Subject: Studies in the News 06-51 (December 22, 2006)


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Children and Families Commission


Contents This Week

Introductory Material ECONOMY
   Economics of investing in children
EDUCATION
   Reason Foundation report on early education
   Review of Reason Foundation report
   Raising social mobility for disadvantaged children
   Education of English language learners
   Culture, class, and language development
   Opinion poll on public schools
   School opinion poll policy implications
   Developing emotionally literate staff
HEALTH
   California State Children's Health Insurance study
   Does television cause autism?
   Exercise not linked to preschool obesity
   Cultural and language issues in helping families
   Importance of play
   California special needs children newsletter
   Latino children most likely to be uninsured
   Overweight in early childhood and later obesity
HUMAN SERVICES
   Supporting child care subsidy access
   Poverty trends among children of immigrants
   Race and child poverty
STUDIES TO COME
   English language learners and literacy development
   Welfare-to-work for parents of infants
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 www.library.ca.gov/CRB/SITN/.

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; cslsirc@library.ca.gov) 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:

ECONOMY

CHILDREN

"The Economic Case for Investing in Young People." By James Heckman and Flavio Cunha. IN: Every Child, Every Promise: Turning Failure into Action. By America's Promise Alliance. (America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth, Alexandria, Virginia) [2006] pp. 45-52.

Full Text at: www.americaspromise.org/uploadedFiles/AmericasPromise/Our_Work/Strategic_Initiatives/Every_Child_Every_Promise/EC-EP_Documents/MAIN%20REPORT%20DRAFT%2011.1.pdf

["Following up preschool with extra help throughout childhood significantly boosts the odds that poor kids will graduate high school and live a crime-free life, a new study by a Nobel Prize-winning University of Chicago economist finds. About 65 percent of disadvantaged students who go to quality preschool will graduate high school, the economic model predicts. If support continues as children age, that jumps to 91 percent. Interventions include mentoring and tutoring, as well as 'enriched or surrogate parenting,' such as reading to a child and encouraging them. Without preschool or any supports, the model predicts only a 41 percent graduation rate.... The paper being released today is part of a series by America's Promise Alliance, a child advocacy group founded by former Secretary of State Colin Powell." Chicago Sun-Times (November 15, 2006).]

[Request #S120601]

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EDUCATION

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Assessing Proposals for Preschool and Kindergarten: Essential Information for Parents, Taxpayers and Policymakers. By Darcy Olsen, Goldwater Institute, and Lisa Snell, Reason Foundation. Policy Study No. 344. (The Reason Foundation, Los Angeles, California) 56 p.

Full Text at: www.reason.org/ps344_universalpreschool.pdf

["We find strong evidence that the widespread adoption of preschool and full-day kindergarten is unlikely to improve student achievement. For nearly 50 years, local, state, and federal governments and diverse private sources have spent billions of dollars funding early education programs. Many early interventions have had meaningful short-term effects on grade-level retention and special education placement. However, the effects of early interventions routinely disappear after children leave the programs. The phenomenon, known as 'fade out,' is important because it means that early schooling may be immaterial to a childís later school performance, or that the current school system as structured is unable to sustain those early gains."]

[Request #S120602]

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A Review of the Reason Foundationís Report on Preschool and Kindergarten. By W. Steven Barnett, National Institute for Early Education Research. NIEER Working Paper. (NIEER, New Brunswick, New Jersey) 2006. 15 p.

Full Text at: nieer.org/resources/research/ReasonFoundation.pdf

["This analysis finds that the Reason Foundation (RF) report is an unreliable source of information about preschool education. The RF reportís findings about childrenís readiness and the effects of preschool education are unwarranted and misleading, based on a selective review of early childhood programs that omits much of the evidence that would contradict its conclusions. The information that is included is unrepresentative and is selected and then presented in ways that yield a distorted view of research and its implications. As a result, the reportís policy conclusions do not follow from the research and evidence presented in the report. A broader review of the relevant literature making consistent use of principles regarding research strengths for drawing causal conclusions yields quite opposite findings."]

[Request #S120603]

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Early Childhood Development and Social Mobility. By W. Steven Barnett and Clive R. Belfield. IN: Future of Children, vol. 16, no. 2 (Fall 2006) p. 73-98.

Full Text at: www.futureofchildren.org/usr_doc/05_5563_barnett-belfield.pdf

["Disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds attend preschool education at higher rates than non-disadvantaged children, but there's a catch - despite the higher rate, current programs miss half this population. Since preschool is able to have a positive effect in areas like crime, welfare and teen parenting, raising attendance levels among disadvantaged kids holds the promise of increasing their social mobility. Economists Steve Barnett, director of NIEER, and Clive Belfield, a professor at Queens College, explore this issue and its policy ramifications.... " NIEER Online News (October 23, 2006).]

[Request #S120604]

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ENGLISH LEARNERS

Practical Guidelines for the Education of English Language Learners: Research-Based Recommendations for Instruction and Academic Interventions. By David J. Francis, University of Houston, and others. (Center on Instruction at RMC Research Corporation, Portsmouth, New Hampshire) 2006. 68 p.

Full Text at: www.centeroninstruction.org/files/ELL1-Interventions.pdf

["This document provides evidence-baseda recommendations for policymakers, administrators, and teachers in K-12 settings who seek to make informed decisions about instruction and academic interventions for ELLs [English language learners]. The domains of focus include reading and mathematics, and the recommendations apply to both a class-wide instructional format and individualized, targeted interventions, depending on the population and the goals of the instruction."]

[Request #S120605]

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MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION

Culture, Class, and Language Development. [Entire Issue.] IN: Zero to Three, vol. 27, no. 1 (September 2006) 63 p.

["This issue highlights the important research being done by our guest editor RaMonda Horton-Ikard... on the development of language and communication skills in children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Her research, along with that of her colleagues featured in this issue, explores how race, ethnicity, social class, and linguistic background interact to shape the early learning environments and emerging language skills of infants and toddlers. The result is a thought-provoking look at assumptions about how to define 'typical' patterns of speech development; the methods researchers and clinicians use to assess language delay; and the implications for researchers, practitioners, and clinicians who work with culturally, socially, and economically diverse children and families. Three additional feature articles also focus on communication and child development, namely emotional development, English language learning, and the role of culture." NOTE: Zero to Three... is available for loan.]

[Request #S120606]

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PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The 38th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Publicís Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. By Lowell C. Rose and Alec M. Gallup. (Phi Delta Kappan International, Bloomington, Indiana) September 2006. 13 p.

Full Text at: www.pdkmembers.org/e-GALLUP/kpoll_pdfs/pdkpoll38_2006.pdf

["Nearly six in 10 Americans believe the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act has had no effect on our schools or has actually harmed them, according to a nationwide poll released today. 'This finding is significant and disturbing given that the nationís schools are spending virtually all of their available money and resources on an effort to meet the demands of this law,' remarks Lowell Rose, coauthor... of the 38th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Publicís Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.... In contrast to the publicís pessimistic view of NCLB, the poll finds strong support for the public schools. When asked where we should focus efforts to improve education, 71% of those surveyed say that they prefer improvement to come through the existing public school system, rather than through an alternative system. The public is consistent in this view - 60% oppose the use of public funds for children to attend private schools.... "]

[Request #S120607]

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Policy Implications of the 38th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll. By Phi Delta Kappan. (Phi Delta Kappan International, Bloomington, Indiana) September 2006. 3 p.

Full Text at: www.pdkintl.org/kappan/k0609pi.pdf

["Fact. The public believes that preschool programs for students from low-income families will help them perform better in their later school years and is willing to pay more taxes to fund those programs."]

[Request #S120608]

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TEACHERS

Developing Emotionally Literate Staff: A Practical Guide. By Elizabeth Morris and Julie Casey. (Sage Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, California) 2006. 147 p.

["Do you want to know how to put emotional literacy into practice in your school? Emotionally literate schools show better learning outcomes for children, improved attendance, reduced behavioural challenges, good relationships, improved recruitment and retention and have a well-motivated, effective and less stressed workforce. In this practical book, Elizabeth Morris and Julie Casey provide everything you need to begin to create an emotionally literate ethos within your school, and give you tools to develop emotionally literate staff and practices in your school over the course of a year." NOTE: Developing Emotionally... is available for loan.]

[Request #S120609]

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HEALTH

ACCESS TO CARE

Case Study of California: Exploring Medicaid and SCHIP Enrollment Trends and Their Links To Policy and Practice. Covering Kids and Families Evaluation. By Jennifer Sullivan and others. (Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Princeton, New Jersey) 2006. 25 p.

Full Text at: www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/pdfs/CKFCAcasestudy.pdf

["This case study discusses trends in new Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment of children in California from 1999 through 2003. During an economic downturn, when California expanded eligibility and simplified enrollment, the number of children enrolled in programs should have grown, but didnít. Cutbacks in outreach appear to be an important cause." News from Mathematica (November 15, 2006).]

[Request #S120610]

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AUTISM

Does Television Cause Autism? By Michael Waldman and others. (Cornell University, Ithica, New York) October 2006. 67 p.

Full Text at: www.johnson.cornell.edu/faculty/profiles/Waldman/AUTISM-WALDMAN-NICHOLSON-ADILOV.pdf

["Autism is currently estimated to affect approximately one in every 166 children, yet the cause or causes of the condition are not well understood. One of the current theories concerning the condition is that among a set of children vulnerable to developing the condition because of their underlying genetics, the condition manifests itself when such a child is exposed to a (currently unknown) environmental trigger. In this paper we empirically investigate the hypothesis that early childhood television viewing serves as such a trigger."]

[Request #S120611]

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CHILDREN

"Physical Activity to Prevent Obesity in Young Children: Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial." By John J Reilly and others. IN: British Medical Journal, Online First (October 6, 2006) 5 p.

Full Text at: bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/rapidpdf/bmj.38979.623773.55v1

["Organized efforts to get preschoolers moving appear to have little influence on whether or not they become overweight, new research suggests. Preschool-aged children in a Scottish study who participated in regular exercise sessions did develop better motor and movement skills than children who did not. But they were no less likely to become overweight during the yearlong study than more sedentary children. Participation in organized exercise also did not appear to promote more activity during free play." CBS News (October 5, 2006) online.]

[Request #S120612]

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Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Family Supports. By S. Bronheim and others. (National Center for Cultural Competence, Center for Child and Human Development, Georgetown University, Washington, DC) Spring 2006. 14 p.

Full Text at: www11.georgetown.edu/research/gucchd/nccc/documents/FamilySupports.pdf

["The brief discusses cultural factors that may impact supports and services for families of children with special health care needs. It is meant to be used by organizations interested in developing policies that promote and sustain cultural and linguistic competence in the provision of family support services." Natural Resources (October 11, 2006).]

[Request #S120613]

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The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds. By Kenneth R. Ginsburg and the Committee on Communications and Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, American Academy of Pediatrics. (The Academy, Elk Grove Village, Illinois) October 9, 2006. 32 p.

Full Text at: www.aap.org/pressroom/playFINAL.pdf

["Schools have been trimming fixed periods of unstructured playtime for years, citing mounting pressure from federal-testing requirements and concerns over playground accidents that can lead to lawsuits. Now, national groups representing parents and pediatricians are stepping in to champion more playtime, as a growing body of research points to the benefits of the kind of free play that can't be found in gym class. A report... by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that recess can foster creativity and social skills, arguing that when play is undirected, kids become resourceful in figuring out conflict resolution, negotiation and even leadership - which might not surface as naturally in an adult-structured atmosphere, when children are more likely to 'acquiesce to adult rules and concerns.'" Wall Street Journal (October 10, 2006).]

[Request #S120614]

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DISABILITIES

CaCSHCNews [Entire Issue]. By the USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at Childrens Hospital, Los Angeles, and others, Vol. 1, No. 2 (The Center, Los Angeles, California) October 2006. 12 p.

Full Text at: www.csno.org/docs/CaCSHCNews10-06.pdf

[This is "CaCSHCNews, an electronic newsletter with a focus on children with special health care needs in California. It is being produced and distributed by the USC University Center for Excellence in Disabilities at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in collaboration with partners from a Health Resources and Services Administration grant aimed at improving the system of care for children and youth with special needs in CA. We are very excited to provide CaCSHCNews and hope that it evolves into the comprehensive periodic newsletter about kids with special needs in CA that we first envisioned. It will come out quarterly, and include state and national news and resources about and for this population."]

[Request #S120615]

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LATINOS

"Why Are Latinos the Most Uninsured Racial/Ethnic Group of US Children? A Community-Based Study of Risk Factors for and Consequences of Being an Uninsured Latino Child." By Glenn Flores and others. IN: Pediatrics, vol. 118, no. 3 (September 2006) pp. 730-740.

Full Text at: pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/118/3/e730

["Latinos continue to be the most uninsured racial/ethnic group of US children, but not enough is known about the risk factors for and consequences of not being insured in Latino children.... The objective of this study was to identify the risk factors for and consequences of being uninsured in Latino children."]

[Request #S120616]

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OBESITY

"Identifying Risk for Obesity in Early Childhood." By Philip R. Nader, MD, University of California, San Diego, California, and others. IN: Pediatrics, vol. 118, no. 3 (September 2006) pp. e594-e601.

Full Text at: pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/118/3/e594

["Children who are overweight as toddlers or preschoolers are more likely to be overweight or obese in early adolescence, report researchers in a collaborative study by the NIH and several academic institutions. The researchers periodically collected height and weight measurements of a sample of children, beginning at age 2 and continuing until age 12. Their analysis... provides some of the strongest evidence to date that overweight in early childhood increase the chances for overweight in later life." ScienceDaily (September 7, 2006).]

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HUMAN SERVICES

CHILD CARE

Strategies to Support Child Care Subsidy Access and Retention: Ideas from Seven Midwestern States. By Kathleen Snyder and others. (The Urban Institute, Washington, DC) 2006. 84 p.

Full Text at: www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411377_subsidy_access.pdf

["Though child care subsidies are an important work support for low-income families, policies can make their participation challenging. This report highlights ways for state and local human service agencies to make it easier for eligible families to get and keep subsidies." Urban Institute Update (November 15, 2006).]

[Request #S106108]

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CHILDREN

Immigration and Child and Family Policy. By Randy Capps and Karina Fortuny. Prepared for The Urban Institute and Child Trends Roundtable on Children in Low-Income Families. (The Institute, Washington, DC) 2006. 36 p.

Full Text at: www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/311362_lowincome_children3.pdf

["The share of U.S. children with immigrant parents increased from 6 percent in 1970 to over 20 percent today. Three-quarters of these children are Latino or Asian and they are disproportionately low-income despite the high work effort of their parents. This report assesses how the changing demographics of the low-income child population are affecting child and family policies. It discusses patterns and trends in child poverty, receipt of public benefits, health insurance coverage, and child care arrangements." Urban Institute Update (September 20, 2006).]

[Request #S120619]

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POVERTY

Understanding Recent Changes in Child Poverty. By Austin Nichols. Series A, No. A-71 (The Urban Institute, Washington, DC) August 2006. 8 p.

Full Text at: www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/311356_A71.pdf

["Over the past 10 years, U.S. child poverty rates took two sharp turns: a major reduction from 1993 to 2000 followed by a slight hike from 2000 to 2004. Both shifts have been even more dramatic for black and Hispanic children. Such abrupt shifts offer an unusual opportunity to tease out what factors contribute to changes in child poverty.... This brief shows that economic conditions, together with parental education and work, are the dominant factors behind recent changes in child poverty. Changes in the share of families headed by single parents seem to have played almost no role in the recent changes in child poverty. According to the analysis, the 1993 to 2000 drop in child poverty is largely due to improvements in the job market, especially for less-educated workers. The economic downturn beginning in 2000 hit all families, even those with more education, but the families of black children were hit hardest."]

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STUDIES TO COME
[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.]

EDUCATION

LITERACY

"Identity Texts and Literacy Development Among Preschool English Language Learners: Enhancing Learning Opportunities for Children at Risk for Learning Disabilities." By Judith K. Bernhard and others. IN: Teachers College Record, vol. 108, no. 11 (November 2006) pp. 2380-2405.

["There is little research on English language learners (ELLs) in relation to learning disability (LD) assessment and identification. More important, there is a scarcity of research on models and strategies that enhance learning opportunities and outcomes for ELLs prior to an LD diagnosis. We describe in this article an innovative language intervention program involving the creation of bilingual, student self-authored identity texts. Called the Early Authors Program (EAP), the intervention stands as an example of how spaces and opportunities for literacy development among young ELLs can be created in a classroom instructional environment.... Among its several beneficial outcomes, the EAP had demonstrably positive effects on children's language scores and appears to have strengthened their identities and fostered their self-esteem."]

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HUMAN SERVICES

CHILD CARE

"Welfare-to-Work Transitions for Parents of Infants: Employment and Child-Care Policy Implementation in Eight Communities." By Christine Ross and Gretchen Kirby. IN: From Welfare to Child Care: What Happens to Young Children When Mothers Exchange Welfare for Work. Edited by Natasha Cabrera and others. (Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, Mahwah, New Jersey) 2006.

["Nearly half the states have used the flexibility provided under federal welfare reform law to require parents of infants to work as a condition of receiving benefits, and nearly all states require teenage parents to return to school soon after the birth of a child. Mathematicaís implementation study examined the policy environment (work and school requirements) and practical considerations (child-care and supportive services) that influence the timing and ease of the transition from welfare to work or school for parents of infants. The study was based on staff interviews and focus groups with key informants in eight communities. Researchers found that case managers and program administrators did not view parents of infants as a group that had categorical needs substantially different from those of the broader TANF population and that TANF policies regarding work requirements, sanctions, and time limits were applied in the same way. In contrast, teenage parents were viewed as a subgroup with special needs requiring comprehensive services and support." NOTE: From Welfare to Child Care... will be available for loan. News from Mathematica (August 8, 2006).]

[Request #S120622]

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