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Friday, 28 November 2014

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Benefits of Early Childhood Education

Return on Investment in Early Childhood Education

Today’s economy depends on human capital. When you invest in early education, you invest in the future workers for your community.

Each dollar invested in quality early childhood education results in a $7 return.
Early Childhood Education brief, National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, 2012

Because quality early education increases a child’s likelihood to do well in school, graduate high school, and attend college or job training, quality early education can increase a child’s potential earnings as an adult by up to 60 percent.  
– Summary by the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission

A key factor in economic growth is the quality of the workforce. Children who attend quality pre-kindergarten are more likely to be employed and have higher earnings, thus positively contributing to the tax base. Annual rates of return on preschool investments are estimated at 10 percent or higher each year over the students’ lifetimes, exceeding the 6 percent to 7 percent average rate of return typically expected of government programs and the stock market.
The Economic Promise of Investing in High Quality Preschool, Committee for Economic Development, Pew Charitable Trusts, 2006

In the short-term, access to free or low-cost reliable childcare increases the employment rates of parents up to 20 percent.
– Summary by the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission

Benefits of early childhood education

67 percent of all children and 85 percent of children from low-income families who attend high-poverty schools are not prepared to meet “proficiency” standards on NAEP fourth grade reading tests. 
Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, A 2010 Kids Count Special Report, Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010 

If children are not proficient readers by third grade, they struggle to catch up for years to come – and often never do. One in six children who are not proficient third grade readers will not graduate from high school on time – a rate four times higher than that of proficient readers.
Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, A 2010 Kids Count Special Report, Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010

Quality early education has an immediate impact on both the hard skills – language, numeracy, higher cognitive thinking – and the soft skills – social skills – that last a lifetime.
– Summary by the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission

Children who receive high-quality early education:

  • Earn higher cognitive test scores from the toddler years to age 21.
  • Complete more years of education and were more likely to attend a four-year college.
  • Had higher academic achievement in both reading and math from the primary grades through young adulthood.
    – Summary by the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission

Children who attend high-quality pre-k programs do better in school from the first day of kindergarten through their post-secondary years. Compared with peers who have not had pre-k, they have higher achievement test scores; they repeat grades far less often; they need less special education; they graduate from high school at substantially higher rates; and they are more likely to attend college.
Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, A 2010 Kids Count Special Report, Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010)

Low-income and English language learners demonstrate the highest gains and greatest reductions in achievement gaps, which yield some of the most substantial improvements in school performance.
Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, A 2010 Kids Count Special Report, Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010

A RAND Study, “Proven Benefits of Early Childhood Intervention’s” by P. Safety states:

  • Some of the largest estimates of net benefits were found for programs with the longest follow-up, because those studies measured the impact for outcomes that most readily translate into dollar benefits (e.g., employment benefits, crime reduction).
  • Large economic returns were found for programs that required a large investment (over $40,000 per child), but returns were also positive for programs that cost considerably less (under $2,000 per child).
  • Programs with per-child costs in between these two figures also generated positive net benefits.
  • The economic returns were favorable for programs that focused on home visiting or parent education as well as for programs that combined those services with early childhood education.
  • Three features appear to be associated with more effective interventions:
    • Programs with better-trained caregivers appear to be more effective. In the context of center-based programs, this may take the form of a lead teacher with a college degree as opposed to no degree. In the context of home visiting programs, researchers have found stronger impacts when services are provided by nurse home visitors as opposed to a paraprofessional or lay professional home visitor.
    • In the context of center-based programs, there is evidence to suggest that programs are more successful when they have smaller child-to-staff ratios.
    • There is some evidence that more intensive programs are associated with better outcomes, but not enough to indicate the optimal number of program hours or how they might vary with child risk characteristics.”
      Proven Benefits of Early Childhood Interventions, Research Brief, RAND Labor and Population, 2005

IDRA successfully implemented Reading Early for Academic Development (READ), a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education, from 2003 through 2006. We developed and tested the Early Childhood Centers of Excellence model designed to provide effective learning experiences to improve early language, literacy and pre-reading. The model included research-based classroom-based professional development initiative involving Head Start and public school teachers. The cohort of READ students achieved improved Peabody test scores from 79 to 93, surpassing the acceptable federal guideline score of 85.

Major benefits of Head Start

Head Start promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families. Comprehensive services to children and their families also include health, nutrition, social development and family leadership. 

Before other educators gave it much thought, Head Start was a leader and quite active in developing an academic setting emphasizing age appropriate curriculum, materials and development.

More than one million children are served by Head Start programs every year.

Several decades of research show that parent involvement in Head Start is associated with children’s increased cognitive and social-emotional school readiness and with positive parenting.

Head Start has developed strategies and materials to facilitate the transition from their program to the public schools. They did this by engaging the public schools in their training, feedback sessions and proposal development.

Head Start families were integrated into the management and leadership of their programs from the very start. Head Start parents are actively recruited to become actively engaged in their child’s education. Head Start has led the way in the involvement of fathers in the education of their children.

Once their children were through with the program, Head Start parents were actively recruited to be staff at centers and to be part of the policy councils representing the community.

  • By 1977, under the Carter Administration, Head Start began bilingual instruction in 21 states with large ELL populations.
  • In 1995, under the Clinton Administration, the first Early Head Start (infants) grants were given.
  • In 1998, Head Start was authorized to expand to full-day and full-year services; this expansion in particular helped low-income families continue to work and/or to get their education without interruption.

High quality staff preparation became a staple in Head Start by the mid-1980s and 90s, many Head Start teachers became certified and either began, continued or completed their college education.

A letter signed by 300 researchers on the value of Head Start programs (dated March 11, 2011) and submitted to Congress states:

  • Simply put: Head Start works. It’s been proven.
  • Studies of Head Start programs found that Head Start increases educational achievement: raising test scores, decreasing the need for children to receive special education services and making it less likely that children will repeat a grade (Barnett, (2002).  Head Start graduates are also more likely to graduate from high school and attend college (Ludwig & Miller, 2007).
  • Head Start’s impact on child health is impressive. Likely because of its required medical screenings, vaccinations, and emphasis on nutrition, Head Start reduces by as much as 50 percent the mortality rates for 5- to 9-year-olds (Ludwig & Miller, 2007). A Head Start child is 19 to 25 percent less likely to smoke as an adult (Anderson, et al., 2009). And Head Start parents receiving health literacy decreased annual Medicaid costs by $232 per family (Herman, 2005).
  • Head Start graduates are 12 percent less likely to be booked or charged with a crime (Garces, et al., 2002). This reduction translates into savings for crime victims, local, state, and federal governments, and the American taxpayer.
  • The National Impact Study of Head Start found that children attending Head Start made significant cognitive and socio-emotional gains compared with the control group children during the Head Start year and were in better health compared to the control group children (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010).
  • And it’s not just the at-risk kids who benefit. Head Start and Early Head Start also provide improved parenting skills and practices (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). Head Start’s emphasis on parental involvement contributes to the upward mobility of Head Start parents by helping to move them out of poverty (Oyemade, et al., 1989), and that Early Head Start parents are much more likely to participate in job training programs and more likely to have a job (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2004. At a time when unemployment rate is hovering close to 10 percent, Head Start and Early Head Start are critical gateways to employment.
  • Multiple studies demonstrate that Head Start is an astoundingly smart investment.  For every $1 invested in Head Start, we get a Return On Investment (ROI) ranging from $7 to $9 (Ludwig & Phillips, 2007). As James Heckman, a Nobel Laureate in Economics at the University of Chicago, recommended to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Reform: "Early Head Start and Head Start are programs on which to build and improve-not to cut" (Ludwig & Phillips, 2007). That’s why we ask that Congress to provide $8.2 billion in Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012 to ensure that Head Start and Early Head Start can maintain their current enrollment levels.
    Letter signed by 300 researchers on the value of Head Start programs (dated March 11, 2011) and submitted to Congress

Benefits of a holistic and developmental approach to early childhood education

Holistic child development programs address factors critical to learning that contribute to but are not measured strictly by academic achievement, including the health and emotional well-being of the child.  

Young children don’t compartmentalize their learning. They learn from the whole range of what they experience throughout each day.

Research shows that children who experience reading and writing become literate. Children need to realize that words reflect the real world and serve a practical purpose. Successful early childhood programs provide meaningful reading and writing activities that appeal to the interests of the students. Children can practice reading and writing on their own terms at first and then are guided through developmentally appropriate tasks to identify the conventions of written language.
Parents As First Teachers: Creating An Enriched Home Learning Environment, A. Villarreal, April 1995

Children of all races and family income levels have an inborn capacity to learn. They start learning from the time that they are in the mother’s womb. The fact that children ask many questions or are eager to touch all that they see is an expression of their readiness to receive input from the environment. This innate willingness to learn could be nourished or weakened by childhood experiences from the environment.
Snapping Synapses in the Early Years, B. Scott, April 1998     

Successful early childhood programs take what we know from brain research and what experts understand about young children and how they learn.

  • Children are always ready to learn.
  • Children have a curiosity for learning.
  • Children learn from their environment.
  • Children thrive in an environment of love and respect.
  • Children have a potential for acquiring language.
  • Children can communicate ideas in many different ways.
  • Children can acquire a love and desire for reading.
  • Children learn in different ways.
  • Children are co-creators in their learning with the right supports
  • Children learn through the prism of their life experiences
  • Children rebel or retreat in hostile learning environments
    Snapping Synapses in the Early Years, B. Scott, April 1998

Effect of early childhood education on minority populations

NAEP show that only 42 percent of White students read at the proficient level in fourth grade, and this falls to 16 percent for Black students and 17 percent for Hispanic students.
Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation, Hernandez, D.J., April 2011 

About a quarter of Black students and Hispanic students (in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth) who are not reading proficiently in third grade don’t graduate from high school, compared to 13 percent of other students.
Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation, Hernandez, D.J., April 2011

Black and Hispanic students who haven’t mastered reading in third grade are 11 to 12 percentage points less likely to graduate from high school than White students with similar reading skills.9
Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation, Hernandez, D.J., April 2011

Early Childhood Education Investment and Support by the State of Texas

After more than 20 years of increased support for early childhood programs in Texas particularly serving low-SES children, in 2011 the state reduced funding for:  

  • The Texas Early Childhood Readiness Programs by 53 percent (from $15 million to $7 Million)
  • The Texas Early Childhood intervention Program by 100 percent (from $2.9 million to $0)
  • AVANCE Family Support Programs by 100 percent (from $1.7 million to $0)
  • Pre-K Early Start Program by 100 percent (from $208.6 million to $0)
  • Teen Parenting Education Program by 100 percent (from $20 million to $0)8
    – Comparison of 12/13 Biennium and 10/11 Biennium Agency Budgets by Major Components, Texas Education Agency, 2012

Before these cuts, Texas ranked 22nd out of 39 in state spending (Barnett, et al., 2011).  

Before the cuts, the state ranked 8th in access for 4-year-olds and 12th in access for 3-year-olds. The state was serving 51.7 percent of 4-year-olds and 6.1 percent of 3-year-olds (Barnett, et al., 2011).  

In Texas during the last fiscal year (2011), Texas had 85 Head Start programs serving more than 65,000 children; Texas had 52 Early Head Start programs serving more than 7,547 people; and Texas had one Migrant and Seasonal Head Start program serving 7,700 students.

Early Childhood Education Investment and Support of Head Start Nationally

In 2010, Early Head Start had is largest increase in enrollment since the program began: In 2010, funded enrollment in Head Start was 104,533, an increase of 43,385 from 2009. Early Head Start served 120,433 children under age 3 and 13,538 pregnant women in the 2009-10 year.
Supporting our Youngest Children: Early Head Start Programs in 2010, CLASP, March 2012  

Thirty eight states in 2010 had state-funded prekindergarten programs but served only 25.4 percent of 4-year-olds and 3.7 percent of 3-year-olds.
State of America’s Children, Children’s Defense Fund, 2010

In 36 states and D.C., center-based child care for a 4-year-old costs more than annual in-state tuition at a public four-year college. 
State of America’s Children, Children’s Defense Fund, 2010

State funding for pre-kindergarten more than doubled nationwide from $2.4 billion in 2002 to $5.4 billion from in 2010.
Proof Into Policy: Pre-k Milestones: Infographic, Pew Center on the States, March 16, 2012

But, state funding for pre-K decreased by almost $60 million in 2010-11 when adjusted for inflation, despite the use of $127 million in funds from ARRA. This is the second year of decline in total state spending for pre-K programs.
– Comparison of 12/13 Biennium and 10/11 Biennium Agency Budgets by Major Components, Texas Education Agency, 2012

The No Child Left Behind Act requires states to test reading skills annually for all students beginning in third grade and to report these results for children by poverty status and race-ethnicity, as well as for English language learners and for children with disabilities.
Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation, Hernandez, D.J., April 2011

“In March 2010, the Obama Administration released its blueprint for ESEA calling for “Putting Reading First” by significantly increasing the federal investment in scientifically-based early reading instruction. President Obama has also called for restoring the United States to its position as No. 1 in percentage of college graduates. (It is now tied for 9th). Accomplishing that goal will mean ensuring that millions more students graduate from high school.”
Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation, Hernandez, D.J., April 2011

References

Anderson, K.H., & J.E. Foster, D.E. Frisvold. “Investing in Health: The Long-Term Impact of Head Start On Smoking,” Economic Inquiry (2009) 48 (3), 587-602.

Annie E. Casey Foundation. Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, A 2010 Kids Count Special Report (Baltimore, Md.: Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010).

Barnett, W.S., & M.E. Carolan, J. Fitzgerald, J.H. Squires. 2011 State Preschool Yearbook (New Brunswick, N.J.: National Institute for Early Education Research, 2011). 

Barnett, W. “The Battle Over Head Start: What the Research Shows,” Presentation at a Science and Public Policy Briefing, sponsored by the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences; (September 13, 2002). 

Barnett, W., & J. Hustedt. “Head Start’s Lasting Benefits,” Infants & Young Children (2005). 18 (1): 16-24.

Bauer, H. “Would You Read Me a Story? In Search of Reading Strategies that Work for the Early Childhood Classroom,” IDRA Newsletter (April 1997). 

Children’s Defense Fund. State of America’s Children 2010 (May 28, 2010). 

Christenson, S. “Families and Schools: Rights, Responsibilities, Resources, and Relationships,” In R.C. Pianta & M.J. Cox (Eds.) The Transition to Kindergarten (Baltimore, Md.: Paul H. Brookes, 1999) pp. 143-177.

CLASP. Supporting our Youngest Children: Early Head Start Programs in 2010 (March 2012).

Garces, E., & D. Thomas, J. Currie J. “Longer-Term Effects of Head Start,” American Economic Review (2002, September) 92 (4): 999-1012.

Hernandez, D.J. Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation (April 2011). 

Hernández, Y. “Child’s Play,” IDRA Newsletter (April 1998)  .                         

Henrich, C., & D. Gadaire. Head Start and Parental Involvement, Infants and Young Children (2008) Vol. 21 (1), pp. 56-69.

Herman, A. “Making a Difference in Head Start Families’ Health Care,” Dialog Briefs (2005, Fall) 9(1): 4.

Letter signed by 300 researchers on the value of Head Start programs and submitted to Congress (March 11, 2011). 

Ludwig, J., & D. Miller. “Does Head Start Improve Children’s Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics (2007) 122 (1): 159-208.

Ludwig, J., & D. Phillips. The Benefits and Costs of Head Start. Social Policy Report. (2007). 21 (3: 4);

Mantzicopolous, P. “Flunking Kindergarten after Head Start: An Inquiry into the Contribution of Contextual and Individual Variables,” Journal of Educational Psychology (June 2003) v95 n2 p268-78.

McWayne, C., & J. Fantuzzo, H. Cohen, Y. Sekino. “A Multivariate Examination of Parent Involvement and the Social and Academic Competencies of Urban Kindergarten Children,” Psychology in the Schools (March 2004) v41 n3 p363-377.

Meier, J. Success of Head Start – School Readiness, interim report: Kindergarten Readiness Study: Head Start Success (San Bernardino County, Calif.: Preschool Service Department, June 20, 2003).  

National Dropout Prevention Center/Network. Early Childhood Education, web page (2012). 

Oyemade, U., & V. Washington, D. Gullo. “The Relationship between Head Start Parental Involvement and the Economic and Social Self-Sufficiency of Head Start Families,” Journal of Negro Education (1989) 58, 1, 13.

Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission. Quality Early Education is Essential, web page (nd). Pew Center on the States. Proof into Policy: Pre-K Milestones: Infographic (March 16, 2012).

Pew Center on the Sttes. Proof into Policy: Pre-K Milestones: Infographic (March 16, 2012).

RAND. Proven Benefits of Early Childhood Interventions, Research Brief (RAND Labor and Population, 2005). 

Reynolds, A.J., & M. Clements. “Parental Involvement and Children’s School Success,” In E.N. Patrikakou, & R.P. Weisberg, S. Redding, H.J. Walberg (Eds.) School-Family Partnerships for Children’s Success (New York: Teachers College Press, 2005). 

Scott, B. “Snapping Synapses in the Early Years,” IDRA Newsletter (April 1998).                         

Shiver, E. “Brain Development and Mastery of Language in the Early Childhood Years,” IDRA Newsletter (April 2001).                 

Stark, D.R. Engaged Families, Effective Pre-K: State Policies that Bolster Student Success (Washington, D.C.: Pre-K Now – Pew Center on the States, June 2010).

Texas Education Agency. Comparison of 12/13 Biennium and 10/11 Biennium Agency Budgets by Major Components (2012).

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Head Start Impact Study Final Report, Executive Summary (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, January 2010).

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. Making a Difference in the Lives of Infants and Toddlers and their Families: The Impacts of Early Head Start, Volume II: Final Technical Report Appendices (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2004).

Villarreal, A. “Parents As First Teachers: Creating An Enriched Home Learning Environment,” IDRA Newsletter (April 1995).                       

Weiss, H.B., & M. Caspe, M.E. Lopez. Family Involvement in Early Childhood Education (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Family Research Project, Spring 2006) No 1.

 
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