BUILD Initiative Blog | What We're Reading - April 2
Strong Foundations For Our Youngest Children

BUILDing Strong Foundations

BUILD Initiative Blog



Impact of Immigration on Young Children

Large numbers of immigrant children and their families are experiencing serious problems - inadequate education, poor physical and mental health, and poverty. Although participation in early childhood education programs can offset some of these problems, immigrant children attend such programs at lower rates than children of U.S.-born citizens. These factors have contributed to significant achievement disparities between immigrant children and non-immigrant children.

New America: What is Heightened Immigration Enforcement Doing to U.S. Schools?

The Trump administration’s immigration crackdown has intensified fears of deportation among immigrant communities—and new research suggests the feeling is also creeping into the nation’s schools. In a recent multi-state survey of over 5,400 educators conducted by the UCLA Civil Rights Project, teachers, principals, and school staffers share harrowing accounts of students who are distressed and distracted due to the uptick in immigration enforcement.

“Our school has focused on being a place of safety,” one principal told the researchers. “But it's clear that our students walk in our doors carrying the weight of uncertainty over their futures and the futures of their loved ones.”  

Health Equity

Our goal is to build early childhood systems that are comprehensive, of high quality and that promote equitable outcomes. In addition, our work in this area underscores the urgency of proactive timing in the first five years of life.

Children’s Environmental Health Network and Learning Disabilities Association of America: Eliminating Lead Risks in Schools and Child Care Facilities

This report is the first to set strategic priorities for reducing lead exposure in learning environments. Cleaning up these large-group settings offers great potential to prevent lead risks for significant numbers of children. The report is the result of a workshop convened by the Children’s Environmental Health Network, Healthy Schools Network and the Learning Disabilities Association of America, and is being released during National Public Health Week and the day after National Healthy Schools Day.

Suspension and Expulsion

Many factors contribute to the high rate of expulsion and suspension in early learning settings and to the disproportionate representation of children of color, particularly African American boys, in the group of children who are expelled or suspended. These factors include: high teacher/child ratios, inadequate professional development related to addressing challenging behaviors, inadequate knowledge of child development about what is or is not developmentally appropriate, implicit racial biases, and the impact of stress and adverse experiences on young children. Reducing and eliminating young child expulsion and suspension from early learning settings requires multiple, coordinated approaches that address its root causes – approaches that BUILD is working with states to implement. 

Child Trends: Research shows the need for continued federal leadership on school discipline

The White House has proposed that a new school safety commission review whether to rescind current federal guidance that clarifies schools’ legal obligations to avoid race-based discrimination in school discipline. The announcement follows recent debates over federal enforcement of civil rights laws, and whether suspensions and expulsions are needed to maintain order and safety. It also comes at a time when state legislators are forging ahead with legislative proposals to reduce suspensions for nonviolent behaviors, and to encourage the use of preventative strategies such as positive behavioral interventions and supports and restorative practices.

Early Learning

Children must reach critical health and well-being benchmarks in order to thrive, be ready for kindergarten, and read at grade level by third grade. BUILD knows 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, and quality early care and education. That is why  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

U.S. Department of Education: “Voices from the Field” Interview with Bentley Ponder

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Blog recently interviewed Bentley Ponder, the director of research and evaluation for Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). In the interview, available on the OSERS Blog, Ponder shares his experiences connecting the evidence base with program and policy decisions, and how this can benefit any early childhood system.

LinkedIn Articles: Behind the Licensing Practices That Keep Kids Safe

Nearly every day the news is filled with stories of children not being safe in schools and discussions about the laws needed to best keep them safe. In child care settings, regulation, monitoring, and enforcement are crucial government functions that protect our youngest children—often babies. All states have an agency whose main function is to regulate child care. They issue licenses that indicate the child care setting has met a set of regulatory requirements and is operating legally in the state. Within the early care and education system, licensing requirements apply to the largest number of providers who care for millions of children from birth to school age.

New America: Degrees and Credentials for Early Childhood Educators: Inching Towards A Consensus

It’s dangerous to extrapolate from a few data points, but almost all authors in this series so far agreed that attaining higher degrees and credentials is an important part of an early childhood educator’s preparation. Notably, these voices include practitioners and leaders in a family child care, center-based program, and a public school system. The apparent agreement among them belies recent headlines from major news outlets questioning the wisdom of requiring early childhood educators to have a college degree.

New America: Tracking the Enrollment of Dual Language Learners in Early Ed

To serve young dual language learners (DLLs) equitably, early care and education (ECE) leaders must first have data on who these children are. As DLL researcher Alexandra Figueras-Daniel recently wrote, “Without consistency on even the identification of who is a DLL and who is not, states cannot determine clear-cut policies to support these children in a systematic way… Data on enrollment [are] crucial if states are to make sound decisions about how and where to allocate resources supporting DLLs.”

Because of its influence on a wide variety of life-course outcomes, educational attainment is arguably the most important long-term outcome of early childhood interventions (ECIs). Low educational attainment (i.e., high school credential or less) is a major risk factor for all 7 health metrics of the American Heart Association (e.g., hypertension, smoking, and obesity), economic disparities, criminal behavior, and mental health problems. For these reasons, educational attainment is the leading social determinant of health in Healthy People 2020. Early childhood interventions are one of the most promising and consequential of all prevention programs, but few, if any, studies have examined the entire spectrum of education from high school dropout to postsecondary success, primarily because of the lack of follow-up beyond 25 years of age, when continuing education is prevalent.

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