Bridging the Birth to 3rd Grade Continuum: Early Care and Education at the Crossroads Transformation

Speakers: Michael Nettles, Senior Vice President and Edmund Gordon Chair, PERC and ECRA, ETS; Andrea DeBruin-Parecki, Principal Research Project Manager, ECRA, ETS; Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D., President and CEO, Foundation for Child Development.

Michael Nettles, Senior Vice President and Edmund Gordon Chair, PERC and ECRA, ETS - Thank you all for coming out this morning. We're here to welcome back a very good friend. I'll say no more about that, because we have somebody to make a formal and proper introduction. I want to thank you all for registering and coming this morning. The Early Childhood Research and Assessment Center was begun probably in 2012, I think. I mark it by the date of an initial publication. It is on one of your handouts.

I'm proud of the heart and soul of the ECRA Center, that's Andrea DeBruin-Parecki, and Debbie Ackerman, both of whom are here. I'll let you guess who's the heart and who's the soul. They're both the heart and soul of the ECRA Center, and I'm really happy with all that they are dreaming and doing. You have a handout that shows a steady stream of work, mostly by Debbie Ackerman. She moved over to the Center back in about 2012, and you can see these reports, she started off thinking with us about assessment policies in states. Then, our early childhood observation assessments, which are prominent in the early childhood field as a way of helping people to think about how children are performing and progressing.

Debbie has shifted her focus over to the workforce. She actually did a report on dual language learners, as well, but she's shifted now to the workforce, and you can see in the blue shaded area of the document that we're looking at people who are staffing early childhood centers, from Head Start to other types of centers, Montessori, anything. The government has expectations and standards for these practitioners, and Debbie is spending a lot of time now trying to understand what they know and can do and also how effective they are.

Andrea is involved in several areas. I'll just mention two, because this helps to define what she thinks represents an ambitious but necessary new type of assessment that we could develop in early childhood education. She wouldn't lead off by calling it an assessment, but I always have to take the tail end and move it to the front because that's the kind of organization I think we are at ETS.

Learning conversations in this project set, she's working with Sesame—and that's why we have Elmo up on the screen—to think about how parents and teachers communicate with young children as a way of eliminating the vocabulary gap and the learning gaps that children have when they enter school. If you think about how parents of different social classes, for example, of different races communicate with their children and then you try to infer what that might mean to children's progress in school, that's a very unsophisticated way to describe what Andrea's working on with this project, but I think you get the point.

She's also on the verge of putting out a standards report on literacy. She surveyed the 50 states. Got most of them, the vast majority of them, to cooperate with a mail survey, as well as interviews of key state officials across the country, to figure out what their expecting pre-K children to learn. That's the first step toward having them learn. Andrea's going to put out a report and give presentations and start disseminating in just a few weeks on that report. We're really proud of that.

We have a very special guest today, but I want you to know that we also have some coming. On April 7 Jim Comer is coming to ETS. We don't know if we'll do a forum like this. Very often when we have a guest like Jim Comer, of his stature, people say, can he give a talk? We often say, sure, he can give a talk; he's probably eager to give a talk and he can on that day, but the primary purpose for his coming here is because he called us to ask us if he could start collaborating with us on some research in early childhood education. We're going to be sitting down for a day with Jim to work through what might be possible, whether it's learning conversations, workforce, whatever. The things that we're working that cross into the work that he's been doing now. He's a really prominent scholar who's an emeritus professor at Yale. These are just some of his books. My favorite of his books is, Maggie's American Dream, which is about his mother. When I worked for Lamar Alexander as a vice president for the University of Tennessee system, Lamar gave us that book for a Christmas present one year. We all read it and talked about it. It's an amazing book about his life and how much influence his mother, who had less formal education than he on it. We're really happy, all of us, about Jim Comer coming here.

I just wanted to open this session today and let you know we're busy. We're thinking and we're working hard to try to grow our early childhood research at ETS. It's a resurgence, as many of you know and recognize it as a renaissance in early childhood education, because when I was here in the ‘80s, from 1984 to 1989, we had people like Jeannie Barkscon (sp?), and Irv Sigel, Ted Chittenden, and many of those people were actually some of the mentors for our guest today. We're getting back into the early childhood business.

Now, I'd like to turn this over to Andrea DeBruin-Parecki, who will introduce our guest speaker. Thank you all very much for coming. (Applause.)

Andrea DeBruin-Parecki, Principal Research Project Manager, ECRA, ETS - Good morning. It is my great pleasure—I don't have to read that—to introduce today's speaker, Jacqueline Jones, who's currently president and CEO of the Foundation for Child Development. The foundation's mission, harness the power of research to ensure that all children benefit from early learning experiences that are from their individual, family, and community assets; fortify them against harmful consequences arising from economic instability and social exclusion, and that strengthen their developmental potential. I think this is a mission we can all easily support.

Previously Jacqueline served as senior advisor on Early Learning to the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and as the country's first deputy assistant secretary for Policy on Early Learning in the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to federal service she was assistant commissioner for the Division of Early Childhood Education in the New Jersey State Department of Education. For over 15 years she was right here as a senior research scientist. Jacqueline also is visiting faculty at Harvard Graduate School of Education and fulltime faculty member at the City University of New York.

Jacqueline is committed to advocating for all preschool children to receive quality education and care. She's particularly devoted to bringing quality education and care to disadvantaged populations. Her knowledge and experience, coupled with her devotion to this cause, is inspiring to us all. Her presentation this morning is titled Bridging the Birth to 3rd Grade Continuum: Early Care and Education at the Crossroads of Transformation. Please join me in welcoming Jacqueline Jones. (Applause.)

Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D., President and CEO, Foundation for Child Development - Good morning, while Michael's acting like nothing's happening, right. Everything's fine. It's called technology. It's always interesting to drive through the gates and realized I did this for 16 years. It's really just a pleasure to be here. I have to say that when I first came to ETS it was September 1989 and I planned to stay one year. That was it. I was a postdoc. I think I was a NAATE scholar, and I really had no idea what I was doing in New Jersey, because I was a New York City person, but it was an interesting experience, I thought, and I would do this. I had no interest in early childhood education. I have to say that from the beginning.

My work at NAATE was certainly not related to early childhood, and my dissertation had been to look at analogical problem solving in adolescence. The notion that I would get involved in early childhood was not even in my radar. As Michael mentioned, there were these really interesting people: Irv Sigel and Ted Chittenden—people who were really very committed to child development. I had studied a lot of child development, but thought adolescence was the place to be. Somehow, the next thing I knew, someone was giving me a five-year pin saying "You've been here five years. Congratulations." The next thing I knew, I'd been here for 10 and then 15. When you're doing work that's really interesting with extraordinary people. Some of you are out there. You know who you are, who've been just wonderful friends and colleagues. The time goes by very quickly and it leads you to places that you just could never have imagined. I always have to thank ETS for leading me on a path that was not on my radar, but certainly has been extraordinarily fulfilling.

On-screen: [Bridging the Birth to 3rd Grade Workforce: Early Care and Education at the Crossroads of Transformation. Jacqueline Jones, PhD, President and CEO Foundation for Child Development. March 14, 2016. ETS, Princeton, NJ.]

This talk is, I hope, a conversation because it can be, and I think that would be fun. It is heavily taken from a talk we did at an ETS convening in D.C. in September. I fuss with Michael. I said, "I can't possibly do the same talk." I was very dramatic; I can't possibly do that. (Laughter.) It's pretty much the same talk with some tweaks, because I think there have been some interesting things that have happened and I think I want to share with you some of the work that the Foundation for Child Development is doing to try to move the field a bit forward.

What I want to talk about is a quick glance at early childhood and to see where we are. Then we'll talk about what it means to unify the field, and I think that's an important issue. Then, what could be of interest in the folks in research and asking different questions. I think we have a lot of research in early childhood. I think that we need more, but different, and I think that will be a good thing.

If you think about early childhood education, from my perspective I'm talking about the age range of birth to age eight. It's not a smooth continuum of services. It's not like you have this jolly group of people working with children birth to age eight and they all get along really, really well. We have folks who work with infants and toddlers. We have folks who are looking at preschool. Preschool can be Head Start, it can be state-funded preschool, locally-funded preschool. I'm in New York right now and there's a big locally-funded preschool initiative. Then, the early elementary level. We claim these children to age eight, and that means that some of them are in these buildings called schools. For the field of early childhood, those people who are die-hard birth-to-five folks, that is a really different setting.

The schools are places where, frankly, they mess everything we've done up. They just really don't know what they're doing. (Laughter.) There is this real tension between those folks who see themselves as thinking about early care and education for children birth to age five, and those folks who are in that school, that K-12 system. We're trying to bridge that, so there's a whole group of folks who are looking at this pre-K-to-third continuum trying to say, look, the children may be in a different setting, but they are still in a developmental period that's important and we've got to align standards, curriculum, and assessments across that preschool-to-third-grade continuum.

I think historically there's been very limited funds, so you've got groups of people fighting for limited funds, and that can get really interesting. Our hope is that we can really have much more of a continuum of services for young children, and a unifying foundation for the field. That's a little bit of what it looks like.

Our current early care and education system is like no other in the world, because most advanced countries have thought this through. They've really thought, we should have a care and education system. We have a kind of big and fragmented non-system. It's based on a series of funding streams that have been well intentioned, but have been separate. We have Head Start and Early Head Start that serves about a million kids. The federal government gives grants directly to communities and private providers. We have private providers who are out there, Bright Horizons, all those kinds of places where they're doing interesting work. Then, you've got childcare. This is often from the Child Care and Development Block Grant, and that's money that is sometimes in the form of vouchers that goes to help parents to find care for their children while they attempt to find work. Home visiting has been very, very popular lately. This is where folks go into the homes and really work with parents of young children, infants and toddlers in most cases, but if there are other children in the family, to really give direct support to families. It can be a rather inexpensive and often quite effective way of supporting parents as they try to deal with their young children. Special needs with IDA, this is the Individual Disabilities Act, has been a huge, huge issue and an important factor in our field, but it, too, has very separate kinds of regulations. And then state-funded and locally-funded preschools.

All these funding streams are going on with different kinds of eligibility criteria for the folks who would be in the program, different kinds of criteria for what teachers need to know and be able to do, and different goals. In the best of all possible worlds they'd fit together nicely. They sort of don't. They kind of come together and clash. If you're trying to run a program with multiple funding streams, this is a real challenge, trying to figure out how you live up to everybody's expectations. If you think of the state of New Jersey, we have a formerly AVID Preschool Program, but it includes Head Start and private providers. It's a mixed delivery system, and it takes a lot of work to figure out how you put all these things together and not have too much fragmentation.

That's where we are. I think one of our goals is to try to smooth that out a bit if we can. A lot of it is at federal level and I think a lot of that needs to be handled at the federal level. That means that it won't be, so I think that the states probably have a good deal of work to do, because I'm not real confident that a lot of change will happen at the federal level any time soon.

We've had some really interesting wins for early childhood. If we start even in 1965 with Head Start. This was huge. It was a small program. Our thinking was that a six-week summer program would really make up for years of poverty and get kids on that head start to school. The science has taught us a lot more about what it takes, but that was a program that started and is still going strong. We had the Child Care and Development Block Grant that was really meant to give parents a way to find childcare so that they could seek employment.

On-screen: [Wins. 1990: Child Care Development Block Grant. 2001: PEW Charitable Trust.]

Then, in 2000 this really interesting National Academy's report came out called Neurons to Neighborhoods, and it changed the conversation. Just changed what we knew about early childhood education because it said, there's a science here. This is not just something that you should do that's nice. There's something called human development and we know a lot, and if we really care we will start intervening very early in children's lives to give them the best kinds of experiences they can get, because that's how you make things different. That's what the science is saying, so that armed the early childhood community with the science of child development from birth to five and started a new conversation.

Places like the PEW Charitable Trust decided to really put their funding in a very long-term effort, so PEW committed to a ten-year effort. What we had was an advocacy effort called Pre-K Now that was very successful in moving preschool issues along, and NIEER right up the road, the National Institute for Early Education and Research, Steve Barnett's job, was really a driving force. It's now kind of the go-to place for research in early childhood education. Then, in 2009 there was a candidate for the presidency in 2008 who kept talking about early childhood education, which for early childhood people was bizarre because presidential candidates don't do that. When then-candidate Obama talked about it, it wasn't quite clear what he meant. When he took office it became clearer as the Departments of Education, and Health and Human Services were charged with figuring out how, one, to work closer together. That doesn't even mean closer. It means just work together, because they didn't work together. Then, how they were going to use that big pot of stimulus money from the Great Recession to really move early childhood issues along. From 2009 to the present we've had at the federal level, Race to the Top, Promise Neighborhoods, the i3 competitions that some of you may have been engaged in. Head Start and Early Head Start got more funding. Childcare got more funding. Home visiting became much more research-based and interesting. A real federal focus on early childhood education that I hope will continue, but I think we'll make the most of what we've had.

In 2013 the President announced that he wanted high quality preschool for all in the State of the Union address. This is huge, because what gets in the State of the Union address is something that's quite mysterious. If you can get your initiative in the State of the Union address it's like, woo! You did a really good job and things are just—people were very, very happy. This gave the advocates another shot in the arm to think, okay, there could be money in a budget, there could be a real focus, and we can continue to talk about this early childhood work.

In 2014 we had a White House Summit on early learning. This was really interesting because it pulled together the philanthropic community and really said, can you make commitments to the work? The philanthropic community said yes. There was a huge endeavor to pull together both federal resources and philanthropic money so on that day the President could announce a billion-dollar commitment of money he got allocated from Congress, money from the philanthropic community. At that convening the Foundation for Child Development committed $2 million to the New York City Universal Pre-K Initiative that I will talk about later.

On-screen: [Wins. 2015: National Academy of Sciences: Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation.]

One of the things that we're dealing with right now is a really interesting consensus report from the National Academies. As Michael said, Debbie's interested in the workforce. This was about 19 folks coming together to really study the early childhood workforces, I'm going to call them, because they are many different people, and try to figure out how we're going to unify that system, and that will be part of what we talk about in a minute. Some good things have happened.

What is this thing called high-quality, coordinated early learning? We talk about high quality preschool. We should have good experience for kids. I think by experiencing New Jersey, the State Ed Department taught me that these are complicated, interrelated systems. You don't just fund some folks to sit in a classroom and look at kids and do nice things, or get a thinking floating table. You don't just put kids in a seat and think you have high quality. You need to have what Andrea's been looking at, early learning standards, and every state now has early learning standards for four-year-olds. Most of them have them for infants and toddlers, but these have to be really high quality, important standards; things that define what you think young children should know and be able to do. They should be based on what the science tells us to expect from young children.

Then, you need program standards. This I think is something that's been missing from a lot of the work we've been doing. Standards that define the "it" of the program. What is it that defines this program, that makes it what it is? We talk about early learning programs as if they're all though they're all the same. We talk about Head Start as though it's all the same. Head Start's not a program; it's a funding stream. It's a series of individual grants that the federal government gives to agencies to do whatever work they have proposed. How do you define what the conditions are? Is it by teacher-child ratio, by teacher qualifications, by the length of the day, the kind of dosage, the curriculum? All of those things go into program standards to define it, so that once you want to evaluate it, you've got something to evaluate. If you don't know what the "it" is, you really don't know what's working. Program standards are huge.

On-screen: [Competent ECE Workforce.]

Then, as some of us might be interested in, assessment systems, but really good assessment systems that give information around children. There are formative assessments, summative assessments, assessments of the quality of the classroom, assessments of the quality of teacher-child interactions. A range of assessments that give us information on how to inform instruction and really improve the policies that we build around these programs.

Useful data systems are nice. I hear lots of complaints. People say they have a lot of data and no information. I think that's often the case. How do we get data systems that go across these, that pull together assessment information, that give us information about how children are meeting the standards, that really look at our program standards, and really give us information on how we can proceed? This is a piece of work that has been very challenging for the field, but I think we're moving forward on that.

Then, health promotion. We know that children need to be healthy if they're going to learn, and yet how much do we really make sure that's a piece of the program and really look at it very carefully to evaluate it?

Family and community engagement is critical. Children grow and develop in the context of their families and their communities. The programs we have are full-day, half-day. Half-day, I think Chicago had two and a half hours at one point. Six hours is considered full day, if you get some wraparound time it's maybe ten hours, and the rest of their time they're at home, they're with their families, and what happens there in those communities. How we make sure that those communities and those families are really making sure children can continue to have positive, engaging experiences is tremendously important.

Then, our workforce. How to engage our workforce to be competent and to have really strong ongoing professional learning is tremendously helpful. These are not independent. They are connected to each other, but they represent some of the components of these programs. I hope you see the complexity of it all, to make it all work. One of the things I don't think we've done is to really understand how these components are related to each other, and how they are related to outcomes for kids and specific subgroups of kids.

My focus right now is on this very competent early childhood workforce and what they need to know and be able to do. The Foundation for Child Development has taken the position that unless we have competent teachers none of the other components can work very well. Those folks who stand in front of those children every day need to be able to engage in the assessments, to understand how to administer, and interpret them, and modify curriculum. They need to know how to engage families. They need to know everything. You can have a lovely design for your program, but if you haven't committed to a workforce that is really trained well, it is not probably going to be effective.

Existing challenges. I have two big ones that I think we have in the field. This professionalization of the early care and education workforce, and then deepening our understanding of what really works. Let's take a look at those.

If we think about the adults in children's lives—you're a kid; think about this from the child's perspective—there are lots of adults all around. They're mental health professionals, teacher assistants. You've got home visitors, and principals; you've got early childhood teachers, parents. How do these adults relate to each other and to the child? What is their responsibility to provide the kinds of experiences? For children it's all about the experiences. It's all about the engagement, the relationships, and the experiences that they have. If those aren't really solid, and if you don't have children who feel safe and secure and eager and curious, then none of these adults have really done the job they should be doing. How do we each other to make this happen?

We talk about the different funding streams and the different levels of competence that teachers need to have, the criteria for teachers. It's all very different. The states get to decide for state certification what kind of criteria they're going to set. If you're in Florida, a high school diploma will put you in a classroom as a lead teacher. If you're in New Jersey, you need a master's degree and P-3 certification if you're going to work in those districts that have preschool that's paid for by the state. Then there's everything in between.

What we do not have is a single, nationally agreed-upon set of standards that define what early childhood professionals know and be able to do. We have lots of standards that define what early childhood professionals should know and be able to do at various levels, but no single agreed-upon set. That is the focus of a lot of the work that's going on right now. In the early childhood community there's been great activity since our Transforming the Workforce report, because for Head Start, what do Head Start teachers need? For Bright Horizons, what do they need? For childcare providers, what do they need? There is no place where we can say we understand it all.

This study was commissioned by the Departments of Education, and Health and Human Services, and then also paid for by the McCormick, Kellogg, Gates, and Packard Foundations. The goal of the study was to figure out not just how can we outline some competencies for teachers. That wasn't really the charge. The charge was, how do we look at the science of child development, look at what we've learned, and what we know about child development—not just birth to five, but birth to eight—and then build a set of competencies for teachers that are based on what the science tells us that children should know and be able to do. It's a very different perspective on building competencies.

We trust the science. It's the National Academies. We should get people who know the science, and if we think that we can say here's what science tells us, what do adults need to be able to do to move kids on to their developmental potential? The committee was huge. I had the great pleasure and honor to serve on that committee, but as you can see, there were folks from policy, from research, who were developmental psychologists, and pediatricians. It was bipartisan, which is a really good thing. I think that's one of the few areas in government right now where you would have some bipartisan agreement. Early childhood seems to be it, but a really interesting committee and key messages came out of that.

On-screen: [Committee Members: Larue Allen (Chair), New York University; W. Thomas Boyce, University of California, San Francisco; Joshua L. Brown, Fordham University; Douglas H. Clements, University of Denver; Fabienne Doucet, New York University; John C. Duby, Northeast Ohio Medical University and Akron Children's Hospital; David N. Figlio, Northwestern University; Jana Fleming, Erikson Institute (through January 2015), Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation (from February 2015); Lisa Guernsey, New America; Ron Haskins, The Brookings Institution; Jacqueline Jones, Foundation for Child Development; Marjorie Kostelnik, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Nonie K. Lesaux, Harvard University; Ellen M. Markman, Stanford University; Rollanda E. O'Connor, University of California, Riverside; Cheryl Polk, HighScope Educational Research Foundation; P. Fred Storti, Retired, Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association; Ross A. Thompson, University of California, Davis; Albert Wat, National Governors Association.]

One is, children are already learning at birth. Development and learning is rapid, episodic, foundation for lifelong learning. This is not news. This is not news. We also said that the adults who work with children every day have a responsibility to be competent, to do their work well, to be supported, and to be well compensated.

Also said, that at this period of early learning when we think it is so important to have really consistent and continuous support, all of the systems that are in place fail the children and they fail the teachers. The systems are not in place to provide the science of what we know about young children. The practices and policies do not reflect our knowledge of child development. If we really did reflect the science we would have spent a huge amount of money on infants and toddlers. If we really think that you start early, we would have done that, but we didn't. We spent our money on preschool. Not that I think that's a bad thing, but that was much more of a political decision than a decision that's based on the science of what we know about child development. If you say you have to start early, you have to intervene early, then we'd be doing work with expectant mothers. We'd be doing work, we'd be going into homes, and we'd be spending our money on infants and toddlers. We don't do that. If we really believed in the science of young children that tells us that children are learning constantly and these very early stages of development are critical, then we would have extraordinarily high expectations for people who work with infants and toddlers. They are the lowest paid and they have the lowest competencies. Our systems and our policies are really out of sync with what we say the science tells us and what we think we believe.

We also believed that high quality practice is more than individuals mastering their skills. It's very nice for individuals to master their skills, and they should, but to make real change, we need real systems change. There has to be a reflection on policies and practice at the federal, state, and local levels, and there is a huge place for higher education to really think about how it's training and providing ongoing support for this workforce.

This is my favorite. I'll just leave it there for a little while, because this is my very favorite quote from the whole report. It's not just that you need adults, and you need some adults who know some things, and that would be a nice thing. It's that if you have adults who don't know what they are doing, if you have adults who are themselves under stress and bring that stress to an environment for young children, that you can do extraordinary harm. We have believed in our practice and our policies that something is better than nothing.

Let's get kids in seats and at least they're out of a bad environment and they're someplace safe, and something is better than nothing. We said, no, it's not. In some cases something bad is worse than nothing. A teacher who doesn't really understand child development, who doesn't understand that there are interactions that she has to have with kids, who doesn't understand how to provide a supportive environment, and who are themselves under great stress, they can do more harm than if the child was left at home. This is a very different perspective than the one we've been dealing with for a very long time. I think we have a lot of controversy about that and we're eager to engage in some conversation, but we really think that is true.

There are some interesting data from Berkeley, Marcy Whitebook and her group has been looking at the workforce for a very long time. The compensation for some of these folks is less than parking attendants get. You have many early childhood teachers who are themselves on assistance. You've got that stress of trying to keep their home together while they are fully employed trying to establish good relationships and give kids a better shot, and they bring that to a room. How we deal with our workforce is going to be really important, and we can't assume that something is better than nothing.

The vision that we had for the workforce is quite simple, that everything is based on the science of child development and early learning, that we have shared knowledge and competencies, and that there are real principles to support quality professional practice and policy. I'll just do these four broad categories of insight from the science. There's a challenge about the report itself, and I have to say this. The report is 600 pages. While the National Academies does a great job of putting together the science, they have yet to understand what really attracts people to read the thing, and 600 pages is probably one of the most off-putting things you could do. We have funded them to do some smaller briefs that human beings can actually feel like they want to attach. I think New America and the Alliance for Early Success are also engaging in some other funding efforts to put this into bits.

If I can just talk about the broad insights from the science. There are four. There's an interplay between biology and environment that we need to acknowledge for children and for all of us, but especially in the early years, that it's not nature or nurture. It is the interplay between the two. Biology is not necessarily destiny, and environment is not necessarily destiny. It is what we do, how we intervene that can help support young children.

There are these windows of time, these really important windows that we can come in and do things and they're important, because that period of growth is so rapid and episodic. I had a conversation with someone who just turned four a couple of weeks ago. We were matching some blocks or something and she was doing it very well. I said, "That's really good. You're really smart." She says, "Oh yes. I'm very smart." I thought, "Good for you." She didn't miss a beat. "I'm very smart," she says. She's in an environment where there are people engaged and their experiences. Going to the park is not just going to the park. It's talking about every single thing that's going on, and who's there, and what we're going to do. There is this engagement. We were making a smoothie or something and she said, "Look at this." She had the little machine and she says, "This is a lever. It goes up and down." It's kind of startling to have somebody who's this little kid telling you about how things work. She's got this real curiosity about what works and why things work. Her mother is not pleased when she starts taking things apart, but that's okay.

These windows of time, these windows of opportunity where you can build confidence, and curiosity, and assurance, and feel secure enough to say, "I'm very smart," they're important, because when bad things happen they really are tremendously important, too. What we haven't really paid enough attention to is the importance of these psychosocial adversities, that these bad things that happen, this toxic stress that can happen early in life has long-term consequences. We've got to find ways to build resilience in young children if we can't take them out of a situation. How do we help them to support a better way of responding to these situations?

Then there are individual differences. In a household that can be quite chaotic, one child is falling apart, another child is like, I don't even know this is going on. I'm just doing my thing and it's fine. You see siblings, and they're so different in the ways in which they respond. We've got to think about all of these things that are connected. We know a lot about the science, but I think this is the stuff we thought would guide our work.

As far as competencies, we thought a foundational core in child development was critical. A core for care and education professionals, a core body of knowledge, and a core body of knowledge for instructional and other practice-specific educators. I've got a diagram that will be helpful. For any of you who have been engaged in test development for early childhood assessments, it must be fascinating to pull together these early childhood experts, and maybe they agree and maybe they don't on what people should know and be able to do. Again, there's no single set of competencies. It makes life very challenging.

We try to do this in a graphic way and think about a tree as a depiction. If you start at the bottom, at the roots, this sort of represents the multiple ways in which people enter the field of early childhood education. It's not as though everybody graduates from high school, goes to college, gets a degree, and then goes into a classroom. That's not what early childhood education looks like. That happens for some people. The vast majority of people do different things. They can be in high school getting a CDA, because you can get a child development associate certificate, and that's a national certification that gives you entry level skills; just entry level skills. We're not saying they're the skills you should have to be the lead teacher. We're saying they're entry-level skills. Some people are getting those at the end of high school and going into classrooms. Some people are getting an associate's degree. Some people have a BA in something else and they decide they want to go into early childhood. It's wild at the bottom there. It's a wild little scene of different people with different levels of expertise.

At this tier, this first tier up from the green, we're saying that's a core body of knowledge that everybody should have. That's our basic child development knowledge, and if you don't have that, you don't even belong in the classroom as a teacher assistant or anybody. You don't belong there. You have to have a core body of knowledge.

At the second level it's more pink. It's differentiated kinds of knowledge and competencies. Maybe it's for infants and home visitors—not even home visitors, because I think they should be at the top. This is another level of knowledge that we think should be there for assistance in care roles and educational settings, but at the top is where we're saying you need everything from tiers one, two, and tier three knowledge to call yourself the lead teacher, the person who's responsible for the design and the delivery of curriculum in a classroom.

This is our notion of what will happen. What we need to make this happen is for the field to own this work. It's a big leap forward, but we think the field would use the IOM report to define itself. This is the field of early care and education. To demand appropriate preparation and compensation, and then to outline critical elements for professional monitoring and accountability systems. This does not exist right now. It's not even close. We're thinking ten years out we may see something like this, but right now the field is owned by government. It's owned at the state level in defining criteria. It's owned at the federal level by all those federal funding streams that are there and they define whatever the criteria are. That's a very dangerous place to be, because if you're owned by government, when government changes, your life changes. It's not always going to be based on the science.

I have great respect for government. I've spent time there, and not. I think you have to think about a profession that really owns itself. The Foundation for Child Development has spent some resources and funded a consortium of early childhood professional organizations to come together and start to do this work, along with the Alliance for Early Success, and some other folks. I'm going to talk about that little later.

On-screen: [Birth through 8 Continuum: (Birth), Infants and Toddlers, Preschool, Early Elementary, PreK-3rd.]

Here we are back with our Birth through 8 Continuum. What we really want is that across this continuum and in these various areas everyone has the same core body of understanding around child development. They also have an expertise that's specific for where they are, for their setting. This is going to look very different than it does today, very different. We don't expect this to come easily. There's something that has to be given up by the states. I think the states right now have certification and licensing authority. That's going to have to be something to talk about, because we're saying that the profession should have the certification requirement, authority and states certainly can continue to license. This is not something that is out of the realm of what is possible or real. Other professions do it. It's the medical model; it's most professions own themselves and define themselves. We're just saying that for early childhood it's past time for them to take this on. I'm going to take a little bit of time and go on to the next issue that I think is important and then we can get some questions, so get questions ready.

The next area of challenge that I see is this area of what we're calling, deepening our understanding of what really works. My sub-question, just asking different questions. What do we really know about early care and education? I don't know how many of you have been following the world of early childhood, but does the Tennessee study strike anybody as something you've heard about? Okay.

When we look at early childhood education and decide we're going to evaluate these programs, and some of them don't even get evaluated well, but if we're going to evaluate, if we're lucky we get an RCT. We do a nice little RCT and we get some mean scores for the treatment and the control groups. We say, thumbs-up, thumbs-down. It's interesting, because our work is based on the premise that we will get good effects if we have high quality programs, and that work goes back to the Perry Preschool program, to Abecedarian. These are small, targeted programs where they spent a lot of money, had some very well trained folks to do this work. We don't fund that.

I was at a meeting in Mississippi, and I think the funding was $3,000 per child, so $3,000 per child and the teachers can have not much training, and you wonder why you're not going to get good effects. We do these evaluations and we know how the treatment group has done against the control group, we just don't know why. We have no idea why. That's our problem, that the notion, that basic question of the social sciences which is, what works for whom, under what conditions is not what we ask. We ask simply, was there any difference between the two groups? What we don't ask is the conditions in which the program was implemented.

The Tennessee study is very interesting, because while we have a lot of good data from those old studies of Perry Preschool and Abecedarian—and from New Jersey. New Jersey has some great data on the longitudinal look at kids up to eighth grade. They're good, strong results. Boston has some good data now. The city of Boston's done some very good work in preschool. I think that all the impacts could be stronger, but that's okay.

Then we get Tennessee. Some very solid researchers from Vanderbilt look at the Tennessee preschool program, and at the end of kindergarten it's looking good, because the kids who got preschool are looking really good. Better than the control group. They go along to about third grade and they're kind of looking the same. Then they get to a point where the kids in preschool are looking worse than the kids who didn't go to preschool. Oh Lord, is right, because now you have the whole world deciding this is the death of preschool, this is the death of early childhood education, we have to stop funding this immediately. The researchers were wrong. That's another thing, the researchers were wrong. The study is flawed.

Question is, what if the study's not flawed? Then, what do we have here? What are we looking at? What we don't have are data that tell us what subgroups of kids did well or not in this condition. What we don't have are data that tell us the quality of implementation of a curriculum, if there was a curriculum. What we don't have are data that tell us the kind of teacher preparation and ongoing professional learning did we have. We find that all of those things are in question.

Our data look messy because we haven't really asked the right questions. We've been lazy about it. We've just been lazy, and we thought if we can get some up or down scores that would be good, but it's not enough. I think we're at a point where we've got to ask. I've been told that I should stop saying this, but I don't care. I do think these are uninteresting questions. When researchers come to the foundation they say, we want to study early childhood. They have something like poor kids versus more resourced kids; black and white kids versus their white—that's not important to me. It's not interesting. It doesn't tell me anything. If that's what you're going to study and leave it there, I can't fund that at all. I want to understand the conditions under which some children succeed and some children fail. I want to understand the conditions in which some teachers get support they need and they do well, and others don't. I want to understand the conditions in which in some cases there's fidelity of implementation of a program, and in some cases there isn't. That's what's interesting to me. That's what's fundable, and I think that's what will bring us to a better understanding.

Bringing us to high quality, how do we achieve maximum impact for specific subgroups? Some potential questions. What's the optimal combination of these program elements? Steve Barnett will argue that this comprehensive services business, this notion of health and community stuff doesn't matter at all. Doesn't contribute one bit, so of course all the Head Start people want to kill him. That's what his data shows. How do we start to really study that in a way that we understand what that means, that we see what he's seeing and figure out exactly what that means, and for what kids is that important? What's the optimal dosage? Does every child need full day? I don't know that. I don't know that.

I think that there are some children with multiple risk factors who need a lot of intervention. I think the kid who said to me, "This is the lever. It goes up and down," I don't know. She's getting stuff at home that's really amazing. When we talk about universal programs, I think that's fine, but if we have limited resources, how do we target that money in a really effective way so that the children who need the most really get it. This is blasphemy in some circles, I know, but I think it's the reality of where we are.

Also, what are some possible factors and agents that are responsible for success? What makes an implementation successful? When I was at the State Ed Department in New Jersey in 2006–2009 we had 31 districts, the AVID districts. We had about 50,000 kids in preschool, a budget of about $550 million a year, and I had 17 program associates who worked at the State Education Department who were in those districts every day; 17 of them trying to make sure that there was quality. Trying to make sure that teachers did everything that they needed to do, that they had all the resources. They had 17 of them. At one point we had four in Newark alone, and we kept moving them to make sure we were getting the maximum impact for kids in these programs. That's with teachers who have a BA and P-3 certification. That's with master teachers; that's with a variety of resources. It is not easy work, and I think we've sold it short and we haven't studied it sufficiently to be able to get the kinds of answers and understandings that we really need.

What describes the context in which implementation occurs? We took time in New Jersey not to look at child outcomes. When we first started the program Ellen Frede (sp?) was there and she couldn't possibly have looked at child outcomes, because I don't know what she would have been looking at. Baseline data, sure, but that's never the way the legislature interprets child outcome data.

You get some baseline data. You look at the quality. Where are your teachers? I think to be able to tell the story is absolutely critical. Where were the teachers? What kind of quality did we have? What kind of resources did we have? What did we have to do to build quality? Those are all the important questions that have to be told. What kind of kids did we have? Then, what are the factors that influence in a given context? I can think of among those 31 AVID districts, I can think of 2 districts that I saw as so fundamentally different from others that we just had a different way of talking about them. We had to figure out how to manipulate space, because space concerns were so big and so wild. We had other kinds of practitioners who were in those districts. We had Head Start programs that did or did not want to be part of the program, so we had to coax and cajole Head Start to be please be part of this, because you've got the kids who are most in need. If they're not in this program, then nothing else is going to matter for them.

There's a huge amount of (inaudible). What outcomes, if they're positive or negative, are actually due to the implementation intervention rather than some other cause? We act as though the programs are fixed things. It's not. It's happening in a dynamic context. I want to know, was that $550 million that I signed off for last year, was that what made the difference? Or was there some other thing going on in the background that I didn't know about that really did it? It means you have to understand the whole system in a very deep way. You can't just sit back and say we're going to do this, because other things are going on.

Those are the questions that we think are really interesting as we proceed to look at more implementation studies, and implementation research. If there are folks who are interested in studying preschool or early childhood interventions, I would say, ask deeper questions. Think about the context, because that's what the field doesn't have right now. That's what we're asking for from the Tennessee study. I think we need to know if what we're doing isn't working. I would rather know that than spend the money badly and try to fight a researcher to say, your methodological approach isn't appropriate, when it probably is.

I think we have a way in which we can really use implementation research to give us a better sense of the critical program and policy components for specific subgroups of children. I think this business of subgroups is something we need to talk about, also. We think about subgroups and we think about socioeconomic status, ethnicity. That's not always exactly the case. Maternal depression is huge. That's a huge factor, and that goes across socioeconomic status. I'm not saying that poverty isn't a huge and important element that we have to really think about and understand, but outside of poverty there are still issues. We look at domestic violence, and maternal depression, and drug and alcohol abuse. Those may be things we need to think about in addition to just saying, African Americans, Latinos, Asians; that's too easy. It's too easy, and it isn't giving us a subtle enough sense of why children are or are not succeeding. Again, determining who benefits or not, improving program quality, and most of all, ensuring that all children reach their full potential.

I don't know how I am on time, but I'm going to just tell you a little bit about what we're doing at FCD to try to address some of these issues. We have decided to have three major areas of interest for the workforce. One is, we'll be calling it increasing the status of the workforce and professionalization of the field. The other is enhancing the quality of instructional practice, and the other is improving preparation. We're really focused on increasing the status and enhancing quality of practice right now, because it's only been a year and a half and we haven't gotten to the others yet.

I mentioned that we were funding some work from a consortium of early childhood professional organizations. We're funding the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which is the largest early childhood organization in the country, to lead the work. Not to own it, but to convene a group of other professional organizations. They're starting that to really think about these competencies and come to an agreed upon set of competencies for the field. We've also funded some work at Berkeley to do a kind of state-by-state analysis of policies around the workforce. What are the state policies that could be supportive, or not? What does that look like?

Under enhancing the quality of practice is probably our biggest initiative, because it's based very much in a kind of place-based strategy. We decided that we were in New York City. We're not a local foundation. We're a national foundation, but we're based in New York, and we were in the midst of the mayor's universal pre-K initiative and we thought we'd be silly not to take advantage of that laboratory in our backyard. On the other hand, we only committed $2 million and if you know anything about New York City with its one million kids, you know that $2 million can go in half an hour. We thought, let's have a place-based strategy; let's look at some communities, maybe by resources. We looked at low-, medium-, and high-income areas. Remember, this is a universal program so that there are new pre-K settings around. Let's see if we can understand our implementation questions. How is this program being implemented in these different areas, and see if there is a difference in these resourced areas.

We weren't sure how to do that, but we pulled together; at this point we have now about 30 researchers, local researchers, including folks from near who come over representing about eight colleges who've been funded in about seven studies to look deeply at this work. I'm most proud, not that the researchers are doing the work, but that they developed the questions and negotiated the research across the table from the New York City officials. Folks from the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Children's Services had to decide what their questions were. That's a really interesting negotiation. It's not easy to get public officials to figure out what their questions are, because they have a task and they just want to do their task. They've got to get the kids in the seats, they've got to get the teachers hired. This is a luxury to have questions.

Trying to get that dialogue going and then trying to get them to realize that some things that they think they know, they don't know. How do you know this? You know this because you think you know this. Do you really have data? Oh, yeah, we have data. No, you don't. A week later you find out there are no data on this. Going back and forth in that kind of dialogue is interesting.

This is an interesting dialogue that I think a lot of researchers are trying to deal with. I'm on the board of SREE, the Society for Research and Educational Effectiveness. These are our hardcore randomized control trial people who want to make sure that their work has an impact on policy, but have no idea how to talk to policymakers. We just finished our spring conference, where we brought in practitioners and policy people and had real conversations. I think it's the co-creation of the research question that is a really novel but important thing, because it's wonderful for researchers to have great questions that they can research. If they don't have any meaning to policy people, you can't force a policy person to say this is a good thing. They don't care. If they are so focused on the methodological nuance in the research, they're gone. They've glazed over. They're gone. They need to know one page, a couple of bullets, the summary, and basically how should I vote. What should I do? How should I vote? How do I do this?

It's a really interesting way to bring them together and try to understand that. We're trying to, one, figure out how we can get some good research done for New York so they will understand how this program is working so that when they have their evaluation, and they're having their regular evaluation, they can explain why it's a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. We're also trying to understand that process, that dialogue between researchers and policy folks. That's a really interesting piece for us. I think most of our work has been in that area.

We have a young scholars program in which we're trying to support folks who are pretty new to the world of research. These are basically folks who have a PhD. I think you have to be no more than five years out from getting your doctorate. To figure out how we can support them to get research done. I was telling Wanda it's so interesting to think about where people are, because we've learned a lot about how you can do research based on where you're sitting. If you're at NYU and you've got a lot of support and we can give you some more support, you're in great shape. If you're at Michigan, that's great. If you're at the City University and you're teaching nine courses a year, life is a little difficult. I can buy out half of your time and you still have four courses you're teaching. How we provide support and talk to the folks in higher ed about that is a real challenge. Our young scholars program is very interesting, also.

The last piece is improving preparation. We were really thinking that, unless we can make a dent in what's going on in higher ed, we really can't get a lot done. We're waiting. We have a report coming. We funded the City University of New York, because we thought, here we are with this preschool program. What do we need? We need a good cadre of teachers to supply this program. For what seems like a long time to me, probably about six months, faculty from all 11 campuses of the CUNY system have been meeting to talk about their early childhood programs and to reflect on those programs and see whether or not they think there are big changes that they need. We're going to get some of that and then we can see how to move forward.

The interesting thing is that the new chancellor at CUNY is from Nebraska and he instituted the Buffett Early Childhood Center at Nebraska. Sam Meisels is out there, and Michael knows Sam. I told him, we'll pay you to do this planning and then you can go ask Susie Buffett for the real money to get the projects done.

That's where we are, and that's my quick and dirty overview of things. If there are questions and comments, I'm ready. Thank you. (Applause.) Yvette has a question.

(Yvette from audience) - I do. Thank you, darling. It was fantastic. You talk a lot about the fragmentation, asking the right question. That's exactly on it. In New York in particular, and then just about everywhere in the country, there are so many people trying to attack the very things you're talking about. Again, tragically, there's so much fragmentation. You're doing brilliant work. What is it that would cause more of these small organizations to work coherently with what you're doing so that we don't continue this death by a thousand blows?

Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D., President and CEO, Foundation for Child Development - I think that's exactly right. What we don't want to be is working in isolation. We have pulled together a network of New York City funders to talk about the kind of work we're doing and their work. We've mapped out the work in early childhood that a bunch of funders in New York are doing, and we're trying to figure out how we can support each other. This is just for the New York City work. Some of them are quite local. Still, there's work going on all over the place, so we're trying to have more dialogue across these foundations, thinking about what's your interest? I'm working in CUNY, what are you doing? How do we make sure that we have one big grant? We had some folks from Viking come in to our meeting with our researchers and they want to fund something. I said, you've got to sit here and listen to it and see if this is what you were interested in. I think they will probably be funding a few more projects. I think it's doing the work, but also coming to another level where you actually pull people together.

We've had to, as a foundation, pull together folks who were doing work on the workforce in different ways. We've had a couple of sessions with the National League of Cities, the National Association of School Boards of Education, and NAEYC. NAEYC has an affiliate structure. The League of Cities is working with groups of mayors around early childhood issues. The school boards are really interested in now getting back into this area. We're saying if we can find two places where you're all working together, then let's see how we can maximize the resources for everybody.

You're right; it's a matter of trying to pull together the higher ed folks, trying to pull together funders, trying to pull together federal and local resources. At the federal level, I think there's always this attempt. There's been a huge attempt to pull together ed and HHS, because together they really own the early childhood space. It's not easy. It's just not an easy thing. Things will change in a few months, but I think you have to figure out what the big system looks like. You can't sit back and say, I'm just doing this project. I have to understand what the bigger system—and you have to actually get on the phone and call people and say, we're doing this, what are you doing, can you make it work?

We're always eager to know what other people are doing in this space so that we can at least inform and hopefully collaborate. When you are a small foundation, you actually have to collaborate. There's a national group of Early Childhood Funders Collaborative. We meet together to talk about the kind of work we're doing nationally, the kind of focus we have, and how we can better coordinate that. It's not easy. Andie?

Andrea DeBruin-Parecki, Principal Research Project Manager, ECRA, ETS - When I was listening to you speaking about the workforce and then having to have specific kinds of qualifications, high quality, it reminded me a lot of our standards report, because we just sort of touched the surface on, should we have national early learning standards for pre-K. At even a very basic level, that would assure our children are all learning the things that research shows us they need to learn. We got a tremendous amount of pushback. Some of it was political, because states are still not real sure how they want to do that, but a lot of it came from diverse groups saying, can there be these kinds of standards. Will they work for our populations? I'm wondering the same thing about teachers and the workforce, and if that pushback would also come there.

Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D., President and CEO, Foundation for Child Development - It's interesting. I did a webinar a couple of weeks ago, and we did these polling questions and asked folks what they thought about a single, agreed upon set of standards. I would say about 85% of the folks said this is probably a good thing. However, the question was, who should do these standards? I think just about everybody said not the government. I think it's, yeah, the standards are important, but for teachers one of the things that we've said to the groups of folks we're meeting, you can't decide on a set of competencies that now get rid of diversity in the workforce. You can do that pretty easily. You can do that. You can't decide it's a BA, because, honestly, we have a real distinction between the certification, and the degree, and the competencies.

I don't think we're at a point right now where we could actually say that the degree or the certification means that the person has competencies. They just don't. They have a degree; they've got certifications. I don't know if they're competent or not. If you ask any principal or superintendent in this school district that's paying a lot of their money in professional development, they will tell you where they can hire people who have the competencies. They all may have degrees, but there's a real distinction. What we'd like to get is closer to a point where if you've got the degree, it means you have competencies. I think you have to think about diversity. You have to think about the ways in which people will demonstrate those competencies, and whether or not it all comes down to a degree. The report is somewhat controversial because we did say we thought that there should be a BA. We did that not because there is any research that said that was the case. We were very clear. We're going off script. This is the Academy saying there is no research here, but we are saying that at some point there has to be a professionalization of the field. At some point this has to mean that these folks have some kind of degree requirement.

Andrea DeBruin-Parecki, Principal Research Project Manager, ECRA, ETS - Just to respond to that. What I would say in response to that is, if you had a national set of learning standards, to me, it's more about how they're implemented than the actual standards themselves that we took the beating for. I think there are things that young children need to learn, but it's how we teach them those things that brings in more of the culture, diversity, and issues that people are very sensitive about.

Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D., President and CEO, Foundation for Child Development - Yeah. I think that's right. Before all of the backlash to Common Core, people thought that was a good idea to have a core set of standards. Then we would have at least a bar that we couldn't go below. It didn't say anything about how you implement, and that may have been part of the demise of that initiative. Yeah.

(Audience Participant) - Thank you. Jacqueline, in your research have you done any studies where they look at the educational level of parents in terms of being able to continue the education process with their children? They may be at a kindergarten, first grade level in their own education. What studies have been done to prove that the support for the parents needs to be there, as well? You talked about home visiting. When the home visiting takes place, is it a dual process with helping the parent to understand the student's work? How is that approach taken?

Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D., President and CEO, Foundation for Child Development - Let me answer first the business of parents' educational level. We've got a lot of surveys that use mother with a high school diploma as a real factor. That's a bar, and there's data that say that makes a difference. Yes, that can make a real difference. Home visiting is typically for younger children—infants, toddlers—and in that case you have folks coming into the home and working with parents on how you just interact with kids. That may be something that wasn't an experience of those parents, so it's very hard for them to give that when they don't know what it looks like. You're trying to really engage parents in just having a kind of bond, a relationship, putting together an environment that is nurturing and supportive.

We get to a point where for some parents these things are so understood. I've told this story a lot, but I'm going to tell it again. This is probably very early in my tenure at ETS. I used to go to the Y, the Princeton Y. Thank you very much. I would go very early because I had to be on time for work. There was an infant swimming class that would be letting out just as I was getting dressed to come to work. I would stay in this little area and listen because these parents would talk to these infants. They would say, "You were fabulous. What a great job you did. This was the best. You're so good." There was just this affirmation, after affirmation, after affirmation, after affirmation. These are infants. There are some parents who would think, why would you talk to this infant? They can't talk back to you. They have no idea. That sense of being able and understanding that as an infant you need that affirmation, is an important thing. It's something that we can't assume that every parent understands or has.

I have not met parents who don't want to do the best for their children. I have not met those people. In their own way, they're struggling with their own issues in many ways, but they're trying desperately to do what's best. If you can have, as Geoffrey Canada had his Baby College where pregnant women would come in and have these conversations about, what does it look like, what do I do, I think that's where we say we start early. That's when we start early, but it matters what parents know about those kinds of interactions. It matters a lot.

(Audience Participant) - Earlier in your talk you were talking about a unification of the workforce in terms of, I don't want to say credentialing, but having the right experience to be able to teach the various levels, particularly in preschool. More money needs to go it. I guess the question that I have has to do more with whether what you're thinking is a model of socialized education. There's a bigger problem that certain districts see the resources and other districts don't. How do you break that inequity, and who controls it? Is it the feds? Is it the state? What are the implications on pedagogy across all of this?

Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D., President and CEO, Foundation for Child Development - I was not thinking about socialized education. You got me thinking about socialized education. I'll think about it a little more. We are thinking about a set of adults who are charged with instruction, the design of instructional programs, the delivery of instruction, and it doesn't matter where they are. It doesn't matter if they are in stunningly low-resourced areas. It doesn't matter if they're in Head Start. It doesn't matter if they're in childcare. It doesn't matter, so where they are is irrelevant. The fact is that if they have a title of lead teacher, or coach, or assistant teacher, we're saying there should be a set of competencies that they have met and that we know that they are able to do that work. I think what we see now is such variability across these titles, that you don't know what people know, and on the job you find out. What we see, though, is in low-resourced areas we're not getting those people who have the competencies, so there is the distribution of qualified, competent folks is uneven. Sometimes it's clear, and we're going to be studying some of that in New York, too, that the low resource areas get the least experienced teachers.

Our education system is based on taxing property. As long as that's the case, that's going to be a real issue. It's interesting, because for the K-12 system the federal government pays maybe 10% for education for the states. It's really amazing that the states listen to anything that the federal government has to say, because it's really not that much. It is a lot of money, it's just a small proportion. It's just the reverse for early childhood. If you're looking at children birth to five, that money from Head Start, and childcare, and IDEA is huge. It means a lot. It's just recently that states have started to look in their own coffers and say, a-ha, we should be paying for this in localities.

What I'm thinking when I talk about these competencies is that you would have a more equitable set of folks in these places where they're needed most, because we would all understand what those competencies are instead of having the least experienced and the least trained, and those folks who are in some cases promising to get skilled. Does that answer your question? Because I wasn't think about social (doesn't finish sentence).

(Audience Participant) - Another question for the younger ages. There's such a high turnover in preschools, that how do you retain them? How do you retain a good teacher who is having a hard time living off the salary that they earn?

Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D., President and CEO, Foundation for Child Development - That's why we're thinking this is not an issue that's going to be met tomorrow. This is probably a ten-year initiative, because it's the competencies, but also the compensation that's appropriate for those competencies. You can't ask people to go and train and develop these competencies and then you pay them minimum wage. Of course you're going to have turnover. When we started the AVID preschool program it was really clear that one of the great attractions was that all of these teachers, whether they were in Head Start or private provider settings, were going to be paid pretty much at parity with public schoolteachers. This was huge. It doubled people's salaries.

The turnover that you see in a lot of these early childhood settings is just for that reason. They go through training, and you hear this from folks who are directing these centers. We put money in professional development, we train folks, they went to school, they got a degree and they left. They had to leave. They could not stay. They couldn't support their families. As long as we have this disjunction between competencies and compensation, we're going to see that. It's a total disruption, which is one of the reason New Jersey's been stable, because we don't see that kind of turnover in the private provider, Head Start, or school-based settings because they're getting paid the same salaries. Michael?

Michael Nettles, Senior Vice President and Edmund Gordon Chair, PERC and ECRA, ETS - Jacqueline, thank you for your wonderful presentation and for all that you're doing. You've talked about the distinction between what the states pay and what the federal government pays for K-12. One other important distinction is, the K-12 education in the country is compulsory. Preschool, like higher education, is voluntary. The government has a huge role to play in supporting higher education for high-need people. The Pell grant is a big example. In preschool it's Head Start would be a corollary, even though the money is paid to the states and distributed, and so on.

You experienced the same sort of thing in your role in New Jersey when you were working for the Department of Education with the AVID districts, the government subsidizing preschool for high-need people. I know that when you were in Washington, Head Start was through Health and Human Services, not the Department of Education. You must have had some relationship, given your role. If you were to look at those as being critical avenues for high need people in the country, what would you say is missing, and what would you say are the strengths of those efforts, and what would you say needs to be given some attention?

Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D., President and CEO, Foundation for Child Development - Efforts such as Head Start?

Michael Nettles, Senior Vice President and Edmund Gordon Chair, PERC and ECRA, ETS - Or any public subsidized federal government or state government subsidized preschool. You were starting to make the point, also, that there is a level of preschool education that is really successful, or viewed to be successful. We don't know necessarily how successful, but it's the unsubsidized which is out of reach for parents of high need.

Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D., President and CEO, Foundation for Child Development - I think what I would envision is not compulsory early education, but access. You would have access, so that everyone would have access. I think what we have right now, as I've said before, these multiple funding streams. I think if there's one thing, that if I could wave a magic wand I would pull these funding streams together in a way that allowed people to really run programs. I think that what we have is a system that actually runs counter to effective program implementation. If you're in Head Start and you're low income, and that's what you get access to, that's fine. You've got a certain criteria. I think it's 130% of poverty.

On the other hand, if you are in a state-funded preschool there may not be any kind of income requirement, or it may vary from place to place. For me, and I'm not sure if I'm answering you, it is, how do you pull all these together? We had to, in New Jersey, pull together a system that was not just school-based. It was money from the state, but we couldn't have done it with money from the state by itself. We had to have the Head Start funds. When Head Start programs were going to be part of AVID preschool we would say, okay, you get X dollars per child. Let's say a Head Start program would get $8,000 per child. We thought the program that they needed to be able to run was going to cost $13,000 per child. We would say, here's $5,000 per child and we can design a program that can be effective.

It was not easy. They had two separate audits. They had the state audit; they had the Head Start audit. They had Head Start requirements; they had state requirements. We met constantly with the Head Start folks trying to make this easier, but we had folks who said in Head Start programs, you're going to pay our teachers to go to school and then you're going to pay them at parity with public schoolteachers, which is great. You're going to give us $5,000 extra per child, which is great. You know what? We don't want to be part of this program, because we can't do all this paperwork. We can't take all these audits. We just can't do it.

For me, the biggest piece is that fragmentation of all of this money. When we did the Race to the Top competition the first part of the application was for states to do a landscape to look at their resources. For many states, they'd never looked at what they get from childcare, and Head Start, and IDEA, all of their money, and figure out how to pool their money in more effective ways. That was an interesting exercise, but the federal government still has multiple conflicting regulations for these folks. It is a real challenge for them to do this.

When you pull together a program, the programs are expensive, and that's the bottom line. They're going to cost. If you think about, what should preschool cost; you should think, what do we pay for kindergarten? What do we pay for first through second grade? That's what you'll probably be paying for the preschool program. They're not cheaper. They're not. How do you get that money? It requires now that you pull together this fancy, complicated mess. In most cases the people who are most successful in making these programs work are bending things a little bit and people are looking the other way.

For example, we know that it is probably better, or we think it's probably better, to have kids in programs from mixed areas, from mixed income areas. Head Start, you have all the poor kids sitting together in this program. Head Start absolutely prohibits you from getting other kids in these programs. While they say, yes, it would be a lovely idea, we had a superintendent who decided that he was going to do his own distribution of kids. He was putting kids who had really high incomes into Head Start programs. Now the phone rings and the Head Start people are saying we can't do this because the federal government says we're not giving you money for those children. It's that kind of thing. You talk to Lamar Alexander and tell him that what we need is a serious initiative to pull all these resources together under one kind of criteria, one set of criteria.

Michael Nettles, Senior Vice President and Edmund Gordon Chair, PERC and ECRA, ETS - I want to thank you again for being here. Could you conclude on just a comment about your new organization? You've landed in a very important place to the people who are researchers in the country. Can you tell us what's most exciting to you about this?

Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D., President and CEO, Foundation for Child Development - I am not excited about being at a foundation; I'm excited about being at the Foundation for Child Development. I think because we live at this intersection of research, policy, and practice, and that's what's really important to me, that we fund research and we decide what our areas are. We don't take unsolicited proposals; we decide our priority areas. It's important for us that the research that we fund has implications for policy and practice. Otherwise, it's not worth doing. That's a tremendously exciting thing for me to do. I think all of my experiences at ETS, and certainly in Trenton and in Washington, have led to an ability to now be able to play with all my friends in research, policy, and practice. It's a good thing. Thank you. (Applause.)

Michael Nettles, Senior Vice President and Edmund Gordon Chair, PERC and ECRA, ETS - Thank you again for being here. I also want to thank you for your participation in helping us to restart the early childhood center. You may remember that you came and spent a few hours with us when you took a day off from your job in Washington, and spent half a day with us talking about what we should focus on in the new center. Thank you for that, as well. We look forward to continuing our relationship with you, and we'll be having you back more often.

In response to this question about conversations that parents and children are having, I just want to acknowledge that the work that Andrea is trying to develop with—Diego Zapata is here. It's trying to capitalize on some of the investment ETS has made in conversational assessment. She's done some background work and has started working with Diego and his colleagues in R&D, and people at Sesame to think about whether we can make application of these developments and advancements toward this population. We're a long way. We're at the very preliminary stages of thinking through this, but I just wanted to thank you for your question. It's a really important one, and we think that we are trying to make an effort toward addressing it.

I want to thank you all again for coming. Thank you, Jacqueline, for being here, and please have a wonderful, rainy day. (Applause.)

End of Video: Bridging the Birth to 3rd Grade Continuum: Early Care and Education at the Crossroads Transformation

Video Duration: 1:31:50