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More on Parents as Teachers and i3

Of the 49 Investing in Innovation grant winners, only one was exclusively focused on working with children from birth to age 5. Parents as Teachers won an i3 grant to provide home visiting and parent education to American Indian families with children in that age range.

In her Policy Notebook blog, Sara Mead raised excellent questions about the i3 award process by taking a deep dive into PAT's application to fund this program, known as BabyFACE. She points out that though early childhood was a priority area in the selection process, all i3 grantees are expected to address K-12 education, and BabyFACE does not extend services beyond pre-K. She also raised questions about the strength of the research base showing evidence the program has been successful.

I talked with Parents as Teachers about the criticism. The group argues that, even though it doesn't work with children after they start kindergarten, it provides school-readiness services so more children enter school prepared. For data, it points to the programs from which BabyFACE was developed--FACE and the Parents as Teachers model--and research showing effects on school readiness and third-grade achievement.

While we're talking research, I asked how the group planned to conduct its evaluation for i3. Kansas-based consultant Judy Pfannenstiel of Research and Training Associates, Inc., PAT's evaluation partner, said a quasi-experimental study will compare families involved with Bureau of Indian Education schools participating in BabyFACE with families connected to non-BabyFACE BIE schools. The families will be matched for geography, tribal affiliation, and age of children.

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