HCRC 2021 Initiatives
HCRC Announces Three New Initiatives to Promote Evidence-Based Programs and Policies for Young People
• Evidence Matters Blog provides short commentaries and analyses on public policy topics, under-prioritized needs and emerging directions, and research news affecting young people, birth to age 20. The first two pieces are on the Childcare Workforce and the 10 Essential Elements of Early Childhood Programs.
• HCRC Summer Research Interns Program supports two graduate students (50% time) beginning in 2021 to advance scholarship on the influence of structural elements of early childhood program effectiveness and/or reducing structural inequalities associated with multilevel poverty, segregation, discrimination & racism, and related socio-structural barriers. Priority is placed on factors and systems of influence identified in the 10 Essential Elements.
• Pilot Matching Grants Program with Community Partners will support the implementation of evidence-based structural elements of early childhood programs as identified in the 10 Essential Elements. These include small classes in PreK, K, and the early grades, staffing supports such as classroom assistants and professional learning, parent involvement teams, and enhancing school leadership and community support. One or two 50/50 matching grants with community partners will be sponsored at fixed costs. Formative evaluation is included and capacity for sustainability.
The tragic events of 2020 have changed society forever. Since March over 210,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 with 7.4 million people infected. By comparison, the influenza pandemic of 1968 over its 3-year span was responsible for 100,000 U.S. deaths. COVID-19 is now the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. As a result of the breathtaking speed at which the coronavirus pandemic has spread, most segments of economic activity shut down for extended periods of time, and this led to depression-era increases in unemployment.
Sustaining early learning gains requires a comprehensive and effective system of services from preschool through the school-age years. This Brief describes the role of two key elements of sustaining gains: aligned curriculum and collaborative leadership. They are part of the Child-Parent Center P-3 school reform model. Metrics for measuring and implementing each of these elements are described and their relationship to student learning gains in Chicago and Saint Paul schools.
HCRC researchers are partnering with Northwestern University on a new phase of the seminal Chicago Longitudinal Study (CLS). Since 1985, the CLS has tracked the development of a group of 1,539 individuals who grew up in urban poverty. Intervention group members attended the Child-Parent Centers (CPC) beginning in preschool and continued participation through 2nd or 3rd grade. The new phase of CLS research, which began in spring 2017, further examines the connection between CPC participation, educational attainment, and physical and mental health outcomes at age 37-39.
Early childhood education continues to be a high priority across the nation. Total public funding at all levels now exceeds $30 billion annually (Council of Economic Advisers, 2016), which amounts to a doubling of investment over the past two decades (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1999), while public-private sector initiatives, such as Pay for Success, have also helped expand access (Temple & Reynolds, 2015).
Providing better quality and more intensive public education for children from poor and at-risk backgrounds can significantly increase their chances at ending the cycle of poverty.
Research conducted on a long-term data set from some of Chicago’s most-challenged neighborhoods has found that four to six years of educational interventions in a child’s life ended up producing enormous benefits by the time the children made it into early adulthood.
Data show that only half of all children in the United States are ready for school when they enter kindergarten, and that learning gains from early childhood programs are often lost as children get older. A new book co-edited by Judy Temple, professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and co-director of the Human Capital Research Collaborative, explores the features of successful early education programs and the ways to sustain their benefits long-term.
Although substantial investments in early childhood intervention have continued, whether gains are sustained past kindergarten for routinely implemented programs is a critical research need. HCRC researchers performed a re-analysis of data from the Chicago Longitudinal Study to investigate the effects of program duration from preschool to 3rd grade on school outcomes and whether the effects differ by gender.
Food is an integral part of survival. What happens when there is not enough food for
children? How does that affect their development, specifically their learning? Dr. Matthew Kim
discusses research on food security and its effect on children and education.
Matthew Kim, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Economics, University of Saint Thomas
The increasing prevalence of childhood and adult obesity has led to a high priority on the identification of innovative approaches to prevention. Given that the prevalence of adult obesity has doubled over the past 3 decades and currently affects 40% of U. S. adults, comprehensive and multi-level efforts beginning in early childhood are increasing recommended as the one of the most impactful and cost-effective. However, few if any routinely implemented programs have demonstrated they lead to sustained reductions in childhood obesity, let alone into adulthood.
Out-of-school activities have provided many multi-faceted benefits to children and their development. Children from middle-income families have greater participation in out-of-school enrichment activities than do children from lower-income families. Douglas Hartman and Teresa T. Swartz discuss research done by KIDS throughout the metropolitan area on the relation between social inequality and youth activities.
Douglas Hartmann, Ph.D. - Professor, Department of Sociology
Teresa T. Swartz, Ph.D. - Associate Professor, Department of Sociology