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									THE NATIONAL POLICY DIGEST
                                  FROM                                   NATIONAL POLICY TEAM

                                                                                                                                VOL. 1, ISSUE 16
                                                                                                                     SEPTEMBER 16-30, 2012
Bringing you the latest in state and federal early childhood development policy and research.
           Questions, Comments, Suggestions for Improvement? Contact Anna Torsney-Weir.



CONTENTS
Federal Updates.................................................................................................................................2
Policy Trends and Analysis .................................................................................................................3
New Research ....................................................................................................................................3
Upcoming Events ...............................................................................................................................4
News from the States .........................................................................................................................4
   Arizona ..........................................................................................................................................4
   Illinois ............................................................................................................................................4
   Louisiana .......................................................................................................................................4
   Maine ............................................................................................................................................5
   Michigan ........................................................................................................................................5
   Mississippi .....................................................................................................................................5
   New York .......................................................................................................................................5
   Oregon...........................................................................................................................................6




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                                 HIGHLIGHT: HOW CHILDREN SUCCEED
    Journalist Paul Tough’s new book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power
    of Character, claims many education reform efforts are bound to fail if they don’t address the
    non-cognitive qualities children need to succeed in school and beyond. The seeds for these
    qualities are planted in early childhood with a good bond between parent and child, which can
    protect a child from toxic stress. Education Week relates the book to other work being done by
    James Heckmann and WestEd. Read more here.



FEDERAL UPDATES
   The Senate voted 62-30 to approve a continuing resolution that will fund the government for the first
    six months of fiscal year 2013, from October 1, 2012 through March 27, 2013. The bill, already passed
    by the House of Representatives, maintains spending at fiscal year 2012 levels, plus a 0.612 percent
    increase across the board. Read more here.
   Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced to the National Journal that if President Obama wins a
    second term, he will stay in his job. Duncan is likely to spend much of his time in a second term
    focusing on ways to rein in spiraling college tuition costs - a significant barrier toward the president's
    goal of doubling college graduations by 2020. Read more here.

The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) announced a series of funding awards:
 More than $9.9M in Enhanced Assessment Grants (EAGs) to three state education agencies—Kansas,
    Maryland and Oregon—to improve their state academic assessments. The primary measure of
    school success under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is proficiency on state
    assessments. Read more here.
 $52M to 23 Comprehensive Centers across the country to increase the capacity of states to help
    districts and schools meet student achievement goals. Fifteen regional centers will provide training
    and technical assistance to state education agencies in implementing and administering programs
    under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Seven content centers will provide research-
    based information and tools. One center will be established in each of the following areas: standards
    and assessment implementation, great teachers and leaders, school turnaround, early learning,
    college and career readiness, innovations in learning, and building state capacity and productivity.
    The National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University was awarded funding to
    establish the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes. Read more here.
 $28M for 46 first-time grants that aim to improve literacy skills for students in high-need districts and
    schools. Funded for the first time under the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Program, grants
    are designed to increase student achievement by promoting early literacy for young children and by
    motivating older children to read. Read more here.
 $6.4M to SRI International to establish and operate the National IDEA Technical Assistance Center
    on Early Childhood Longitudinal Data Systems. The project will support states in building and using
    early childhood longitudinal data systems to more efficiently respond to Individuals with Disabilities
    Education Act (IDEA) data requirements. The project also will focus on improving outcomes for
    children with disabilities through data-based decision making. Read more here.
 More than $1.1M in grants to three projects that will support early intervention and preschool
    programs in the effective use of assistive technology with young children with disabilities.
For more Federal Updates, see the First Five Years Fund’s website here.

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POLICY TRENDS AND ANALYSIS
   ARRA Funding: A new U.S. Department of Education report examines distributions of ARRA funds
    per pupil at the state level, grouping them by various indicators of need such as student poverty,
    budget gaps, and percentages of students attending persistently low-achieving schools. The authors
    find that 25 percent of states that had the highest per pupil spending received an average of $435
    more per pupil than the 25 percent with the lowest spending. The trend is mostly explained by $4.4B
    in Race to the Top grants which were awarded primarily to higher-spending states.
   Census Data: The Census Bureau released American Community Survey (ACS) data for 2011, with
    reports showing state and metropolitan area poverty and income, as well as a separate report
    showing health insurance coverage for 19 to 25 year olds - an age group that gained health care
    coverage through the new health care law. The report finds more than 48M Americans poor in 2011,
    up 2.2M from the previous year, or 15.9 percent of all Americans. In 12 states plus the District of
    Columbia, more than one-quarter of children were poor. See more on child poverty here.
   Data Systems: The Early Childhood Data Collaborative released “Developing Coordinated
    Longitudinal Early Childhood Data Systems: Trends and Opportunities in Race to the Top Early
    Learning Challenge Applications”, which analyzes state Race to the Top- Early Learning Challenge
    applications – specifically the data section – and identifies key trends among states with respect to
    their development and use of data systems.
   Family Supports and Engagement: National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) released “Building
    a Competitive Future Right from the Start: How Paid Leave Strengthens 21st Century Families”,
    which provides a brief history of paid family leave policy in the United States and abroad; synthesizes
    cutting-edge knowledge about paid leave and its impact on family and civic life; and concludes with a
    set of recommendations – for policymakers, researchers, public health and early childhood
    stakeholders, business leaders, and federal, state, and local education agencies – to guide the work
    going forward.
   Quality Ratings: NCCP also released “Practices for Promoting Young Children’s Learning in QRIS
    Standards”, which provides a further examination of the strength of supports for children’s early
    learning in QRIS standards and an analysis of QRIS standards.
   School Funding: A new report from the Center for American Progress, “The Stealth Inequities of
    School Funding”, identifies states where combined state and local revenues are systematically lower
    in higher-poverty districts, that is, states with "regressive" school funding distributions. Based on this
    analysis, the authors focus on six states (IL, TX, NY, PA, MO, and NC) where children attending school
    in higher-poverty districts still have substantially less access to state and local revenue than those
    in lower-poverty districts. The authors then go beyond recent reports on school funding inequities to
    uncover some nontraditional causes of these imbalances.



NEW RESEARCH
   Aggression in Early Childhood: A new study released by Penn State reveals that verbal abilities are
    critical to mitigating aggression in young children. Based on the findings, the researchers believe that
    children need to acquire verbal skills to understand the perspective of adults as well as to have a
    form of communication apart from hitting other people. Children also need to develop cognitive skills
    and executive function skills, so that they can understand that there are alternative options to
    fighting and hitting. Read more here.
   Head Start and Health: Anna Aizer of Brown and Flavio Cunha of the University of Pennsylvania


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    studied the initial crop of Head Start students in the late 1960s to see who benefited the most from
    the program. They found that students who were already doing well — those who had high birth
    weights, whose mothers didn’t smoke during pregnancy, etc. — benefited the most. Read more here.
   Critical Thinking in 0-3: Alison Gopnik, a psychology professor at the University of California,
    Berkeley, reports that children from as young as 8 months old through preschool explore through
    techniques that would seem familiar to any scientist: they make hypotheses and test them against
    data; predict outcomes using statistics, and can infer the causes of failed actions. Read more here.


UPCOMING EVENTS
 October 4, 4:00-5:00pm ET: The Alliance for Excellent Education is hosting Incorporating Deeper
  Learning and Personalization into a Race to the Top District Application. This webinar will provide
  practical suggestions for designing new school models that exemplify deeper learning and
  personalization. Register and submit questions here.
 October 11, 2:00-3:00pm ET: The Coalition on Human Needs is hosting a "Nonprofits Get Out the
  Vote" web event. Register here.
 October 16, 1:00pm ET: The National Women’s Law Center is hosting a webinar on “Tax Credits: What
  Families Need to Know”. Register here.
 October 23, 1:00pm ET: The National Women’s Law Center is hosting a webinar on “Tax Credits
  Outreach Made Easy: Tips & Tools for Advocates”. Register here.


NEWS FROM THE STATES
ARIZONA
   Arizona is seeking federal approval to continue its Medicaid program for childless adults, which
    lawmakers capped last year to help balance the budget. Without a federal extension, the program
    will expire next year. Read more here.


ILLINOIS
   Chicago Public Schools named Peter W. Rogers as the new Chief Financial Officer. Rogers spent 23
    years with Citigroup where he rose to be Chief Executive Officer of Diners Club International. Rogers
    will be the third CFO under this one-year old CPS administration, following David Watkins and Diana
    Ferguson, a holdover from the Huberman administration.
   A new survey of more than 350 of Illinois preschool programs reveals a major shortage of early
    childhood teachers who are trained to provide either bilingual or English as a second-language
    instruction to students who are ELLs.

LOUISIANA
   Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration wants to shift $20M in hurricane recovery dollars for hurricanes
    Gustav and Ike to fill in budget gaps in the state's free preschool program for at-risk students. The
    proposal, which requires approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,
    was posted this week for public comment. Read more here.
   Public school teachers seeking to recall Gov. Bobby Jindal and House Speaker Chuck Kleckley failed in
    their efforts to oust the Republican leaders. The teachers were angered by Jindal's education reform
    that will push more students into private and charter schools.



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MAINE
   Budget cuts enacted earlier this year at the state level are now being felt by many low-income
    families with young children. As part of the measure to close an $80M budget shortfall earlier this
    spring, the LePage administration and Republican lawmakers cut $2M of the $3.75M annual state
    budget for the Head Start early childhood development program. Read more here.
   The 2012 Maine Children’s Alliance Voter and Candidate Guide will be used at state and federal
    issues forums to highlight key early childhood policy areas.

MICHIGAN
   The Center for Michigan’s Bridge Magazine special report on “Michigan’s Forgotten Four-Year-Olds”
    presents a multi-part series exploring how 30,000 Michigan kids who qualify for free preschool are
    not getting the education they need, due to inadequate state funding, logistical hurdles and poor
    coordination of services. The Bridge’s analysis of state and federal data revealed that a child's
    chances of getting high-quality, free preschool depends on where they live, even though the state
    divides up money to give every child a roughly equal shot at free preschool. The Bridge’s special
    report continues, with additional articles scheduled to be published on October 2nd and 4th. Read
    more here.
   Michigan's current cutoff age to enroll in kindergarten is Dec. 1. Under a law passed earlier this year,
    the cutoff will be moved to Nov. 1 for 2013-14, Oct. 1 for 2014-15 and Sept. 1 for 2015-16. Read
    more here.
   Under a new policy that links welfare benefits to school attendance, starting Oct. 1, school districts
    can report to the state Human Services Department families with students who are chronically
    absent. Some advocates for families in poverty say they worried struggling parents are being singled
    out without looking at the reasons why the children are not in school. Read more here.


MISSISSIPPI
   In addition to $2.75B to fund school districts, public school construction and teacher supplies, the
    Mississippi Department of Education asked for funds to provide 25 grants of $100,000 each to
    targeted school districts to create pre-kindergarten programs that line up with the state curriculum,
    preparing children for kindergarten. Read more here.
   The gap between the state's school funding formula and money actually being appropriated could
    widen past $300M next year, raising new questions about the school funding formula's future.
    Interim state Superintendent Lynn House told legislative budgeters the Mississippi Adequate
    Education Program will need $300.6M more in the 2014 budget year than it received this year to
    reach full funding. Read more here.


NEW YORK
   Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that New York City will open an Educare school in the
    Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn next year, introducing a cradle-to-kindergarten approach to
    education for very young children in poor neighborhoods. The school will serve children between 6
    weeks and 5 years old, similar to Educare schools that have been created in 17 other cities. Read
    more here and learn more about Educare here.
   Mayor Bloomberg also announced that New York City will convert 4,000 half-day pre-kindergarten
    seats into full-day seats by next school year, continuing an expansion of early-childhood education
    that experts say is critical to child development. The expansion will cost about $20M and result in
    37,000 total full-day pre-K seats, in addition to about 23,000 half-day seats.

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   Preschool children are struggling to get special education services under a new Department of
    Education policy requiring that all families first try going through large agencies, like Omni or Sunbelt
    Staffing, to find therapists, with the intention of streamlining the process and saving money,
    advocates said. Read more here.

OREGON
   Oregon's Chalkboard Project has awarded grants totaling $180,000 to school district and university
    partnerships that will design innovative models to prepare the next generation of Oregon teachers. In
    total the grantees serve over a quarter of Oregon's K-12 students and 65% of teacher
    candidates annually. The program, named TeachOregon, aims to prepare Oregon teachers for the
    21st century and address Oregon's lack of diversity in its teacher workforce. The grants went to five
    partnerships.
   Alarmed by data showing that one in three Oregon children has untreated tooth decay, this month
    the Portland City Council voted 5-0 to begin fluoridating its public water system in 2014. Until the
    vote, Portland was the largest U.S. city without a water fluoridation policy.



 The Ounce of Prevention Fund gives children in poverty the best chance for success in school and in life
         by advocating for and providing the highest quality care and education from birth to age 5.
   The Ounce National Policy Team partners with and supports early childhood leaders in states as they
advance a comprehensive agenda for at-risk children and families. We do this by providing individualized
 strategy and policy consultation and resources; facilitating peer-to-peer learning and networking across
  states; and supporting Educare Schools and the Educare Learning Network in the development of their
                                          policy and advocacy work.
The National Policy Digest: a bi-weekly newsletter that shares up-to-date and noteworthy developments
     in state and federal early childhood news, policy and funding changes, research, policy trends and
   analyses, upcoming events, etc. culled from diverse sources in the field. To subscribe, please contact
          Anna Torsney-Weir, National Policy Associate (atorsneyweir@ounceofprevention.org).




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