Mar 20, 2011
ELW

Studies on Effectiveness of Early Childhood Programs

FADE OUT:

“Institutionalized messages surrounding ECE claim that it has the potential to promote children’s life-long success, especially among low-income children. I examine the legitimacy of these claims by reviewing empirical evidence that bears on them and find that most are based on results of a small set of impressive but outdated studies. More recent literature reveals positive, short-term effects of ECE programs on children’s development that weaken over time.”  – Lowenstein, Journal of Educational Policy, January 2011 – Emphasis added

“As with the 4-year-old cohort, there was no strong evidence of impacts on children’s language, literacy, or math measures at the end of kindergarten or at the end of 1st grade.” (Head Start Impact Study, Executive Summary, January 15, 2010, p. 21)

“…the achievement impact of preschool appears to diminish during the first four years of school…preschool alone may have limited use as a long-term strategy for improving the achievement gap…”  – Rumberger, et. al, UCSB, 1/06, pp. 79-80

Using data from the (ELCS), researchers concluded that preschool has a positive impact on reading and mathematics scores in the short term and a negative effect on behavior. While the positive academic impacts mostly fade away by the spring of the first grade, the negative effects persist into the later grades.  (Katherine A. Magnuson, Christopher J. Ruhm, Jane Waldfogel, “Does Prekindergarten Improve School Preparation and Performance?” National Bureau of Economic Research, April 2004)

Also using the ECLS data, Lisa Hickman at Ohio University, compared children in center care with children who were taught at home. She found that center care children had higher math and reading skills and poorer social skills prior to kindergarten entry. In first grade, however, preschool participants’ cognitive advantage disappeared and their social skills deteriorated.  (Lisa N. Hickman, “Who Should Care for Our Children? The Effects of Home Versus Center Care on Child Cognition and Social Adjustment,” Journal of Family Issues 27 (May 2006: 652-684)

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Mar 19, 2011
ELW

Evidence on Effectiveness of Quality Rating Systems

NO EVIDENCE THAT QRSs IMPROVE PROGRAM OR CHILD OUTCOMES

“The design does not permit us to determine if Parent Aware causes outcomes for programs, parents, or children. We can look at patterns of associations, but causation cannot be determined.” (Parent Aware Third Year Review, MELF, November 2010, PowerPoint, p. 9)

“Program ratings are not evenly distributed across the 4 star levels, and sample sizes are small. This limits the conclusions that can be drawn about the Rating Tool.” (Ibid)

“No definitive patterns of linkages between rating categories, program characteristics or proxy scores developed from director and teacher surveys, and child outcomes were identified.” – (MELF Yr. 3 Report, 11/10, p.132)

“Despite their growing popularity, there is little information available about how well QRISs work. A logic model presented in this report posits a clear path to improved provider quality and better child outcomes, but it is largely untested. We do not know how well QRISs measure what they purport to measure, whether parents pay attention to ratings in selecting care, whether providers that participate in QRISs actually improve the quality of the care they provide, or whether children benefit from the improved care they are receiving as their provider receives quality-improvement support.” (Zellman, et al, Assessing the Validity of the Qualistar Early Learning Quality Rating and Improvement System as a Tool for Improving Child-Care Quality, Rand Corporation, 2008) Continue reading »

Mar 19, 2011
ELW

Quotes and References Regarding the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment

THERE IS NO CRISIS

“The total percentage [3-10% for 2009] of students rated on average as not yet showing proficiency in each of the five developmental domains has remained consistent throughout the seven years of the study.” – 2009 Readiness Study Report, MDE, April 2010, p. 13

“The advocates sponsoring these ads base their claims on some early learning studies done by the Minnesota Education Department. But those studies did not draw dividing lines between children at different levels of development. They did not brand some students ready or not ready for kindergarten. The Education Department studies do show that between 2 percent and 11 percent of children do not yet demonstrate some skills or behaviors they need for success in school. Another group, about half, are in the process of acquiring those skills. They should succeed in schools that offer solid academic programs. The rest show full proficiency.  If the claims of the advertising campaign were true, it would certainly show up three years later in the third-grade Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment results for reading and math ability. In fact, in 2004, 74 percent of Minnesota third-graders achieved proficient scores in the reading assessment; 71 percent were proficient or better in math. Some of those successful students must have been in the group not fully prepared for kindergarten. – Commissioner Alice Seagren, Pioneer Press, February 5, 2006, emphasis added

LABELING CHILDREN CAN HAVE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES

“Because children develop and grow along a continuum with great variability, the goal of these studies is to assess children s proficiency within and across these developmental domains and not establish whether or not children are ready for school with the use of a composite ready or not ready score. Young children develop rapidly and at varying rates across the domains, and an early, definitive determination of readiness can have unintended negative consequences” – 2006, Readiness Study Report, MDE, p.7,  emphasis added

 

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Mar 3, 2011
ELW

Alert! New PC Social Studies Standards are a Disaster!!

America is in a time of great economic and social upheaval.  Our constitutional rights are being trampled with frightening frequency and government is encroaching into ever increasingly large areas of our lives and those of our children. There is an alarming decline in the understanding by our nation’s youth and young adults of the basic workings of our government, the foundational principles of our republic and the precepts necessary to maintain our liberties purchased and preserved at such a precious cost.

Tragically, the new draft revision of the social studies standards for Minnesota’s public school students will not help to reverse any of these damaging trends.  In fact, the draft is a giant step backwards.  Even a cursory perusal shows that the politically correct, liberal, leftist elites are having a field day.  They are not just revising and tweaking, as the less than ideal legislation passed in 2003 allowed, but this is a wholesale leftist revision that should be opposed with great vigor.

The one good thing about the draft is that it refers to America as a republic instead of a democracy, which the founders explicitly rejected.  There are large parts of the draft for high school US and world history that are still “to be developed,” so things may change, but we are not confident given what is available for review.  Here are just some of the highlights (or more accurately, lowlights) of the draft:

·        The Declaration of Independence that first listed the principles of our republic such as God given unalienable rights and self-evident truth and that served as the cornerstone inspiration for our Constitution, is only mentioned twice and then, not after the fifth grade.

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