Professor James Heckman and colleagues have just released The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program, the results of a new analysis demonstrating that high-quality birth-to-five programs for disadvantaged children can deliver a 13% per year return on investment—a rate substantially higher than the 7-10% return previously established for preschool programs serving 3 and 4-year-olds.
Heckman’s team used data from FPG’s Abecedarian Project and FPG’s Carolina Approach to Responsive Education, and this new analysis includes the value of health outcomes, as well as the economic benefits of providing child care to mothers.
In a two-page research snapshot, Heckman and colleagues recommend “more and better” programs for young children in poverty.”Child poverty is growing in the United States,” they write. “Investing in comprehensive birth-to-five early childhood education is a powerful and cost-effective way to mitigate its negative consequences on child development and adult opportunity.”The authors also suggest that policymakers coordinate early childhood resources “into a scaffolding of developmental support for disadvantaged children” and that such support “provide access to all in need.”According to the researchers, “the gains are significant because quality programs pay for themselves many times over. The cost of inaction is a tragic loss of human and economic potential that we cannot afford.”
Source: FPG Child Development Institute
Available at: http://fpg.unc.edu/node/8730
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported low overall flu vaccination rates of 40% for this season, a similar number as last year’s coverage.
The current estimates are based on survey data from up to early November and show that 37% of children aged 6 months to 17 years and 41% of adults aged ≥18 years have received the flu vaccine. The Healthy People 2020 goal is to reach 70% coverage across all age groups.
“We are urging parents to make sure their children get a flu shot this season, as the nasal-spray vaccine is not recommended for the 2016–2017 flu season. An annual flu vaccine is very important protection for children,” said Joe Bresee, MD, chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch of CDC’s Influenza Division.
Source: CDC: MPR
Available at: http://www.empr.com/news/cdc-flu-vaccination-rates-remain-low/article/578669/
The risk of serious physical abuse is highest among infants under the age of 1, a new study shows.
Researchers looked at nearly 15,000 children younger than 16 who were treated for severe injuries at hospitals in England and Wales between 2004 and 2013. Of those injuries, 92 percent were accidental, 2.5 percent were the result of fights and 5 percent were caused by abuse.
Among children with abuse-related injuries, 98 percent were younger than 5, and 76 percent were less than a year old. Abuse-related injuries were more severe and more likely to involve the head/brain than accidental injuries.
Abused children were also three times more likely to die of their injuries than other children in the study, 7.6 percent vs. 2.6 percent.
Boys accounted for 59 percent of abuse victims and 89 percent of those treated for injuries caused by fights or accidents, according to the study published online Nov. 23 in the Emergency Medicine Journal.
While young children accounted for the vast majority of abuse victims in this study, it doesn’t meant that older children don’t suffer abuse, noted the researchers led by Dr. Ffion Davies, an emergency medicine consultant from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust in England.
“It may simply be that the more robust physique of an older child means that major trauma is more difficult to inflict,” the researchers suggested.
Source: HealthDay News
Available at: http://consumer.healthday.com/public-health-information-30/domestic-violence-news-207/infants-under-1-at-highest-risk-for-physical-abuse-study-705494.html
For nearly eight years, a Washington University School of Medicine physician has been trying to alert parents, consumers and regulators to the danger of infant suffocation and injury from crib bumpers.
That alarm first came after his 2007 study attributing 27 deaths to crib bumpers from 1985 through 2005.
Yet, despite repeated statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics advising against their use, the demand for crib bumpers remains high, as does the overall public perception they are safe.
Indeed, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association continues to maintain in its formal platform that the organization does “not know of any infant deaths directly attributed to crib bumpers.”
Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch
Avaiilable at: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/citing-multiple-deaths-study-calls-for-banning-crib-bumpers/article_786694df-d048-5fc3-9472-98f50261b1b0.html
The more time low-income children spend in daycare, the better they’re likely to be doing in school at age 12, a Canadian study suggests.
While previous research has linked high quality daycare centers to better academic performance, the current study focussed on whether daycare might help reduce or eliminate income-based disparities in achievement through adolescence.
Researchers found that children from low-income families who spent the most time in center-based care scored 37 percent better on reading and writing tests and 46 percent better on math exams at age 12 than similar kids who logged the fewest hours in daycare centers.
“Children from disadvantaged families who remain at home have double risks – they evolve in a home environment that is less stimulating than that of non-disadvantaged children and they are not exposed to the learning experience that most children receive by going to child care,” senior author Sylvana Cote, of the University of Montreal in Canada, said by email.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-kids-daycare-idUSKBN0TC1XN20151123
By Elise Gould
Child care workers play an important role in the U.S. economy by allowing parents of young children to pursue employment outside the home and providing children a stimulating and nurturing environment in which to learn and grow.
In recent decades families have increasingly had to rely on child care because spending more time at work has become an economic necessity for many. Over the last 35 years, most American workers have endured stagnant wages—a reality that has led many two-parent households to work significantly longer hours to cover their rising expenses (Mishel et al. 2012).
Despite the crucial nature of their work, child care workers’ job quality does not seem to be valued in today’s economy. They are among the country’s lowest-paid workers, and seldom receive job-based benefits such as health insurance and pensions. As with any other industry or occupation, paying decent wages and providing necessary benefits is essential to attract and retain the best workers.
Source: Economic Policy Institute
Available at: http://www.epi.org/publication/child-care-workers-arent-paid-enough-to-make-ends-meet/
Hearing well impacts every area of a child’s life—language and speech development, social skills, and future academic and personal success.
Yet little research has been conducted that focuses on infants and preschoolers with mild to severe hearing loss to determine what support or services will help them succeed.
A large-scale longitudinal study, the first-of-its-kind in the nation, followed children ranging in age from 6 months to 7 years old who experienced mild to severe hearing loss.
The Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss (OCHL) study, conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa, Boys Town National Research Hospital, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, examined the impact of early identification and intervention on children with hearing loss.
The study’s findings were published online Oct. 27 in a monographic supplement to the November/December issue of the journal Ear and Hearing, published by the American Auditory Society.
Source: Iowa Now
Available at: http://now.uiowa.edu/2015/10/helping-children-hear-better
After two rewarding years of teaching pre-K, I felt ready for the new challenge of teaching kindergarten. I knew there would be some substantial changes as I moved from the world of pre-K to the more traditional K-12 school model. After all, DC kindergartners are expected to master the more rigorous Common Core standards which include the requirement for students to “read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.” Nap time was gone and lesson planning would soon consume a large portion of my weekends.
These were all changes I had anticipated and even welcomed. The major change I did not anticipate was the dramatic shift away from play-based learning in favor of direct teacher instruction. The play kitchen was gone, along with the vast stretches of time dedicated to center-based learning in which students were able to choose their preferred activity. I spent a lot of my time as a kindergarten teacher trying to find the right balance between allowing opportunities for play and ensuring that all of my students experienced significant academic growth throughout the school year.
Available at: http://www.edcentral.org/kinderplay/
The proper role of testing in our nation’s schools has been a hot topic of conversation this week. It all started last Saturday when the Council of the Great City Schools released a study of 66 urban school districts that found students take about 112 mandatory standardized tests between pre-K and 12th grade. That averages out to about eight tests per year and consumes about 2.3 percent of students’ total class time. The study found a great deal of redundancy and overlap among the tests that students take each year. Perhaps most importantly, the study pointed out that there is no correlation between the amount of mandated testing time and student test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), commonly known as “The Nation’s Report Card.”
Prompted in part by the release of the Council’s study on Saturday, the Department of Education released a Testing Action Plan on the same day, while President Obama emphasized the need for smarter testing in schools. Most notably, the Testing Action Plan calls for a two percent cap to be placed on the amount of classroom instructional time that is dedicated to test-taking. However, this cap doesn’t address the large amounts of time schools spend on test preparation prior to students actually taking the tests. The plan advocates for fewer and smarter assessments by ensuring that any tests administered be high-quality, time-limited, and properly aligned to the content and skills students are currently learning. The Department wisely points out that a well-designed test is not used only to assess what students know at one point in time, but is part of a broader strategy to inform and guide additional teaching. The Department has promised to issue clear guidance by January 2016 on best practices for using testing as a learning tool.
Available at: http://www.edcentral.org/testing/
Nearly one year ago, New America launched its Dual Language Learners National Work Group to provide consistent analysis of policies affecting dual language learners (DLLs). In our inaugural blog post, we argued, “Too often, DLLs’ needs are considered solely as afterthoughts in…education policy discussions.” So, as part of our first year of work, we promised to “spotlight” places where educators are trying “innovative strategies to serve these students better.”
Over the last year, we visited 30 campuses across 11 districts in two states and the District of Columbia. During these visits, we talked to dozens of teachers, administrators, parents, and students.
Today, the DLL National Work Group is proud to publish three reports built from these conversations. The papers explore local efforts to improve how schools support DLLs in San Antonio (TX), Portland (OR), and Washington (DC). In each paper, we trace out the history, design, implementation, and effectiveness of various local reforms before offering concrete lessons for districts pursuing similar strategies.
Available at: http://www.edcentral.org/profilepost1/