In the business community there is a race to introduce the latest innovations into the marketplace; yet in the field of education, research-based strategies often never reach classrooms and programs serving children growing up in deeply under-resourced, low-income communities. To address this market failure, First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise focused on equal access to quality education, today announced the launch of the First Book Accelerator, an initiative that dramatically decreases the time-to-market for current, evidence-based strategies and resources to reach educators serving children in need – from years to weeks.
“The U.S. and other countries excel at producing research-based strategies for educational excellence from the most highly regarded institutions, but there is a disastrous lack of connection between these thought leaders and the field of practicing educators serving children in need,” said Kyle Zimmer, First Book president, CEO, and co-founder. “We cannot afford to lose the potential of a single child, but the challenges of poverty – affecting nearly 32 million U.S. children – are holding our children hostage. Through the First Book Accelerator, First Book is addressing the most pressing needs identified by the teachers we serve, with actionable strategies and resources developed in collaboration with leading researchers. We know that current educational strategies and innovations can take decades to reach those serving children in need – if they ever reach them. This model brings that research ‘the last mile,’ providing educators in underserved schools and programs with the content and context to implement evidence-based strategies in mere weeks or months. This ensures that low-income children actually have the opportunity to benefit from those strategies, and it fast-tracks those benefits to reach children now.”
Expert and author Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of Families and Work Institute, worked with the First Book Accelerator to ensure that parents and children in low-income communities could benefit from research-based strategies outlined in her book, Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs. The resources included easy-to-implement action sheets – in English and Spanish – on each of the life skills. First Book and the Mind in the Making team also developed a collection of books, for multiple age ranges, to illustrate and model those life skills in action.
“The response to these resources has been extraordinary,” said Galinsky, “with program leaders telling us that we helped them deliver what kids need right now. The First Book Accelerator is the kind of innovative model and systems thinking that is so desperately needed if we are to elevate educational outcomes and provide additional support for the millions of children encumbered by the weight of poverty.”
ReadyNation has released a new study “examining the economic impacts of the nation’s child care crisis on infants and toddlers, working parents, employers, and taxpayers describes an annual cost of $57 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue.”
“Productivity challenges affect both employer and employee. An overwhelming 86 percent of primary caregivers said problems with child care hurt their efforts or time commitment at work. The predictable impact: one-in-five say they’ve been reprimanded, eight percent have been fired, and just over one-in-ten have been demoted, transferred or fired. Meanwhile, productivity problems cause employers to lose $12.7 billion annually due to child care challenges faced by their workforce. Taxpayers also suffer, with lower tax revenues.”
“ReadyNation is calling on lawmakers to protect and expand programs that enhance the affordability and availability of quality child care – and to foster continuing innovations at the federal, state, and local level that address this problem for parents and employers.”
“Action and innovation now will improve life outcomes for millions of children today and strengthen the workforce and economy both now and in the years to come.”
The NYT has compiled an outstanding set of resources on social and emotional learning: “Do you deliberately devote classroom time to social-emotional learning, or SEL? Does your school address it building-wide? How?”
“Because we know more and more schools are incorporating strategies to bolster these strengths, we have collected recent Times writing that seems to us to speak especially well to the five SEL “core competencies”as defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (Casel).”
“Our list is long, yes, but we also know it’s not nearly complete: We’d love to hear what books, articles, podcasts or videos you’ve read, watched or listened to that have been especially helpful. Please post ideas in the comments, or write to us at LNFeedback@nytimes.com, since we hope to add a section of educator-recommended sources to this post.”
The Institute’s new report states: “Turnover among early childhood teachers in Nebraska is high and creating serious challenges for centers and the children and families they serve, according to a newly released research brief by the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska.”
“The brief, entitled Early Childhood Teacher Turnover in Nebraska, results from an analysis by the Buffett Institute of the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Survey, the largest survey ever undertaken of the professionals who provide early care and education to children from birth through Grade 3 in the state.”
“The Institute found that the average annual turnover rate for early childhood teachers was 26 percent in licensed child care settings, 15 percent in state-funded PreK settings, and 16 percent in Kindergarten through Grade 3 settings.”
“’Children thrive in environments where they can establish strong, positive relationships with teachers,’ said Susan Sarver, director of workforce planning and development at the Buffett Institute and one of the brief’s authors. ‘When there is frequent teacher turnover and lack of consistency of care, especially in the early, formative years, it can have devastating effects on the child and the learning process.’”