Study of Early Education in Louisiana (SEELA)
In 2012, Louisiana passed the Early Childhood Education Act (known as Act 3), which aimed to overhaul the state’s fragmented ECE landscape into a cohesive system that provides all young children with access to high-quality early childhood education. At the heart of this effort was a unique Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). Louisiana’s QRIS is unique in that participation is required for all sites receiving public funds and that ratings for each site are based solely on detailed data collected in every classroom with a widely used observational measure of teacher-child interactions. To support quality improvement, Louisiana has also introduced a variety of policies and initiatives aimed at supporting early educators improve high quality early learning opportunities.
Through a long-standing research policy partnership with the Early Childhood Office in the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), our team at UVA and UCLA is working on research to support system-wide ECE improvement. As part of SEELA and our partnership, we have fielded large-scale ECE workforce surveys, conducted validation studies examining the link between QRIS ratings and child outcomes, and explored how Louisiana families access early learning opportunities. Our current projects focus on the ECE workforce and strategies to support early educators during COVID-19 reopening efforts.
Study of Early Education in Virginia (SEEVA)
In December 2018, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) received a federal Preschool Development Birth through Five Initial Grant Award (PDG B-5). In partnership with the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) and researchers at UVA, VDOE began a set of efforts to improve early childhood opportunities at scale. In January 2020, VDOE received a three-year PDG B-5 Renewal Award to continue this work.
The SEEVA team at UVA leads three main research activities to evaluate and inform Virginia’s PDG B-5 efforts. First, we regularly field large-scale workforce surveys of early educators in family child care homes, child care centers, Head Start, and pre-k programs participating in the PDG. Second, we administer surveys of parents and guardians to learn about families’ experiences in accessing ECE programs for their children.
Finally, we are currently evaluating Virginia’s Recognition Program for early educators. We are conducting the first ever randomized controlled trial measuring the impacts of financial supports for early educators on reducing turnover.