With 2012 right around the corner, I wanted to take some time to share NIEER’s work during the past year and give you a heads up on what we have planned for the New Year.
In April, we released The State of Preschool 2010 in Washington, D.C., joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Marci Young of Pre-K Now. The report, which found unprecedented decreases in both per-child and total state spending on state-funded pre-K programs helped jump start the national conversation on early childhood as a priority in difficult times. We are now working on the 10th year of data for our State Preschool Yearbook and are looking forward to sharing the results with you sometime in the spring.
In August, Science magazine published a special issue, “Investing in Early Education,” which explored a range of issues in the field from experts. I argued that recent findings on Head Start—a program that came under significant public scrutiny this year—called for mending a program that can help the very poorest of children, rather than ending it.
We continue to conduct research in a growing number of states here at home. Stay tuned for results from our randomized trials comparing full-day and half-day programs and on the effects of pre-K for all, which will be released early in the New Year. Also to be released early in the year are findings from our national survey of preschool teachers. In addition, we are continuing an effort we first told you about in October 2010 to study pre-K programs in Colombia, and our researchers are engaged in ongoing basis with evaluations of city and state pre-K programs. The picture we featured above captures the dedication of our Colombian team as they visited families despite the devastating floods that hit last year.
The NIEER offices will be closed from December 24 through January 2, but we’ll be back in the new year continuing on with these and other projects. We hope you’ll stayed tuned for all we have to offer.
Happy holidays from all of us here at NIEER.
– Steve Barnett, Director, NIEER