Subject: Studies in the News 04-54 (August 13, 2004)

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Studies in the News for
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Children and Families Commission

Contents This Week

Introductory Material

   Public preschool in New Jersey
   Closing the achievement gap for disadvantaged children
   New York's two prekindergarten programs
   Academic growth from K through 3rd grade
   Considerations for school readiness
   Children and high blood pressure
   Immunization of toddlers
   Evaluation of the CARES initiative
   TANF and child care allocations
   Innovative WIC practices
   Framing a research agenda for child health disparities
   Managed-care is misunderstood by urban parents
   Schizophrenia in children
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News: Children and Family Supplement is a service provided to the First 5 California by the California State Library. The service features weekly lists of current articles focusing on Children and Family policy. Prior lists can be viewed from the California State Library's Web site at

How to Obtain Materials Listed in SITN:

  • When available on the Internet, the URL for the full-text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:



Case Study: Public Preschool in New Jersey is One Roadmap to Quality. By Betty Holcomb. (National Institute for Early Education Research, New Brunswick, New Jersey) June 2004. 59 p.

Full Text at:

["Over the past five years, New Jersey’s Abbott district preschool program has made remarkable progress. The program, which is without precedent in the nation, emanated from the New Jersey Supreme Court’s landmark 1998 decision in the class-action case brought by the Education Law Center, Abbott v. Burke. In its Abbott rulings, the court required the state address the education needs of the hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged school-age children in 30 urban communities. The court’s rulings went well beyond requiring standards-based education."]

[Request #S3510]

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Judith P. Hoyer Early Care & Education Enhancement Program Evaluation. Submitted to the Maryland Department of Education. (MGT of America, Tallahassee, Florida) January 2004.

["This report, released in July 2004, found that Maryland's Judy Centers help to close the achievement gap for low-income and other disadvantaged children. The report found that children with limited English proficiency and children from low-income households were able to maintain literacy skills, scientific thinking, and appropriate behavior on par with the rest of their peers who were not at risk of school failure. It recommended that the progress of children from the centers continue to be followed through elementary school to determine the sustainability of the gains they have made. Twenty-four state-funded Judy Centers serve 8,000 children in 21 counties in Maryland. The centers emphasize school readiness for children under age five. Judy Centers are required to provide full-day, year-round services, breakfast and lunch, early intervention services, and staff development programs. They have focused on working with other early childhood providers as well as helping improve children and families' access to social services, such as family support and health. The program includes an evaluation process that encourages parental input, and provides for regular parent-teacher conferences to discuss children's progress." National Women's Law Center listserv (August 5, 2004).]

Final Results Brief. 17 p.:

Cover, Table of Contents, Executive Summary, Chapter 1, Chapter 2. 24 p.:

Chapter 3. 43 p.:

Chapter 4. 58 p.:

[Request #S3511]

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The State with Two Prekindergarten Programs: A Look at Prekindergarten Education in New York State, 1928-2003. By Anne Mitchell, Early Childhood Policy Research. (National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey) June 2004. 50 p.

Full Text at:

["New York is unique among the many states with state-funded preschool: it has two contrasting, yet successful programs. Its Experimental Prekindergarten Program (EPK) began in 1966 with only a few thousand students. Developed primarily for disadvantaged children, EPK has developed slowly. The state’s Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) began in 1997 and was implemented quickly and on a large scale. This paper provides a history of the two programs, illuminating the factors leading to the establishment of each and how they have grown closer in recent years. She analyzes the status of the two prekindergarten programs for the 2002-2003 school year, and how both are administered within the same school district. In all, 44 districts in New York administered both EPK and UPK programs simultaneously during the 2002-03 school year. A growing consensus is that districts administer EPK and UPK as one. Yet educators must remain mindful of the differences between them. Over time, EPK has demonstrated that public schools can operate good prekindergarten programs. This experience has, in part, led to the rapid success of UPK. While debate continues, it appears unified administration of both prekindergarten programs thrives in New York."]

[Request #S3512]

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From Kindergarten Through Third Grade: Children's Beginning School Experiences. By Amy Rathburn, Education Statistics Services Institute, and others. (National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, DC) August 2004. 85 p.

Full Text at:

["This report highlights children’s gains in reading and mathematics over their first 4 years of school, from the start of kindergarten to the point when most of the children are finishing third grade. It also describes children’s achievement status in reading, mathematics, and science at the end of third grade. Information is also presented on children’s perceptions of their competence and interests in school subjects, their relationships with peers, and their perceptions about any problem behaviors they might exhibit. Comparisons are made in relation to children’s sex, race/ethnicity, number of family risk factors, kindergarten program type, and the types of schools (i.e., public or private) children attended in the first 4 years of school. It is the fourth in a series of reports from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99."]

[Request #S3513]

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On the Path to School Readiness: Key Questions to Consider Before Establishing Universal Pre-Kindergarten. By Ann Segal and Charles Bruner. (State Early Childhood Policy Technical Assistance Network, Des Moines, Iowa) 2004. 12 p.

["Universal pre-kindergarten is one component of a set of strategies required to improve the school readiness of children. From birth to school entry, children's development in the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical domains is enormous. Parents need support from the beginning to understand the astounding ability of their children to learn and grow and how they can support that process. As the time for formal schooling approaches, parents also need to understand what is expected of them and their children."]

[Request #S3514]

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"The Fourth Report on the Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents." By the National High Blood Pressure Education Program Working Group on High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents. IN: Pediatrics, vol. 114, no. 2 (August 2004) pp. 555-576.

["Given the current epidemic of obesity in children, new guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urge pediatricians to begin blood pressure screenings at age 3." Connect for Kids Weekly (August 10, 2004).]

[Request #S3515]

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"National, State, and Urban Area Vaccination Coverage Among Children Aged 19-35 Months: United States, 2003." By L. Barker and others. IN: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 53, no. 29 (July 30, 2004) pp. 658-661.

["National Immunization Survey (NIS) results for 2003 indicated 'the highest coverage ever for all vaccines,' state the authors of this report.... The authors conclude that 'maintaining the gains in vaccination coverage achieved during the 1990s among these children poses a continuing challenge for public health practitioners.' They state that 'continued vigilance is needed to maintain high levels of coverage, and sustained efforts will be required to reduce geographic disparities in coverage.'"]

[Request #S3516]

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CARES Programs: Present and Future. By Working for Quality Child Care: A Project of United Way of the Bay Area. (The Project, San Francisco, California) May 2004. 11 p.

Full Text at:

["This paper identifies the strengths and challenges of the CARES (Compensation and Recognition Enhance Stability) initiative and the potential role CARES programs can play in communities planning for and implementing universal preschool. These papers resulted from a series of stakeholder meetings convened by Working for Quality Child Care, A Project of United Way of the Bay Area in 2003-2004." Center for the Child Care Workforce Newsletter (August 11, 2004).]

[Request #S3517]

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TANF and Child Care Programs: HHS Lacks Adequate Information to Assess Risk and Assist States in Managing Improper Payments. By the U.S. General Accounting Office. GAO-04-723. (The Office, Washington, DC) June 2004. 72 p.

Full Text at:

["More Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare money is going to cover child care and other work support services than direct cash assistance. The GAO is calling for greater accountability procedures to ensure that the TANF and Child Care Development Fund programs are not improperly allocated." Connect for Kids Weekly (August 10, 2004).]

[Request #S3518]

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Innovative WIC Practices: Profiles of 20 Programs. By Anne Gordon and others, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. (The Service, Washington, DC) June 10, 2004. Various pagings.

Full Text at:

["WIC provides supplemental food, nutrition education, and health and social service referrals to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, as well as to infants and children younger than five. This study describes a range of innovative practices at 20 state or local WIC agencies focusing on breastfeeding promotion and support, nutrition and health education, and service delivery. For each program, the report provides background information and discusses the source of the innovation, key challenges, implementation lessons learned, evidence of success, and the feasibility of replication." Mathematica Update (June 24, 2004).]

[Request #S3519]

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[The following studies, reports, and documents have been ordered or requested, but have not yet arrived. Requests may be placed, and copies will be provided when the material arrives.]



"Child Health Disparities: Framing a Research Agenda." By Ivor Braden Horn, Children’s National Medical Center, and Anne C. Beal, Commonwealth Fund. IN: Ambulatory Pediatrics, vol. 4, no. 4 (July/Aug. 2004) pp. 269-275.

["This article presents a research framework for identifying racial disparities in children's health and health care, determining the root causes of these inequities, and developing effective interventions by researching disparities at the individual, health system, community, and societal levels. Because children have different patterns of disease and wellness than adults, the study of child health disparities needs to take into account these unique characteristics, the authors say. Researchers should concentrate on preventive care, issues of culture and language, and the social determinants of health care, including housing, nutrition, environmental exposures, and stress factors prevalent in low-income communities." The Commonwealth Fund E-Mail Alert (August 3, 2004).]

[Request #S3520]

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"Urban Parents' Knowledge and Practices Regarding Managed Care." By Glenn Flores and others. IN: Medical Care, vol. 42, no. 4 (April 2004) pp. 336-345.

["The study reveals that most inner-city parents surveyed do not understand what managed care is and have little knowledge of its rules and practices, such as requiring prior approval before taking children to emergency rooms for mild illnesses. 'We found that, regardless of whether or not their children had managed care coverage, most inner-city parents interviewed don't know what managed care is. These findings indicate that many urban parents may need better, more comprehensible information about managed care, particularly those who are poor, Latino, and have limited English proficiency, states the lead author.'" Medical College of Wisconsin, World Issues (April 2004).]

[Request #S3521]

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"Serologic Evidence of Prenatal Influenza in the Etiology of Schizophrenia." By Alan S. Brown and others. IN: Archives of General Psychology, vol. 61 no. 8 (August 2004) pp. 774-780.

["A new study adds more evidence to a body of research that suggests the children of some women who get the flu while pregnant are at higher risk of developing schizophrenia. The study examined the women's blood samples, which indicated that those who had the flu during the first half of pregnancy were three times more likely than non-infected women to have children who developed schizophrenia later in life." Contra Costa Times (August 3, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S3522]

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