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9 – Quotes on Quality

Quotable comments from national early education experts.

The CPQ tool provides reliable cost calculations and funding so you can respond to questions about the costs of implementing high-quality preschool with confidence. These quotes are included in our CPQ Communications Toolkit designed to you describe CPQ estimates and explain why investing in high-quality preschool programs is worthwhile.

Why Quality Matters in Pre-K

“Expansion of public pre-K is only a worthwhile public investment if children receive a high-quality education. Unfortunately, even many of the states that have chosen to fund pre-K have not committed sufficient resources to fund a high-quality program.” – W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., senior co-director National Institute of Early Education Research, Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

“Establishing a high-quality UPK program is a critical first step toward creating equity in access to early education and ensuring that all children begin kindergarten with an equal opportunity to succeed.” — W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., senior co-director National Institute of Early Education Research, Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

”It would be particularly dangerous for the public and policymakers to ignore the evidence that policies which encourage poor quality child care can actually harm the development of children.” — W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., senior co-director National Institute of Early Education Research, Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

“Rigorous studies find that strong preschool education programs can meaningfully enhance early learning and development and thereby produce long-term improvements in school success and social behavior that generate benefits to individuals and the broader society far exceeding costs.” — W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., senior co-director National Institute of Early Education Research, Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

Investing

“(S)tate pre-K is still far from where it needs to be to ensure that all children receive a high-quality education during the year (or two) before kindergarten.” – W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., senior co-director National Institute of Early Education Research, Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

“Child care subsidies and tax credits currently do little to improve the quality of early learning programs and can even encourage the use of poor quality ECE.” – W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., senior co-director National Institute of Early Education Research, Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

“Increased public investment in early learning is a pro-growth strategy that can reduce overall government expenditures.” – W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., senior co-director National Institute of Early Education Research, Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

“Early childhood finance reform should be pursued as part of a broader set of policies to increase collaboration and coordination across agencies for children birth to 8 so as to improve program effectiveness.” – W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., senior co-director National Institute of Early Education Research, Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

“If the US public was more convinced of the educational value of pre-K, would we see more state and local financial resources being invested? It seems likely” – Richard Kasmin, NIEER

“We long ago decided an educated public was an outcome worth the shared expense of providing public schools. Today, research points to preschool as a key public investment for the future. We should embrace early education as an integral entry point for a lifetime of learning and make sure that we put in place all of the elements required to get the best return on our investment.” Richard Kasmin, NIEER

Costs and Benefits

“Given this return on investment, providing support for early education is more prudent than waiting until high school when issues are often more difficult to remediate. As resources in our state grow tighter and more demands are made on them, we have to be wise about our investment decisions. After all, it is far easier to prevent the achievement gap than to try to close it.” — Brian Bucher, PNC regional President, Alabama School Readiness Alliance’s Pre-K Task Force Members AL.com; June 6, 2016

“Pre-K pays off so well because we pay a high price for failure, particularly in a time when even children from middle-income families have much too high a chance of needing long-term special education or dropping out of school.” W. Steven Barnett, Ph.d., senior co-director National Institute for Early Education Research

 “In order to expect the level of positive impact that was achieved by these programs [e.g. widely-cited Perry Preschool, Abecedarian projects, and the Chicago Child-Parent Centers], contemporary scaled-up programs may need to be funded at the same levels with similarly-credentialed teachers.” W. Steven Barnett, Ph.d., senior co-director National Institute for Early Education Research

Teachers

“Young children’s learning and development depend on the educational qualifications of their teachers.” – Diane Schilder, Ed.D., Principal Research Scientist, Education Development Center, Inc.

“High-quality preschool education depends on effective, high-quality teachers.” –W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D. Senior Co-Director, National Institute for Early Education Research

 “Preschool programs employing teachers with four-year college degrees have been shown to be highly effective and good economic investments for the taxpayer.” –W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D. Senior Co-Director, National Institute for Early Education Research

“Teachers with at least a bachelor’s degree are more likely to aptly approach instruction—they are more sensitive, less punitive, and more engaged.” (IOM & NRC, 2015; Whitebook, 2003)

“There is general agreement among experts in the field of child development that the quality of classroom interactions between teacher and child contributes substantially to children’s learning and development.” (Bowman, Donovan, & Burns, 2001)

Class Size and Student-Teacher Ratios

“Common sense suggests that smaller classes and higher staff child ratios are better for young children, allowing more individual attention, reducing the time and effort devoted to classroom management, and reducing the number of stressful interactions.” – W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., Senior Co-Director, National Institute for Early Education Research

“Teaching young children requires immense energy and relentless attention. When there are fewer children in the room, the teacher has more time to devote to each child, and managing the group requires less teacher time. As a result, teachers have opportunities to have longer conversations with each child.” – W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., Senior Co-Director, National Institute for Early Education Research

“In smaller classes, children are more likely to be engaged in learning activities and less likely to disrupt class.” – W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., Senior Co-Director, National Institute for Early Education Research

“Preschool programs with much smaller class sizes (and higher ratios) than are commonplace today have produced much larger educational gains than are commonly experienced. Moreover, they have done so while generating economic benefits that exceeded their costs.” – W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., Senior Co-Director, National Institute for Early Education Research

Early Learning and Development Standards

“Some professionals within our ranks still bristle at the notion of standards applied to the early years, yet there is general agreement that standards as a statement of shared expectations is a positive long-awaited development.”
–NIEER Senior Research Fellow Jim Squires Ph.D.

 “Today, educators and leaders are faced with the challenge of building a developmentally appropriate primary school without sacrificing the academic rigor needed to support young children in achieving success in school and beyond.” – NIEER Associate Research Professor Shannon Riley-Ayers, Ph.D.

“It is unwise to blithely accept prior purposes and uses as a given, without considering advances in research, changes in the political context, and changes in the early childhood programs or systems using the ELDS.” — Catherine Scott-Little, Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Greensboro (lead author)

“Standards are not simply scientific, value-driven, or political documents; they incorporate all three. As such, serious consideration must be given to the process used, with standards development and revision regarded as a shared enterprise that is not the purview of any single sector (e.g., health, education, welfare), role (e.g., scholars, practitioners, politicians, parents), or individual. Rather, the total process must be inclusive…”  — Catherine Scott-Little, Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Greensboro (lead author)


Continuous Quality Improvement Systems

“Beyond monitoring programs, CQIS requires that each classroom receives an annual structured observation of classroom quality in order to gauge quality on a valid and reliable measure, and critically, information from the observation is used to help teachers improve their classroom practices.” –The State of Preschool 2016 (Barnett, Friedman-Krauss 2017)

“CQI is a data-driven process used to create an environment that supports ongoing reflection and change that can support program improvement and build program capacity over time.” —A Blueprint for Early Care and Education Quality Improvement Initiatives (2015)

“Research confirms that adults learn best when they have the opportunity to practice applying new knowledge and skills in the presence of a supportive coach or consultant who can scaffold their learning.” —A Blueprint for Early Care and Education Quality Improvement Initiatives (2015)

Administration

“Leaders at the state level—found across offices and agencies–must be committed to breaking out of professional silos to enable educators to work collaboratively.” – Shannon Riley-Ayers, Ph.D., NIEER Associate Research Professor

“While many chiefs are leading and contributing to early childhood innovations in their states, they are also charting a new course for education reform, based on a new goal of preparing all students to graduate with requisite skills and knowledge to succeed in postsecondary education and employment. As they advance this strategy, there are multiple ways to link and align emerging early childhood and public education reform efforts.” – Council of Chief State School Officers, policy report “A Quiet Crisis” 2009

“Importantly, aligning ECE and K–12 policies is not a one-time project. It is a continuous process that requires governance structures that are charged to ensure systematic communication among leaders across the birth-to-12th grade continuum, develop a coherent strategy for improving student achievement, and promote collaboration between early learning and public education leaders.” – National Governors Association 2012 

“Just as educator competencies provide a guide for assessing how well-prepared teachers are to perform their jobs, the field should expect those working with and on behalf of educators to have certain skills and knowledge to effectively carry out their duties.” – Early Care and Education Leadership and Management Roles: Beyond Homes and Centers (2012)

“As a start, standards of competency for infrastructure staff should address child development and pedagogy for teaching young children, ECE systems, adult learning, organizational development, and advocacy.” – Early Care and Education Leadership and Management Roles: Beyond Homes and Centers (2012)