The website I chose was the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) which conducts and communicates research to support high-quality, effective early childhood education for all young children. The website has tabs for publications, research and news and events. The news and events link has breaking news on early childhood issues from different states this enables you to keep up with early childhood issues from the different states and the federal level. The publications link gives you access to journal articles, recommended books, policy reports, NIEER videos, NIEER online newsletters, annual state pre-k reports , preschool matters and many others. The research link covers the issues of access to quality pre-k programs, assessment of preschool children and programs, economics and finance, which researches the economic benefits of preschools as well as the costs, English language learners, where they gather information on culturally appropriate preschool diversity issues, and governance and accountability of the state and local systems.
I decided to focus on a report on the findings of a 10 year national preschool study that was undertaken by NIEER at Rutgers University and the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes(CEELO) from 2001-2002 to 2011-2012 which was released in August, 2013. It covered some of the issues that we are covering this week such as accessibility equity and excellence. The key findings from the survey were:
- Enrollment increased dramatically for 4 year olds over the decade, but funding did not keep pace. The recession led many states to limit funding, intensifying a long-term trend in the wrong direction.
- Access to quality preschool education heavily depends on where a child lives. Ten states do not fund pre-K. Among those that do fund pre-K, enrollment, standards and funding differ in the extreme. Without federal action these interstate inequalities are likely to persist.
- States have far less data available to inform policy regarding their preschool programs and the children they serve than they do for K-12 education. For example, many states cannot report enrollment for children by ethnic background, home language of family income (nieer.org, 2013).
Reading this report I was made aware of the importance of state funding for early childhood education. To improve access to quality early childhood programs, every state must strive to support early childhood education for all young children, “half of whom live below 200 percent of the federal poverty line” (nieer.org 2013).
National Institute for Early Education Research http://www.nieer.org