NIEER co-directors Ellen Frede and Steve Barnett discuss the critical role pre-K plays in closing the achievement gap in the May/June issue of NAESP’s Principal magazine. Drs. Frede and Barnett note that the availability of preschool is a strong predictor of differences in scores in the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a comparison of educational achievement across 65 countries. They also point to research findings that show national achievement test scores rise with the level of public spending on and quality of preschool education. Frede and Barnett maintain that a commitment to an effective, quality preschool program could reduce the achievement gap in the United States by 20 percent. The article from NIEER co-directors also offers principals and other school leaders 10 research-based, practice-tested steps they can take to increase the availability of quality pre-K whether or not they currently offer pre-K in their school.
Also included in the May/June 2011 issue of Principal magazine: Jacqueline Jones, senior adviser for early learning at the U.S. Department of Education, writes about assessment in early childhood education. First Five Years Fund director Harriet Dichter writes about pre-K to grade 3 education in Pennsylvania. University of North Carolina assistant professors Rebecca Shore and Pamela Shue and former principal Marion Bish report on a professional development program in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, designed to prepare elementary principals for preschool.