 13 weeks or later were more likely to breastfeed beyond three months, according to an article that ran in Pediatrics.


Federal Government Launches Early Learning Race to the Top. WA Poised to Compete…

The federal government made a big move to help early education this week, announcing a $500 million Race to the Top competition for early learning programs, and Washington state appears ready to enter the contest.

The U.S. Education and Health and Human Services departments unveiled a plan to have states compete for grants by proposing comprehensive and integrated early learning plans with high quality standards. The agencies also want proposals to focus on getting more low-income children into good child care, preschool and pre-kindergarten classrooms.

Read the full story

Good news: Washington state reverses and decides to expand its preschool program

It’s been a rough year for early education programs around the country, but Washington state pulled a rabbit out of its budget hat this week when it expanded its preschool program.

Back in December, Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire actually proposed cutting 1,563 slots from the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) (see blog), as part of a broader set of proposed spending cuts to close a multi-billion dollar budget deficit. 

It turns out legislators found extra money in the federal Child Care Development Fund to add 165 new ECEAP slots when they reached a compromise on the state budget this week.