Subject: Studies in the News 06-08 (February 24, 2006)

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Studies in the News for
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Children and Families Commission

Contents This Week

Introductory Material ECONOMY
   Early education and economic growth
   Economics of high-quality programs
   Pre-K funding options
   Early learning standards
   Full-day vs. half-day kindergarten
   Stress and early school success
   Preschool participation and minority students
   Autism and early intervention
   Oral health assessment of California's children
   Child mental health and poverty
   Childhood obesity and healthcare disparities
   Low-income families and child care subsidies
   High cost of child care
   Predicting child care subsidy use
   Children and family policies
   Child care teacher wages
   Racial gap in asthma care
   Prenatal characteristics and overweight 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:



The Effects of Investing in Early Education on Economic Growth. By William T. Dickens and others. The Brookings Institution. Brookings Working Paper. (The Institution, Washington, DC) January 2006. 21 p.

Full Text at:

["Economists have long believed that investments in education, or 'human capital,' are an important source of economic growth. Over the last 40 years output has grown about 3.5 percent a year and the productivity of labor has grown about 2.4 percent per year. Estimates of the contribution of education to labor productivity growth vary from 13 percent of it to 24 percent or more, with its contribution to total growth being about two-thirds of that. Whatever the contribution of education to growth in the past, many people believe that investments in human capital will be more important than investments in physical capital in the future as we become a post-industrial, knowledge-based economy, and they worry that we are giving insufficient policy attention to this issue."]

[Request #S60801]

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The Economic Benefits of High-quality Early Childhood Programs: What Makes the Difference? By Ellen Galinsky, Families and Work Institute. (Committee for Economic Development, Washington, DC) February, 2006.

["High-quality early childhood education programs provide measurable economic benefits, on-going research by the Committee for Economic Development (CED), a business-led public policy group, has found.... CED's latest paper ... examines the factors associated with high-quality early education programs.... 'The Galinsky paper reinforces that high-quality programs are a prerequisite if we expect early childhood education programs to generate future economic returns,' said Charles E.M. Kolb, President of CED. 'Determining key characteristics of quality Pre-Kindergarten education is an important piece of the argument for investments in early education programs in this country, and this research does just that. Other studies show public benefits of around seven dollars and more for every dollar invested in early childhood education and the Galinsky research shows what common factors can be found in these quality programs.'" PRNewswire (February 14, 2006) 1.]

Executive Summary: 2 p.

Full Report: 32 p.

[Request #S60802]

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Funding the Future: States’ Approaches to Pre-K Finance. By Diana Stone, Washington Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest. (Pre-K Now, Washington, DC) February 2006. 20 p.

Full Text at:

["Nationwide, policymakers have stopped asking, 'why provide pre-k?' and begun asking, 'how do we fund pre-k?'... This report is designed to assist policymakers and advocates in examining the range of pre-k funding options available and to highlight the national leaders who have proven how to get it done. From lotteries to 'sin' taxes to general revenues, 'Funding the Future' covers the gamut and looks at the pros and cons of each financing approach."]

[Request #S60803]

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Georgia Early Learning Standards: Birth Through Age Three. By Bright From the Start, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. (The Department, Atlanta, Georgia) January 2006. 194 p.

Full Text at:

["Georgia’s Early Learning Standards (GELS) are the product of an effort that began in June 2004 to improve the quality of learning experiences for children from birth through age three. The standards were developed in response to a common question among teachers, parents, and other caregivers, 'What should children from birth through age three know and be able to do?' The Georgia Early Learning Standards answer this question. Please keep in mind, as we have, that every child is unique. That is why these tandards are designed to be flexible enough to support children’s individual rates of development, approaches to learning, and cultural context."]

[Request #S60804]

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"Full-day versus Half-day Kindergarten: In Which Program Do Children Learn More?" By Valerie E. Lee, University of Michigan, and others. IN: American Journal of Education, vol. 112 (February 2006) pp. 163-208.

Full Text at:

["Do children learn more in full-day kindergartens than half-day programs? If full-day kindergarten increases learning, are kindergartners in some schools particularly advantaged by their full-day experience? We address these questions with a nationally representative sample of over 8,000 kindergartners and 500 U.S. public schools that participated in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort. More than half of kindergartners experience full-day programs, which are most commonly available to less-advantaged children. Using multilevel (HLM) methods, we show that children who attend schools that offer full-day programs learn more in literacy and mathematics than their half-day counterparts. We also explore differential effectiveness in some school settings."]

[Request #S60805]

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Pathways to Early School Success: Helping the Most Vulnerable Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families. By Jane Knitzer and Jill Lefkowitz, National Center for Children in Poverty. (The Center, New York, New York) January 2006.

["This issue brief focuses on the special challenges of helping babies and toddlers whose earliest experiences, environments, and especially relationships create not a warm and nurturing atmosphere, but what scientists have called 'toxic stress'—exposing them to such high and consistent levels of stress that their growing brains cannot integrate their experiences in ways that promote growth and learning. It describes 10 strategies that programs and communities can implement to ensure these babies, toddlers, and families are connected to sufficiently intensive supports that can get them on a path to early school success."]

Executive Summary: 8 p.

Full Report: 37 p.

[Request #S60806]

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Preschool Participation and the Cognitive and Social Development of Language Minority Students. By Russell W. Rumberger and Loan Tran. University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute. (The Institute, Santa Barbara, California) 2006. 124 p.

Full Text at:

["As proponents of universal preschool in California kicked off their campaign with news of an upbeat poll, a study on the lasting effects of preschool indicates many of its benefits may wear off by the time students reach third grade.... By the end of third grade, according to Rumberger's research, former preschoolers and children who did not attend preschool ended up on nearly equal footing in cognitive and social development, regardless of their mother tongue. Rumberger said, however, that other positive effects of preschool could reverberate for years to come. He found that children who attended preschool were less likely to be held back before they reached third grade or be identified as needing special education." San Francisco Chronicle (January 26, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60807]

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Autism and Hope: A Conference: By The Brookings Institute and The Help Group of Los Angeles. (The Institute, Washington, DC) December 16, 2005. 159 p.

Full Text at:

[""Recent estimates indicate that up to 1 in 200 children have a condition in the autism spectrum that includes autism, pervasive development disorder, and Asperger's syndrome. Fortunately, over the course of the last two decades early intervention regimens for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have become much more effective.... Even the more severely challenged are often doing much better than before. However, the availability of the intensive early intervention that can lead to these outcomes is highly limited in the United States. Most parents cannot afford it, and neither government nor the health insurance industry covers very much of the treatment costs for ASD." From a conference "to examine policy proposals for expanding the availability and affordability of early intervention for ASD."]

[Request #S60808]

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"Mommy, It Hurts to Chew." The California Smile Survey: An Oral Health Assessment of California's Kindergarten and 3rd Grade Children. By Wynne Grossman. Dental Health Foundation. (The Foundation, Oakland, California) February 2006. 28 p.

Full Text at:

["The teeth of California's children are decaying at epidemic levels, according to this report. Painful cavities and abscesses are causing children to miss school and, in the worst scenarios, end up hospitalized. Nearly 6 percent of the state's poorest children are in so much pain, or have such bad infections, that they need urgent treatment, the report says. Of 25 states surveyed, California ranks 24th, second only to Arkansas in the frequency of dental decay among children. By third grade, nearly two-thirds of California children are affected by dental disease. The report's authors say that makes tooth decay - not obesity or asthma - by far the most prevalent children's health problem in the state. What's particularly frustrating, they say, is that it's almost entirely preventable." Sacramento Bee (February 6, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60809]

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"Household Income Histories and Child Mental Health Trajectories." By Lisa Strohschein. IN: Journal of Health and Social Behavior, vol. 46, no. 4 (December 2005) pp. 359-375.

["Children in low-income families start off with higher levels of antisocial behaviour than children from more advantaged households. And if the home remains poor as the children grow up, antisocial behaviour becomes much worse over time compared to children living in households that are never poor or later move out of poverty.... Strohschein used the data from an American survey, the Child Supplement of the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, to study the mental health status of more than 7000 children. Between 1986 and 1998, more than 3300 mothers reported on the health of their kids--aged four to 14--and were reinterviewed up to six times during that span. She also found that changes in income are associated with changes in child mental health. If household income improves after early childhood, child mental health improves. Conversely, drops in income increase depression and antisocial behaviour."]

[Request #S60810]

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Childhood Obesity: Costs, Treatment Patterns, Disparities in Care, and Prevalent Medical Conditions. By William D. Marder, PhD, and Stella Chang, Thomson Medstat. Thomson Medstat Research Brief. (Thomson Medstat, Ann Arbor, Michigan) 2006. 4 p.

Full Text at:

["The obesity epidemic in America has hit children hard. Recent research indicates that 16 percent of U.S. children could be considered obese. Furthermore, there are growing concerns that obesity disproportionately affects those who are least able to afford care: children covered by public health insurance such as Medicaid. To shed light on this problem, Thomson Medstat investigated the prevalence, cost, and treatment of obesity among children covered by Medicaid compared to those covered by private health insurance. We found substantial disparities associated with different insurance coverage and health status."]

[Request #S60811]

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Introduction to Child Care Subsidy Research. By J. Lee Kreader, National Center for Children in Poverty. (The Center, New York, New York) October 2005. 6 p.

Full Text at:

["Child care subsidies help low-income families pay for the care and education their children need while parents work and/or participate in education and training.... With the expansion of financial assistance for child care, policymakers — wanting to use subsidies effectively — have been eager to understand the impact of child care funding "]

[Request #S60812]

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Breaking the Piggy Bank: Parents and the High Price of Child Care. By Erin Mohan and others. (National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, Arlington, Virginia) 2006. 47 p.

Full Text at:

["The report finds that parents across the United States are struggling to meet the high cost of child care. Many families face a Catch-22. They need to work to support their families. They rely on child care to go to work. But, the high price of child care -- a staggering $3,016 to $13,480 a year for one child -- strains family budgets and forces parents to make sacrifices in the quality of care their children receive.' The public hears a lot about rising health care costs. But, families are likely to spend more on child care then they do for health care and food combined,' explained Linda Smith, Executive Director of NACCRRA." Early Education in the News (February 21, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60813]

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Predictors of Child Care Subsidy Use. By J. Lee Kreader and others. (National Center for Children in Poverty, New York, New York) 2005/2006.

["Which families are more likely to use the child care assistance they’re eligible for, and for what types of care? According to this literature review... barriers and 'hassles' often play a role in who elects to use child care assistance." Connect for Kids (February 13, 2006) 1.]

Research Brief: 6 p.

Literature Review: 16 p.

Table of Methods and Findings: 6 p.

[Request #S60814]

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Policy Matters: Twenty State Policies to Enhance States’ Prosperity and Create Bright Futures for America’s Children, Families and Communities. By Noel Bravo and Minh Ta, Center for the Study of Social Policy. (The Center, Washington, DC) January 2006.

["Policies that support families, children, and low-wage workers can also enhance a state’s economic stability and prosperity, according to this groundbreaking new report by the Center for the Study of Social Policy.... The report offers a state-by-state review of the intersection of economic and social policy -- particularly the impact of education policies, foster care, the earned income tax credit, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), food stamps, child care subsidies, Medicaid, SCHIP, and programs covering mental health and substance abuse needs on state economies. It offers recommendations for making these policies more effective." Connect for Kids (January 23, 2006) 1.]

Full Report: 144 p.

California State Policy Brief: 8 p.

State Reports:

[Request #S60815]

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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.]



"The Costs of Being a Child Care Teacher: Revisiting the Problem of Low Wages." By Debra J. Ackerman, National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers University. IN: Educational Policy, vol. 20, no. 1 (January 2006) pp. 85-112.

["The demand for child care in the United States continues to grow, but child care workers’ wages remain minimal. Using examples within New Jersey, the author demonstrates how low wages impact child care quality and are directly related to the effects of the competitive marketplace. Various historical, regulatory, and cultural contexts also contribute to low wages, however. Because most child care workers are female, the author uses a feminist critical policy analysis lens to examine the gendered aspects of these contextual factors. The author argues that the gender-related issues within these contexts exacerbate the problem of low wages and also contribute to the intractability of the issue, particularly in terms of accessing policymakers’ agendas. The author concludes with a brief summary of issues that policymakers and advocates will need to keep in mind as they search for solutions to the problem of low wages."]

[Request #S60816]

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"The Widening Black/White Gap in Asthma Hospitalizations and Mortality." By Ruchi S. Gupta, Northwestern University, and others. IN: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, vol. 117, no.2 (February 2006) pp. 351-358.

["The disparity in asthma treatment and mortality between black and white children is widening despite national efforts to close the gap, according to researchers.... More than four times as many black children as white children are hospitalized for asthma, and more than five times as many black children die from the disease, reported Ruchi S. Gupta, M.D., M.P.H., of Children's Memorial Hospital.... The study results suggested that 'reducing disparities in asthma care should be a national priority for research, health policy, and community action...'" MedPage Today Teaching Brief (February 9, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60817]

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"Dynamics of Early Childhood Overweight." By Pamela J. Salsberry and Patricia B. Reagan, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. IN: Pediatrics, vol. 116, no. 6 (December 2005) pp. 1329-1338.

["Objective. To study the dynamic processes that drive development of childhood overweight by examining the effects of prenatal characteristics and early-life feeding (breastfeeding versus bottle feeding) on weight states through age 7 years.... Conclusions. This research suggests that prenatal characteristics, particularly race, ethnicity, maternal smoking during pregnancy, and maternal prepregnancy obesity, exert influence on the child’s weight states through an early tendency toward overweight, which then is perpetuated as the child ages. These findings are intriguing as they provide additional clues to the genesis of childhood overweight and suggest that overweight prevention may need to begin before pregnancy and in early childhood."]

[Request #S60818]

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