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Agenda for Early Childhood Education Seminar

Monday, Feb. 3

7:30 a.m. Breakfast

8 a.m. Welcome

  • John Ayers, Cowen Institute, Tulane University

  • Caroline Hendrie, Education Writers Association               

8:15 a.m. Framing Remarks: Why Early Childhood Education Matters

  • Carla Thompson, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

8:30 a.m.  Brain Research on Toxic Stress

What does science tell us about early brain development and how stress can rewire a young child’s mind?

  • Charles Zeanah, Tulane University

Protecting Children From Toxic Stress, David Bornstein, The New York Times
Tackling Toxic Stress, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

9:15 a.m. Zero to Five: The Crucial Years

Panelists will speak for 10-12 minutes each and take questions from attendees after all the presentations are complete.  Introductions: Caroline Hendrie, EWA

  • Dana Suskind, Thirty Million Words, on the childhood language gap and approaches to closing it

  • Natasha Cabrera, University of Maryland, on the assets that minority children bring to preschool

  • Tim Bartik, Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, on the economics of early childhood education

Baby Talk Bonanza, Sara Neufeld, Slate Magazine
Being Black is not a Risk Factor, National Black Child Development Institute
Investing in Kids: Early Childhood Programs and Local Economic Development, Timothy Bartik

10:15 a.m. Break

10:30 a.m. Is Federal Early Childhood Policy Headed in the Right Direction?

What has the Obama administration achieved in the area of early childhood education? What are the pros, cons, and prospects for its current agenda? And how is that agenda playing in the broader policy landscape, federal and otherwise? Officials from current and previous administrations offer contrasting perspectives.

  • Libby Doggett, U.S. Department of Education

  • Grover “Russ” Whitehurst, Brookings Institution

  • Claudio Sanchez, NPR (moderator)

Subprime Learning, New America Foundation
Early Learning Platform, The White House
Doubts About Obama’s Preschool for All and Preschool Proposal Not Based on Sound Research, Grover “Russ” Whitehurst, Brookings Institution
Head Start Childhood Development and Early Learning Framework, U.S. Health and Human Services

11:30 a.m.  Early Childhood and Common Core: The Impact on Young Children

The Common Core State Standards, which aim to ensure students graduate from high school “college and career ready,” were developed with that endpoint in mind.  Some experts see that “backward mapping” approach as fueling a push to emphasize academics at too-early ages. Panelists examine the issue from different angles.

  • Diane Levin, Wheelock College

  • Ralph Smith, Annie E. Casey Foundation

  • Susan Neuman, New York University

  • Liz Willen, The Hechinger Report (moderator)

Changing Times, Changing Play: Why Does It Matter?, Diane Levin
The Word Gap in the Age of Common Core Standards, Susan Neuman
KIDS COUNT Data SnapShot, Annie E. Casey Foundation

12:30 p.m. LUNCH

1:00 p.m. Keynote Speech – Mayor Julian Castro will describe his successful effort to get voters to approve a special tax to pay for early childhood education. Why did he find it important to provide universal preschool in San Antonio, and what does he see for the future?

  • Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio

2 p.m. Financing Early Childhood Education: Research and Advocacy

Scholars and advocates examine funding streams for early learning programs and their relationship to access for children in poverty. Topics include tax credits in Louisiana, social impact bonds in Utah, and resistance to funding early childhood education in Mississippi.

  • W. Steven Barnett, National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers University

  • Janis Dubno, Voices for Utah Children

  • Geoffrey A. Nagle, Erikson Institute

  • Rhea Williams-Bishop, Mississippi Center for Education Innovation

  • Christina Samuels, Education Week (moderator) 

Trends in State Funded Preschool Programs, National Institute for Early Education Research
Goldman Sachs to Finance Early Education Program, William Alden, The New York Times
Using Tax Credits to Promote High Quality Early Care and Education Services, Alliance for Early Childhood Finance
Lessons from Pre-K That Works: Will Mississippi’s Children Finally Move Ahead? Jackie Mader and Annie Gilbertson, The Hechinger Report
State Pre-K Funding – 2013-14 Fiscal Year, Education Commission of the States

3:30 p.m. How I Did the Story

Reporters describe their experiences in covering issues around early childhood education and suggest ideas for future coverage.

4:30 p.m. Seminar Takeaways

Reporters talk about ideas to take back to their newsrooms for examining the topics covered by the day’s sessions. What are promising angles for stories? What questions should be asked? Facilitator: Emily Richmond, EWA

Tuesday, Feb. 4

7:30 a.m. Breakfast at the hotel

8 to 11:30 a.m. Site Visits

Participants visit early childhood care and education sites.

  • Educare New Orleans – Educare New Orleans is part of a network of 18 centers across the country that target low-income families. It’s a cutting-edge model that provides high-quality care for 150 children from ages six weeks to 5 years. The New Orleans site also is part of an experimental effort by the Bayou District Foundation to provide mixed housing, social services, and eventually a K-8 charter school and public high school. Educare and Bayou District Foundation officials will discuss the New Orleans’ effort and the national picture with reporters.
  • Kids of Excellence Child Development Center – The child care center is a small operation that underwent Agenda for Children’s Bridge to Quality review, which helps small operators improve their sites. The centers receive assistance in upgrading their equipment, skills in business practices, and training for their teachers in ideal practices. You’ll hear from owner Kristi Givens and experts from Agenda for Children’s Bridge to Quality program.
  • Royal Castle Child Development Center – Royal Castle is an “Act 3” pilot site for Louisiana’s new grading system for early childhood education. Children attending the child care centers that are part of the pilot network will be evaluated as they enter kindergarten for readiness. The child care centers will be graded on how well prepared their students are for school. Royal Castle also provides an arts-based health program called Eat Sleep Play, conducted by the Louisiana Children’s Museum and part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative.

11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunch and Debriefing

Participants receive guidance on characteristics of high-quality programs and share views on site visits.

  • Angela Keyes, Tulane University

1:30 p.m. ADJOURN