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Birth to Eight Frameworks


(links to source documents are in the postings below)

1.  New!  Strengthening Early Childhood Education Continuum - Education Commission of the States

2.  New!  "We Have a National Reading Crisis" - EdWeek 

3.  New! Federal, State and Local Child Welfare Expenditures - Child Trends

4.  NewNew Homelessness Among K-12 Students Reaches New High - The 74 

5.  New!  Top Education Topics for States (2019) - Education Commission of the States

6. Children Ready for School and Succeeding at 3rd Grade - Harvard Pathways

7. "A Governor's Guide to Early Literacy" - National Governors' Association 

8. "Why Reading Matters" - U.S. Business Roundtable

9. "The Research Base for Birth Through Eight State Policy Guide" - Child Trends and the Alliance for Early Success

10.  Ready by 5, Reading by 8

11. "Birth to Eight" - BUILD Initiative 

12. "Turning the Page" - Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success 

13, "From Crawling to Walking" Ranking States on Birth–3rd Grade Policies That Support Strong Readers" - New America

14. Three Principles to Improve Family and Child Outcomes - Harvard 

15. Early Childhood Action Guide - National League of Cities 

16. State Level Integration of ECE Programs- Bi-Partisan  Policy Committee 

17. Federal Review of All Early Learning Programs for Children Less Than 6 Years of Age - U.S. DHHS and U.S. DOE

18. Foundation and Public Sector Investments in Birth to Age 5

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Strengthening the Early Childhood Education Continuum
Education Commission of the States
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April 22, 2019

“As few as 15 years ago, early childhood education was defined as serving children from birth to age five. With a growing understanding of how children learn and develop, a paradigm shift began to occur, and many state and national early childhood organizations extended their definition of early childhood education to include children in kindergarten through third grade. Part of this evolution in thought was based on a greater understanding of developmentally appropriate practice, as defined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.”

More than a decade of research suggests that high-quality early childhood education may help close achievement gaps. Separate from some exemplar local programs that align across the continuum from birth to third grade, policymakers are seeking ways to scale similar alignment at the state level. This paper outlines some of these efforts.

Third Grade Reading and Proficiency: Third grade is considered a key turning point as students are transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn. Research finds that 23 percent of students who score below basic on a third-grade reading assessment will either drop out later in their educational career or not complete high school on time; this is compared with 4 percent for students who score proficient in third grade. Research also suggests that early math achievement is predictive of later reading achievement, perhaps even more than early reading skills are. Despite the importance of early math skills, the overall emphasis in state policy remains on reading.

Teacher Preparation Some states require that prospective elementary teachers be taught the science of reading instruction. Even though math instruction and numeracy skills have not received the same focus in state policy, it is important that teachers receive training in these subjects. Teachers who do not have this preparation may undervalue the importance of teaching math in the early years, which can negatively affect students’ academic success.

In a 2014 evaluation of a sample of teacher preparation programs by the National Council on Teacher Quality, 29 percent instructed prospective teachers in the five essential components of literacy education (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension). In 2016, that number increased to 39 percent. Additionally, NCTQ’s 2016 report found that 13 percent ensure prospective elementary teachers receive instruction in early math and numeracy. In Delaware, approved teacher-preparation programs for prospective elementary school teachers must provide instruction on research and evidence-based best practices and strategies for teaching childhood literacy and numeracy.

Pre-K and K-3 Governance: When the experts convened for the Thinkers Meeting in 2016, they asserted the importance of creating a governance infrastructure to maintain efficiency, accountability and a vision to improve short- and long-term educational outcomes for children in early childhood education. Traditionally, states have not had a formal governance structure that has a high-level decision-making ability to influence program alignment across the early childhood education continuum. In most cases, multiple governing entities — including education and human services agencies — contribute to administering these educational programs. The goals and objectives of the agencies for specific programs may not always align, which could ultimately impact quality.

We Have a National Reading Crisis
The reading research insights that every educator should know

EdWeek - By Jared Myracle, Brian Kingsley, & Robin McClellan




March 7, 2019

"If your district isn’t having an “uh oh” moment around reading instruction, it probably should be. Educators across the country are experiencing a collective awakening about literacy instruction, thanks to a recent tsunami of national media attention. Alarm bells are ringing—as they should be—because we’ve gotten some big things wrong: Research has documented what works to get kids to read, yet those evidence-based reading practices appear to be missing from most classrooms."

Here are five essential insights supported by reading research that educators should know—but all too often don’t: 

  • Grouping students by reading level is poorly supported by research, yet pervasive. For example, 9 out of 10 U.S. 15-year-olds attend schools that use the practice.

  • Many teachers overspend instructional time on “skills and strategies” instruction, an emphasis that offers diminishing returns for student learning, according to a Learning First and the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy report this year.

  • Students’ background knowledge is essential to reading comprehension. Curricula should help students build content knowledge in history and science, in order to empower reading success.

  • Daily, systematic phonics instruction in early grades is recommended by the National Institute for Literacy, based on extensive evidence from the National Reading Panel.

  • Proven strategies for getting all kids—including English-language learners, students with IEPs, and struggling readers—working with grade-level texts must be employed to ensure equitable literacy work.

ED Week Reading Crisis 030819.JPG
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Federal, State/Local Child Welfare Expenditures 2016 

Child Trends



February 25, 2019

Child welfare agencies across the United States protect and promote the welfare of children and youth who are at risk of, or who have been victims of, maltreatment. The collective public investment by state and local child welfare agencies totaled $29.9 billion in federal, state, and local funds in state fiscal year (SFY) 2016. To put this amount in context, total federal spending in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2016 was $3.9 trillion (Angres and Costantino, 2017).

Child Trends conducted this 10th national survey of child welfare agency expenditures to promote an understanding of the challenges and opportunities agencies face in serving vulnerable children. This report is part of an array of resources compiled from the survey’s findings. The Child Trends website also contains state-specific resources and detailed information on the following funding sources:

• Title IV-E Spending by Child Welfare Agencies

• Title IV-B Spending by Child Welfare Agencies

• Medicaid Spending by Child Welfare Agencies

• Social Services Block Grant Spending by Child Welfare Agencies

• Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Spending by Child Welfare Agencies

• Spending of Other Federal Funds by Child Welfare Agencies

• Spending of State & Local Funds by Child Welfare Agencies

Key findings:

• Total child welfare agency expenditures increased 5 percent since SFY 2014 but decreased over the past decade

• Child welfare agency spending continues to be predominately financed by state and local sources.

• About half of federal and state/local expenditures by child welfare agencies involved out-of-home placements

• Fewer child welfare agencies focus prevention funding on substance abuse and mental health services than other preventive services.

• Few states were able to report information about their child welfare agency spending on evidence-based practices (EBPs)

Expenditures by Fed State Local Welfare
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Homeless K-12 Student Population Grows to New High 

February 21, 2019

Student homelessness has hit an all-time high following a significant spike over the past three years, with 20 states experiencing a surge of 10 percent or more, new federal data released last week indicate. The data also found that students who experience homelessness are significantly less likely to graduate from high school.

More than 1.3 million public school students experienced homelessness during the 2016-17 school year, a 7 percent increase over three years ago and the largest number ever recorded. Over the past decade, the population of students experiencing homelessness has spiked by a startling 70 percent.

Homeless Students 2019.PNG
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Education Commission of the States

Top Education Issues for States - 2019 


February 18, 2019

February 4, 2019 (original publication date)

(The ECS) tracks much of the information around state education policy — from introduced proposals in state legislatures to priorities mentioned in governors’ State of the State addresses.

Early childhood education — specifically the increasing costs for parents, shifting demographics and lack of alignment among state agencies regulating these programs. In the last year, states have passed legislation that increases fundingaddresses social-emotional learning and reduces government complexities.


K-12 funding — specifically state-funded, full-day kindergarten; innovations in programming and resources across the K-12 spectrum for high-need populations, including special education students, English learners and low-income students; and reporting requirements under ESSA. In the last year, states have passed legislation that expands state funding for full-day kindergarten and allocates more resources to high-need student populations. Now that ESSA requires states to publicly report per-pupil spending at the school level, be on the lookout for 2019 and 2020 per-pupil spending comparisons.

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Harvard Framework

Children Ready for School and Succeeding at Third Grade

Goal 1:  Healthy, Well-Timed Births

Goal 2:  Health and Development on Track

Goal 3:  Supported and Supportive Families

Goal 4:  High Quality Early-Care and Education

Goal 5:  Continuity in Early Childhood Experiences

Goal 6:  Effective Teaching and Learning in K-3 Classroom

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Part I.  Meeting the Imperative to Increase Third Grade Reading Proficiency
Part II.  Promoting Reading Proficiency by Third Grade: The Research-Policy Gap
1. Starting at kindergarten is too late
2. Reading proficiency requires three sets of interrelated skills and knowledge that are taught and cultivated over time 
3. Parents, primary caregivers, and teachers have the most influence on children’s language and literacy development
Part III.  Five Policy Actions to Ensure All Children are Reading by Third Grade
Action 1. Adopt comprehensive language and literacy standards and curricula for early care and education programs and kindergarten through third grade (K-3)
1. Ensure B-3rd grade learning standards reflect the three areas of early language and literacy skills and knowledge
2. Align ECE and K-3 curricula and instruction to the B-3rd learning standards
Action 2 Expand access to high quality child care, pre-kindergarten (pre-K) and full-day kindergarten
2.1 Expand access to high quality child care
2.2 Expand access to high quality pre-K programs
2.3 Expand access to high quality full-day kindergarten
Action 3.  Engage and support parents as partners in early language and literacy skills
1. Invest in programs that increase parents’ capacity to build their children’s language and literacy skills
2. Incorporate parent engagement in existing ECE and K-3 policies, practices, and intervention planning
Action 4.  Equip professional providing care and education with the skills and knowledge to support early language and literacy development.
4.1 Ensure state professional standards for B-3rd teachers and schoolers address all three areas of early language and literacy skills and knowledge
4.2 Increase the rigor of teacher accreditation policies and align them to the B-3rd professional standards
4.3 Raise the bar on ECE staff qualifications
4.4 Building elementary school principals’ capacity to support language and literacy instruction
4.5 Set standards to promote investment in evidence-based professional development
Action 5. Develop mechanisms to promote continuous improvement and accountability
5.1 Strengthen QRIS criteria to promote research-based evidence language and literacy instruction in ECE programs.
5.2 Develop comprehensive B-3rd assessment systems to appropriately measure children’s progress and success, inform instruction, and target interventions as soon as possible
5.3 Use assessment data appropriately to inform research-based interventions for struggling readers
5.4 Develop coordinated ECE and K-12 data systems to support quality improvement
5.5 Build the capacity of state agencies to support B-3rd quality improvement efforts at the program, school, and district levels
Part IV.  What Governors Can Do: Leadership Actions for a Successful B-3rd Literacy Agenda
  • Use the bully pulpit to promote a B-3rd agenda
  • Cultivate cross agency leadership to implement the agenda and communicate results
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U.S. Business Roundtable

1.  Expand Access to High-Quality Pre-K Learning Opportunities.

2.  Offer High-Quality Full-Day Kindergarten that Ensures a Successful Transition to Elementary School.

3.  Use Student Assessments and Data Systems To Track Student Progress.

4.  Equip Educators in Pre-K–Grade 3 To Help Students Become Strong Readers

5.  Require Systematic Interventions for Struggling Readers in Grades K–3.

6.  Coordinate Governance of Pre-K and Grades K–3 To Promote Efficiency and Maximize Impact

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Child Trends &
Alliance for Early Success

The first eight years of life are characterized by a series of critical periods during which development is particularly sensitive to experiences that are largely influenced by children’s health and well-being. The development that occurs within these sensitive periods is often hardwired, and becomes the foundation for all subsequent development."

The policy discussion addresses the following issues:

  • Health Policies

  • Supporting Families

  • Early Learning

  • Standards, Screening and Assessment, and Accountability Systems

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RB5-RB8 Framework

Rosalind Kotz, Ph.D.

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Early Learning - BUILD Initiative
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At the BUILD Initiative, we know that families and communities are the primary source of this foundational support for children. We help state leaders create safe, healthy, nurturing early learning experiences for all children – to better support families and communities. This “whole-systems” approach includes an emphasis on:
  • primary and preventive health care

  • early intervention

  • quality early care and education

With a coordinated, systemic response in each of these areas, families and communities are better able to prepare their children for a lifetime of learning. That is why the BUILD Initiative assists states in focusing on standards and assessment, including kindergarten entry assessmentearly care and education, with a focus on infant/toddler and pre-K services, programs and policies; and family, friend and neighbor care

In addition, BUILD helps states build early learning systems that support quality, including planning, piloting and implementing effective quality rating and improvement systems, or QRIS. We also work with partners to help BUILD states and others create successful outcomes for children from birth to eight. This includes supporting programs and services for children in pre-K to grade three and strengthening early childhood/K-12 alignment.

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1.  Reallocate funds and alter policy to ensure programs are delivered with sufficient intensity and effective implementation tactics—producing measurable success in children’s language and reading.


2.  Programs and providers, including medical professionals, serving babies, preschoolers and school-age children should assess language and reading development, and should regularly evaluate the quality and impact of their services.

3.  Redefine professional education to increase adults’ capacity to assess and support children’s language and reading development.


4.  Bring language-rich, rigorous and engaging reading curricula into early education and care settings, as well as pre-k to third grade classrooms.


5.  Expand and strengthen partnerships with families to focus on improving children’s language and reading.

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Ranking States Birth to 3rd Grade New Am

From Crawling to Walking

Ranking States on Birth–3rd Grade Policies That Support Strong Readers

  1. Educators: Teachers and Leaders

  2. Standards, Assessment, and Data

  3. Equitable Funding

  4. Pre-K: Access and Quality

  5. Full-Day Kindergarten: Access and Quality

  6. Dual Language Learner Supports

  7. Third Grade Reading Laws

This document also provides state-level summaries.  

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3 Principles Improved Outcomes Children

The science of child development and the core capabilities of adults point to a set of “design principles” that policymakers and practitioners in many different sectors can use to improve outcomes for children and families. That is, to be maximally effective, policies and services should:

1.Support responsive relationships for children and adults.

2. Strengthen core life skills.

3.  Reduce sources of stress in the lives of children and families.

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national league of cities early learning
  • Move from knowledge to action using established foundations

  • Becoming an Early Learning Community

  • BUILDING BLOCK #1: Community Leadership, Commitment & Public Will to Make Early Childhood a Priority

  • BUILDING BLOCK #2: Quality Services that Work for All Young Children & Their Families

  • BUILDING BLOCK #3: Neighborhoods Where Families Can Thrive

  • BUILDING BLOCK #4: Policies that Support and Are Responsive to Families

  • INFRASTRUCTURE: Putting the Pieces Together to Build an Early Learning Community


  • Considerations for an Early Learning Community

    • ​Attention to Equity

    • Family Partnerships

    • Focus on Results

State Level Integration of

Early Care and Education Programs

"The Bipartisan Policy Center undertook this study to explore whether states, like the federal government, are making progress toward improved integration and governance in  ECE (early care and education) programs. This issue is important for two reasons. First, support for early childhood programs can only be sustained if the programs are viewed as effective and efficient in their use of public funds. At a time when demand for ECE services continues to far outpace available resources—in many states, thousands of families who are eligible for Head Start or child care assistance can’t access these programs—the case for continued and even expanded investment must be accompanied by a commitment to efficiency, good governance, and a consistent focus on quality assurance and results.

Second, and equally important, fragmentation, bureaucratic inefficiency, and lack of coordination in the administration of ECE programs creates real obstacles to access and results in many children—often including those who are already the most vulnerable—missing out on the support they need. When families have to apply to multiple programs, housed across multiple agencies, often with duplicative paperwork requirements and inconsistent eligibility criteria, many simply give up. Thus, the focus on integration and alignment should not be viewed as a mere academic exercise designed to satisfy abstract notions of organizational efficiency. Rather, these issues matter on the ground, in the everyday lives of families with young children who too often have trouble determining what services they might be eligible for, let alone how to go about accessing them.

As part of this review, BPC compiled information about each state’s specific approaches to organizing, administering, and coordinating ECE programs. Specifically, BPC looked at:

  • The total amount of federal and state funds spent on early childhood development programs.

  • How states are responding to federal requirements, including the coordination requirements set forth in various authorizing statutes.

  • The number of state agencies and divisions within state agencies involved in administering these programs.

  • The institutional housing of related programs and the level of coordination and collaboration that takes place across programs.

  • Whether the state has a functioning early learning state advisory council (SAC) and where that council is housed, if it exists, and, similarly, where the Head Start Collaboration Office is housed.

  • The integration of early childhood data across programs and implementation of quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) at the state level.

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Federal Review of All Early Learning Programs for Children Less Than 6 Years of Age

Among key findings:

  • There are only a handful of programs that represent the core federal investments in early learning.

  • Programs are under-resourced

From the report:  “As Congress noted in its request for this report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified 45 federal programs that provide or may support related services to children under age six, as well as five tax provisions that subsidize private expenditures in this area. The methodology GAO used resulted in the inclusion of programs regardless of whether the primary purpose is early childhood education or what proportion of the funding is expended for early learning.”

In developing this report, HHS and ED reviewed the 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, a 2015 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on early learning programs titled Early Childhood Care and Education: Background and Funding,  and conducted our own analysis. While each used different methodologies, one common theme is that there is only a handful of programs that represent the core federal investments in early learning.

As a result, we think the most effective strategies for improving the delivery of early learning services, should focus on eight core programs:

  • Child Care and Development Fund;

  • Head Start;

  • Early Head Start;

  • Preschool Development Grants;

  • Department of Defense Child Development Program;

  • Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA);

  • Part B, section 619 of the IDEA; and

  • Family and Child Education (FACE).

These early learning programs receive far less funding than is needed to serve all or even a fraction of eligible children or provide the level of resources needed to support and sustain high quality services.

The report findings are aligned with the following issues:






Federal Review of Programs Serving Child
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invest in us foundations supporting bto8

Foundation and Public Sector Investments in Birth to Age 5

This document includes the birth-to-five investments of nearly 50 foundations and private funders. 


Invest in US is committed to bringing elected officials, community leaders, philanthropists, and advocates together to support additional investments in high-quality early learning programs across the country.  Some 40 national organizations have aligned themselves with Invest in US including:

  • American Federation of Teachers

  • National Education Association

  • National Governor’s Association

  • US Conference of Mayors

  • Children’s Defense Fund

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