Subject: Studies in the News 04-79 (December 6, 2004)

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Studies in the News for
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Children and Families Commission

Contents This Week

Introductory Material EDUCATION
   ECE workforce in affluent countries
   Universal pre-k and cognitive development
   Leadership effects on student learning
   Barriers in children's access to health care
   Children's dental care in Medicaid
   Blood mercury levels in young children
   Household food security in the United States
   Depression and children
   Building blocks for strong families
   Parental involvement and kindergarten competency
   Physical activity and preschools
   Low birth weight and academic performance
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:



The Early Childhood Workforce in "Developed" Countries: Basic Structures and Education. By Peter Moss, University of London. UNESCO Policy Briefs on Early Childhood No. 27. (UNESCO Section for Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, Paris, France) October 2004. 2 p.

Full Text at:

["This brief focuses on the structure of the ECE workforce in affluent countries. The paper explores the roots of the historical divide between care and education which results in depressed wages for those caring for the youngest children." ExchangeEveryDay (November 25, 2004).]

[Request #S4520]

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The Effects of Universal Pre-K on Cognitive Development. By William T. Gormley, Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University, and others. (Center for Research on Children in the U.S., Washington, DC) November 2004. 43 p.

Full Text at:

["The Oklahoma universal pre-k program is of special interest to researches and policy makers for several reasons: 1)It enrolls a higher percentage of four-year olds than any other pre-k program in the U.S.; 2)It is operated through and based in the public schools; 3)All lead teachers have college degrees, early childhood certifications and are paid at the same rate as other public school teachers. This study, which include three measures of cognitive development for children from varying demographic subsets, concludes that the program has succeeded in enhancing the school readiness of a diverse group of children."]

[Request #S4521]

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How Leadership Influences Student Learning. By Kenneth Leithwood, University of Toronto and others. Prepared for the Wallace Foundation. (The Foundation, New York, New York) 2004. 17 p.

Full Text at:

["Effective education leadership makes a difference in improving learning. This report examines just how leadership matters, how important those effects are in promoting the learning of all children and what the essential ingredients of successful leadership are."]

[Request #S4522]

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Voltage Drops in Children's Health Care: Barriers that Impede Children's Access to Quality Health Care. By RAND. (RAND, Washington, DC) 2004. 4 p.

["The U.S. health care system is at its best when responding to acute health crises. But the system falls short when it comes to providing the kind of protective, preventive care children need: care that helps parents anticipate future needs, monitors problems as they arise, and coordinates needed services."]

[Request #S4524]

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Guide to Children's Dental Care in Medicaid. By the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services. (The Department, Washington, DC) October 2004. 52 p.

Full Text at:

["The information in this guide is based wherever possible on scientific evidence with appropriate citations provided, and on expert opinion where scientific evidence is inconclusive or not available. It is intended to serve as a resource of current information on clinical practice, evolving technologies and recommendations in dental care."]

[Request #S4525]

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"Blood Mercury Levels in Young Children and Childbearing-Aged Women: United States, 1999-2002." By R. L. Jones and others, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. IN: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 53, no. 43 (November 5, 2004) pp. 1018-1020.

Full Text at:

["Exposure to high levels of mercury (Hg) can cause neurologic and kidney disorders. Because methylated Hg (methyl-Hg) in the aquatic environment accumulates in animal tissues up the food chain, persons in the United States can be exposed by eating freshwater fish, seafood, and shellfish. Exposure of childbearing-aged women is of particular concern because of the potential adverse neurologic effects of Hg in fetuses."]

[Request #S4523]

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Household Food Security in the United States, 2003. By Mark Nord, Margaret Andrews, and Steven Carlson, Economics Research Unit, United States Department of Agriculture. Food Assistance and Nutrition Report Number 42. (Economics Research Unit, Washington, DC) 2004. 69 p.

Full Text at:

["Major points from this report include: 36.3 million people (12.7% of all Americans) live in hungry and food insecure households -- over 36% of the individuals living in these households are children (13.3 million children under the age of 18); and over 45% of all food insecure households have incomes above 130% of poverty, which in most cases would make these households ineligible for food stamps." Center on Hunger and Poverty Bulletin (November 22, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4526]

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"Characteristics of Depressed Preschoolers with and without Anhedonia: Evidence for a Melancholic Depressive Subtype in Young Children." By Joan L. Luby and others. IN: American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 161, issue 11 (November 2004) pp. 1998-2004.

["Research has shown that even preschool children can suffer from depression, and now new evidence suggests their symptoms can be divided into subtypes in a way that reflects what's seen in adults. It's possible that some young children may suffer from depression in reaction to a stressful situation, while for others -- those with anhedonia -- symptoms are biologically based. Research in adults has suggested that anhedonia may have genetic underpinnings and possibly be related to dysfunction in the brain's 'reward system.'" Early Education in the News (November 29, 2004).]

[Request #S4529]

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Building Strong Families: A Study of African American and Latino/Latina Parents in the United States. By Eugene C. Roehlkepartain and others, Search Institute. Prepared for the YMCA. (Abundant Assets Alliance, Chicago, Illinois) November 2004. 24 p.

Full Text at:

["New Study Highlights Strengths, Priorities of African American and Latino/Latina Parents: Though African American and Latino parents feel they are doing a good job raising their children, challenges such as job loss, negative societal values, and difficulty making connections with others in their community make it more problematic. In fact, 70 percent of African-American and 84 percent of Latino parents say spending more time with their kids would help them more than anything else they identified." Office of Language Acquisition, U.S. Department of Education Newsline (November 23, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4527]

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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.]



"A Multivariate Examination of Parent Involvement and the Social and Academic Competencies of Urban Kindergarten Children." By Christine McWayne and others. IN: Psychology in the Schools, vol. 41, no. 3 (March 2004) pp. 363-377.

["More partnership is needed between schools and families in order to find a common ground and a common language in which to discuss involvement strategies. In addition, information is needed regarding the successful strategies that culturally diverse, low-income parents are already employing that go unrecognized by early childhood staff, because they occur largely at home or because of personal biases that teachers may have toward particular cultural groups." Harvard Family Research Project (October 2004).]

[Request #S4528]

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"Physical Activity Among Children Attending Preschools." By Russell R. Pate, University of South Carolina, Columbia, and others. IN: Pediatrics, vol. 114, no. 5 (November 2004) pp. 1258-1263.

["The preschool that a child attended was a significant predictor of vigorous physical activity (VPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Boys participated in significantly more MVPA and VPA than did girls, and black children participated in more VPA than did white children. Age was not a significant predictor of MVPA or VPA. Conclusions: Children's physical activity levels were highly variable among preschools, which suggests that preschool policies and practices have an important influence on the overall activity levels of the children the preschools serve."]

[Request #S4530]

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"The Lingering Academic Deficits of Low Birth Rate Children." By Naomi Breslau, Michigan State University, and others. IN: Pediatrics, vol. 114, no. 4 (October 2004) pp. 1035-1040.

["Compared with Normal Birth Weight (NBW) children, Low Birth Weight (LBW) children manifested deficits of 3 to 5 points in age-standardized tests of academic achievement at age 17 that had persisted with little change from age 11. LBW-related deficits were similar in urban and suburban communities and were independent of family factors. At age 17, LBW children were 50% more likely than NBW children to score below the standardized population mean in both reading and mathematics. The LBW-related deficits in academic achievement in adolescence were largely accounted for by LBW-related deficits in general cognitive abilities, measured by IQ tests at age 6."]

[Request #S4531]

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