Quality Matters More Than Ever in Times of Crisis

Does the California Quality Rating and Improvement System Predict Child Outcomes?
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Summary

Quality Counts California rates program elements to assess overall program quality. But are we assessing the right dimensions of quality with measures that are predictive of children’s learning and development? In an era of restricted resources, it is critical that CA identify, measure, and deliver the dimensions of quality that actually matter for children.

Our Children’s Education Should be a Priority as California Recovers from Coronavirus

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Summary

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed California and the nation into uncharted waters, especially with the impact on our schools. With the economy in decline and unemployment on the rise, school funding is likely to dip, triggering cuts across the system. This financial impact will come when our schools need more money, not less, to serve our state’s children. As we look toward recovery, Californians should make the kind of significant investments in our public schools that reflect their true importance to our students, families and future.

Evidence to Inform Recovery

PACE’s Response to COVID-19
Summary

The closing of California’s physical learning spaces has significant implications for educational equity and access. In the coming weeks and months, PACE’s efforts will be focused on supporting real-time crisis response and helping the state build toward recovery. This commentary, the first in a new series designed to raise up evidence quickly to inform crisis response and recovery, details our approach.

Early Childhood Education in California Takes a Step Forward

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Summary

Early Childhood Education in California Takes a Step Forward. After eight hearings, countless hours of meetings, collaboration with stakeholders, a survey of over thirty organizations and a robust 2-year discussion by a diverse, inclusive Commission including community members and elected officials, the California Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education (BRC) released its draft recommendations.

Pre–K Policymakers Need to Wake from Nap Time

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Summary

Early childhood education has changed in California.  Now, every child transitioning from early learning education to kindergarten needs to wake up from nap time and start meeting state standards.  And to help them, state policy makers need to wake up, too.

Head Start at Ages 3 and 4 Versus Head Start Followed by State Pre–K

Which is More Effective?
Commentary author
Jade V. Marcus Jenkins
Summary

In light of evidence that high quality early learning experiences can improve low-income children’s school readiness and future academic success, a number of recent proposals at the federal and state levels would expand public early childhood education (ECE) programs.

Does Head Start Differentially Benefit Children with Risks Targeted by the Program’s Service Model?

Commentary author
Elizabeth Miller
Summary

Since Head Start’s creation in 1965 as part of the War on Poverty, its mission has been to improve the school readiness of low-income children. To encourage this goal, the Head Start program uses a “whole child” model, which aims to promote children’s transition to school by enhancing their development through the provision of educational, health, and nutritional services to children and families. Head Start also engages parents in their children’s learning and helps parents with their own educational, literacy, and employment goals with the belief that these too are important in promoting children’s preparedness for school.

Can Center-based Childcare Reduce the Odds of Early Chronic Absenteeism?

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Summary

In elementary school, chronic absenteeism is highest in kindergarten. Consequently, a growing body of research has sought to identify factors driving such high rates of early absences. Most research has focused on student- and family-level drivers. At the student level, significant factors have been identified as educational disengagement and alienation from school. At the family level, significant factors have been identified as family structure, maternal employment, household size, parental involvement, parental mental health, and socioeconomic status.

The Effect of School Starting Age Policy on Crime

Commentary author
John M. McAdams
Summary

On September 30th, 2010, then-governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation that would move the birthday cutoff for enrolling children in kindergarten from December 2 to September 1, making the minimum kindergarten starting age five years rather than four and three quarters.  The law brought California in line with many other states that had adopted a September cutoff decades earlier.  In order to mitigate the impact of raising the entry age on pupils born between the old and new cutoffs, who would otherwise have to delay entering kindergarten by a year, the legislation established a “transitional kindergarten” to take the place of regular kindergarten for those affected children. 

Are Students Affected by Colleges’ Small Application Barriers?

Commentary authors
Jonathan Smith
Michael Hurwitz
Jessica S. Howell
Summary

Attending college is increasingly both costly and time consuming, and represents one of the largest investments people make in their lives, so one would expect students to engage in a thoughtful and deliberate college choice process. However, there is an increasingly large literature that shows students are not behaving optimally in the college application and enrollment processes.

The Influence of Head Start on Parental Education and Employment

Commentary author
Terri Sabol
Summary

Head Start is the oldest and largest federally-funded preschool program in the United States, currently serving more than 1 million children with almost $8 billion dollars appropriated annually. From its inception, Head Start not only provided early childhood education, care, and services for children, but also sought to promote parents’ engagement in their children’s schooling, their childrearing skills, and their own educational progress. Yet, much of the research on Head Start focuses solely on children’s cognitive and social outcomes rather than on parent outcomes.

Can Research Design Explain Variation in Head Start Research Results?

Commentary authors
Hilary M. Shager
Holly A. Schindler
Katherine A. Magnuson
Greg J. Duncan
Hirokazu Yoshikawa
Cassandra M. D. Hart
Summary

The recognition that school-entry academic skills of poor children lag well behind those of their more advantaged peers has focused attention on early childhood education (ECE) as a potential vehicle for remediating early achievement gaps. The proliferation of high quality evaluations of ECE programs can yield important information about differences in the effectiveness of particular program models, but only if we understand the context of ECE research and are confident that divergent findings reflect meaningful differences in program effectiveness rather than technical differences in study design.

English Learners and Full-Day Kindergarten

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Summary

Many state and local school district policymakers have enacted policies to expand kindergarten from half-day to full-day because of perceived benefits to student learning. In California, as of 2008, about 43 percent of public school students were enrolled in full-day classes. Research on the effectiveness of full-day programs is limited to short-term benefits, but absent from past research is the effect on English learner (EL) students, who may especially benefit from extra time. EL students are a large portion of the California student population and are at greater risk of failing to meet state education standards.

Welcome to Conditions of Education in California

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Summary

For nearly 30 years PACE has worked to sponsor a productive conversation about the education policy choices facing California, by bringing academic research to bear on the key policy questions and challenges facing our state. We have done this in traditional ways, by publishing policy briefs and convening seminars and conferences in Sacramento and throughout California. For years PACE’s signature publication was Conditions of Education in California, which provided an annual compendium of data and analysis on the current state of California’s education system.