NCSL Early Care and Education Quarterly E-Update


In This Issue

Recent NCSL Early Care and Education Publications

NCSL’s Early Care and Education project periodically hosts webinars, creates new reports, new webpages and pens articles. Here are some of the recent products that might be helpful and relevant to the work you do.

Webinar | State Preschool Programs: Annual Yearbook Update
May 26, 2016 webinar with Steve Barnett, director at the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University, shared the key findings from theannual State Preschool Yearbook and highlighted new survey results on the preschool teacher workforce and dual language learner policies. View the webinar and PowerPoint presentation on ourwebsite, and read a blog post for a summary.

Webinar | Equity Starts Early: Strategies to Consider in Promoting High-Quality Early Education
June 30, 2016 webinar examining the recent Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) report Equity Starts Early: How Chiefs Will Build High-Quality Early Education. The webinar featured CCSSO staff Tom Schultz and provided state examples from Jenna Conway, assistant superintendent of early childhood in the Louisiana Department of Education and W. Clayton Burch the chief academic officer in the West Virginia Department of Education. View the webinar and PowerPoint presentation on our website, and read a blog post for a summary.

Early Learning Fellows Program Update

early learning fellows pose for a group shot in Chicago

August 7-8, 2016 the fifth class of NCSL Early Learning Fellows arrived in Chicago to participate in their second of two face-to-face meetings. All 29 selected Fellows were able to participate in this preconference to the annual Legislative Summit.

This meeting offered a robust agenda and provided issue content information in a peer learning community setting.

Highlights included:

  • Deb Leong, Tools of the Mind, as she presented about executive function and self-regulation and how these important skills can be learned successfully through make-believe play in high-quality early learning environments.
  • Geoff Nagle, Erickson Institute, as he discussed the priorities and emerging topics in early childhood development such as transforming the early childhood workforce, the importance of early experiences in children and using school readiness tax credits as a policy tool to support child development.
  • Steve Tozer, University of Illinois, as he shared information about integrating early learning when developing school leadership and the recent research showing impacts in Illinois.
  • Sessions on financing and home visiting created in partnership with the Ounce of Prevention Fund.
  • Presentations about dual language learners, data and an overview of a recent Institute of Medicine parent support study.
  • Opportunities to network with their colleagues from around the country along with experts in the field and NCSL staff.

The 2016 Early Learning Fellows program has already offered a kickoff meeting in May in Omaha, Neb. and a webinar about using early childhood education to promote equity in the early years in June. The program, for this cohort of Fellows, will conclude with a webinar on Sept. 15 titled The Costly Consequences of Not Being Socially and Behaviorally Ready by Kindergarten.

The 2106 Early Learning Fellows now become alumni of the program and they will join a network of close to 120 other alumni of the program and continue to have the opportunity to engage with colleagues, experts and NCSL staff.

The process for securing the 2107 Early Learning Fellows is slated to start early in the new year. If you think you or someone you work with might make a good Fellow, you can learn more about the program on the NCSL website

Information Request of the Month: Universal Prekindergarten Statutes and Funding

Inquiry: How have states with universal pre-K programs financed their programs?

Response: The following states have state statutes offering universal pre-K.

  • Florida: Beginning in the 2005-2006 school year, Florida offered a half-day universal prekindergarten program, known as the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program (VPK), to all four-year-olds in the state. The VPK program was adopted by the legislature in late 2004 to comply with a 2002 voter initiative amending the Florida Constitution to require "a high quality pre-kindergarten learning opportunity" that meets "professional standards." Florida sets funding for VPK through a funding formula. The VPK program is determined and appropriated annually by the legislature. (Section 1002.71, Funding for VPK)
  • Georgia: The Georgia Pre-K Program was established in 1993. In 1995, it became the first state preschool program in the country to offer universal voluntary enrollment to all four-year-olds in the state. It is funded by state lottery dollars. (Ga. Code Ann. § 20-1A-1)
  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma offers all four-year-old children the opportunity to attend an early childhood education program free of charge. The Early Childhood Four-Year-Old program is administered by the department of education and funded through the school funding formula. (70 Okla. Stat. § 18-201.1; 70 Okla. St. Ann. § 18-201.1(B)(2)(l) and (n))
  • Vermont: Act 166, signed into law in 2014, provides for universal access to publicly funded prekindergarten education. The law recently went into full effect in 2016 after the state developed and adopted administrative rules. Vermont utilizes the state’s school funding formula to fund pre-K. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. § 16 4010)

Three states—Illinois, New York and West Virginia—offer phasing-in universal pre-K access through statute. Illinois funds pre-K through the state’s early childhood block grant while West Virginia and New York fund their programs using a school finance formula. New York’s program has been on the books since 1997, but program funding had prevented expansion to reach the universal goal, until 2014, when the New York State Legislature committed $1.5 billion for the next five years to expand public preschool programs, with most of the funds ($300 million) in the first year going to New York City.

Three states—Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee—and the District of Columbia provide some statutory, regulatory or guidance language suggesting that universal is a goal. Massachusetts provides annual appropriations for pre-K and Pennsylvania funds pre-K through the state’s early childhood block grant. DC funds pre-K through the school finance formula (D.C. Code § 38-2904) and according to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), enrolls the highest percentage (86 percent) of 4-year-olds in the country.

Other resources:

2016 Legislative Session Update

 young boy playing with lettered wooden blocksThe Early Care and Education database tracks and updates early care and education legislation from the 2008-2016 legislative sessions for the 50 states and territories. Issues include child care and child care financing, early childhood services, prekindergarten, professional development, home visiting, infants and toddlers, and financing early education. Legislation can be searched by state, topic, status, primary sponsor, bill number or keyword. This database, which is updated weekly, is made possible by the generous support of the Alliance for Early Success.

View the full 2016 legislative calendar for all states and the territories, including states that have year-round sessions and states in special sessions.

The 2016 legislative sessions are winding down or have ended for many states. More than 600 early education bills were introduced and more than 60 bills have been enacted to date.

A full report of all enacted 2016 legislation will be available this winter. Below is a sampling of enacted bills. Visit our database to view all introduced and enacted bills from 2008 through 2016.  

Enacted bills of note:

  • CO SB 212 | Senator Larry Crowder (R) | Aligns state statutes with changes made to the federal child care and assistance program. Requires that a child receiving Colorado child care assistance supports continues to be eligible for those supports for a specified period before eligibility is redetermined, as long as the child's family income remains below a percentage of the state median income for that family size.
  • CT HB 5069 | Joint Higher Ed | Establishes a two-generational school readiness and workforce development pilot program to foster family economic self-sufficiency in low-income households by delivering academic and job readiness support services that includes early learning, adult education, child care, housing, job training, transportation, mental and mental health services and financial literacy.
  • OK SB 1554 | Senator Bryce Marlatt (R) | Requires directors of child care centers to have a bachelor or postgraduate degree and does not affect annual continuing education requirements.   
  • RI HB 7220 | SB 2096  | Representative Joseph M. McNamara (D) and Senator M. Teresa Pavia-Weed (D) | Establishes the Rhode Island Family Home Visiting Act. Requires the Department of Health to coordinate the system of early childhood home visiting services, implement a statewide home visiting system that uses evidence-based models proven to improve child and family outcomes, and implement a system to identify and refer families prenatally or as early after the birth of a child as possible. Requires a state home visiting report to be made electronically available.

Recap of the 2016 Legislative Summit

Picture of the Chicago skyline with text reading Legislative Summit and the dates More than 5,000 legislators, legislative staff, media, funders and others descended upon Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center, Aug. 8-11 for the annual Legislative Summit. This year the Summit offered over 200 sessions on every imaginable topic.

Access Summit resources such as 2016 NCSL Legislative Summit Agenda and Resources and 2016 NCSL Legislative Summit Streaming Sessions Archive on the NCSL website where you can search by session title, specific track or by date.

Some session highlights from the Summit related to health, human services and education policy:

  • Pay for Success and Innovative Financing for Human Services Programs
    Which included Senator Thomas Alexander (R-S.C.), Charles Sallee from the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee along with Jeremy Keele and Phil Peterson from the Sorenson Impact Center and KidsSucceed LLC respectively. This session highlighted pay-for-success, a relatively new financing mechanism that is being discussed as a way to get the most bang for taxpayers’ bucks when it comes to funding social programs. The diverse panel of speakers at the session explored pay-for-success funding opportunities and challenges and ways lawmakers can play a more critical role in program development. Read a blog post about the session.
  • Healthy Kids are Better Learners
    Which included Senator Deb Soholt (R-S.D.) and Senator Mimi Stewart (D-N.M.). As well as Dr. John Ratey from the Harvard Medical School and Dana Silverman Carr from Moringa Policy Consulting. This session highlighted innovative strategies for promoting health, reducing risky behaviors and enhancing so-called "protective factors," from early childhood through high school, that all contribute to a student's well-being and academic achievement.
  • Early Education and the Every Student Succeeds Act -- Maximizing Achievement
    Which included Danielle Ewen from the EducationCounsel in Washington, D.C. along with NCSL staffers Lee Posey and Matt Weyer. This session highlighted specific provisions within the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that address early childhood learning, supports for dual language learning and rules for foster and homeless children.

This year was a great year to be in Chicago and participating in the annual Legislative Summit. See you next year in Boston, Aug. 6-9, 2017. 

Federal Update and Resources

Preschool Development Grants – Preschool Pay for Success Feasibility Pilot
The U.S. Department of Education announced on Aug. 19 a new Pay for Success grant competition for preschool. The funding will not be used to provide preschool services but rather to fund feasibility studies to determine if Pay for Success financing is an effective funding strategy to implement high-quality preschool programs.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “the grant program supports initiatives which are based on evidence; focus on outcomes; and improve early, elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, while generating savings for taxpayers. The studies will identify a broad range of measures designed to demonstrate improved student outcomes; potential cost savings to school districts, local governments and states; and general benefits to society.

Potential outcome measures may include:

  • Kindergarten readiness
  • Later improved social and emotional skills
  • Improved executive functioning
  • Reduction in grade retention and in the need for later special education
  • Reduction in discipline referrals, and interactions with law enforcement
  • Increases in high school graduation.”

More information can be found about this funding opportunity.

Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grants
The federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF) awarded Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership and Early Head Start Expansion grants in March of 2015 worth $500 million to agencies in 53 states and territories. In July 2016, ACF released a new competitive funding opportunity that will allow new or existing Early Head Start program to partner with local child care centers and family child care providers servicing infants and toddlers from low-income families. You can read more about this funding opportunity.

Child Care and Development Block Grant: Two new NCSL webpages
The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014: Reauthorizing the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Program
NCSL provides an overview of the new law, key statutory requirement, timeline of effective dates, and statutory provisions for state waivers.

Implementing the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014
The reauthorization amended the goals of the program and created six new goals that strengthened requirements related to health and safety, licensing enforcement and quality of care. It also changed the plan cycle for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) from a biennial to a triennial plan period. As a result the fiscal year (FY) 2016–2018 plan will cover a three-year period. State plan submissions were due in March 2016 with effective dates of June 1, 2016. The plan serves as an application for CCDF funds by providing a description of, and assurance about, the grantee’s child care program and all services available to eligible families. You can find additional details on our webpage. Final regulations will be released in the fall of 2016.

Mark Your Calendar

date of 2016 and an alarm clockCapitol Forum
NCSL’s 2016 Capitol Forum will be held Dec. 5-8 in Washington, D.C. Join us in D.C. to tackle critical state-federal issues, gain insight from national experts, and work with committees to craft the States’ Agenda. Register and learn more today.

Human Services Chairs Meeting
Wednesday, Sept. 7 through Friday, Sept. 9 in Portland, Ore. Meeting information available on the NCSL website.

The Costly Consequences of Not Being Socially and Behaviorally Ready by Kindergarten
Thursday, Sept. 15, at 2 p.m. ET. This webinar will highlight the Johns Hopkins University/Baltimore Education Research Consortium study that measured the social-emotional skills of incoming kindergarten students. More information can be found on the NCSL website.

Advancing Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health
Thursday, Oct. 20, at 2 p.m. ET. This webinar will highlight the ZERO TO THREE report Planting Seeds in Fertile Ground: Steps Every Policymaker Should Take to Advance Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health.

Resources of Interest

50-State Comparison: K-3 Quality

Source: Education Commission of the States (ECS) | July 2016
The new 50-State Comparison: K-3 Quality from ECS explores key state-level policies that impact the quality of K-3 programs. The Companion Report for this 50-State Comparison highlights significant research findings in key K-3 policy areas. Some key takeaways from this report include:

  • Eighteen states plus D.C. provide guidance for the pre-K to kindergarten transition process.
  • Twenty-one states plus D.C. require some level of parental involvement in the promotion/retention process.
  • Thirty-six states plus D.C. emphasize social-emotional learning in grades K-3 in statute, rules or regulations. 

Building a Brain: Positive and negative interaction molds the architecture of infants' brains at a much earlier age than most parents assume

Source: U.S. News & World Report | July 2016
Parents are their children's first and most important teachers. And they have a crucial job: Recent advances in developmental science make clear that the first five years of life are critically important to children's future learning and success. Read the rest of this article by Katharine Stevens of the American Enterprise Institute.

Early Learning Career Pathways Initiative: Credentialing in the Early Care and Education Field

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services | June 2016
Spearheaded by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, the Early Learning Career Pathways Report examines comprehensive career pathway systems in the early childhood education (ECE) field. Career pathways, defined as comprehensive education and training systems, provide a sequence of coursework and credentials aligned with employer and industry needs. Pathways offer a much-needed solution to fostering the educational and workforce training needs of adult learners to meet national and regional workforce demands. Read the report.

Additional Resources

Early Childhood State Policy Profiles

Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) | Aug. 2016
View the state profiles.

Child Care and Development Fund Plans FY 2016-2018: State Waivers and Corrective Actions

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) | Aug. 2016
View the report.

Parenting Matters: Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0-8

Source: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine | July 2016
View the report

Children’s Budget 2016

Source: First Focus | July 2016
View the report

The Early Childhood Workforce Index

Source: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment | July 2016
View the report.

Early Childhood Systems Building Resource Guide

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care | July 2016
View the online tool.

Social Impact Bonds

Source: NCSL | June 2016
View the web brief

2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book

Source: Annie E. Casey | June 2016
View the report

What Early Learning in ESSA Can Look Like for States and Districts

Source: First Five Years Fund | June 2016
View the resources and tool box.

High-Quality Early Learning Settings Depend on a High-Quality Workforce: Low Compensation Undermines Quality

Source: U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services | June 2016
View the report

Seizing New Policy Opportunities to Help Low Income Mothers with Depression: Current Landscape, Innovations, and Next Steps

Source: CLASP | June 2016
View the report

Set up for Success: Supporting Parents in Low-Wage Jobs and Their Children

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) | June 2016
View the report.

Olympians and Paralympians: High-Quality Early Education Can Help Kids Win the Academic “Medal Race”

Source: Champions for America’s Future | June 2016
View the report

2014 Head Start & Early Head Start Profiles

Source: CLASP | June 2016
View the state profiles.   

Best Practices in Creating and Adapting Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Rating Scales

Source: Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation (OPRE) | May 2016
View the report.  

STEM and Early Childhood—When Skills Take Root: Pennsylvania businesses and the military warn of STEM workforce skills gap; urge greater access to pre-K

Source: ReadyNation | May 2016
View the report

Click to View the Summer 2016 e-update as a PDF