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Assignment Questions

Early Childhood

BELOW IS INFORMATION THAT IS REQUIRED FOR THIS POLICY PAPER:

Over the semester, students will write five short policy papers on a single topic.
Collectively, these papers will provide an opportunity for students to review the best
available information concerning the LONG-TERM POLICY IMPLICATIONS OF
IMPOVERISHMENT IN EARLY CHILDHOOD, and then will offer a tangible policy
solution to address a key component of child poverty in order to improve early
childhood well-being and later life outcomes.
? There will be a final exam covering key concepts discussed in the course. We will
review topics and questions that are fair game for the exam in class on December 8th.
Guidelines for the Written Assignments:
? Students will undertake a series of brief writing assignments. In sequence, these
projects will address the following topics:
? CURRENT CONDITIONS ~ Collect, distill and evaluate the best available
information on the current condition of children 0-5 on a specific dimension of
child well-being (e.g.: some specific component of health, economics, family
stability, early brain development). This review will include information on
Memphis and Shelby County, and will place this information in the context of
state, regional, cross-city, and national comparisons.
? LONG TERM IMPLICATIONS OF CURRENT CONDITIONS ~ Review the
scientific and social scientific research on the short and long-term implications of
the risks confronting young children in our community (e.g.: critical dimensions
might include school readiness, academic achievement, graduation and higher
Introduction to Public Policy
3
education rates, employment patterns, family formation patterns, involvement in
criminal behavior, levels of satisfaction in life …)
? FACTORS THAT PROTECT AT-RISK CHILDREN FROM NEGATIVE
OUTCOMES ~ Collect and evaluate the strongest available evidence concerning
protective factors that support optimal early childhood development. How do
these factors protect against the effects of an unequal start in life? What are their
implications for later life outcomes? (In other words, many children do well even
though they start life at a disadvantage. Why?)
? RESEARCH-EVALUATED INTERVENTIONS ~ Review evaluations of
interventions designed to improve the odds for at-risk children. What seems to
work when communities and their governments band together to try to improve
the well-being of young children?
? AN APPROPRIATE EARLY CHILDHOOD INTERVENTION FOR SHELBY
COUNTY ~ Select an intervention appropriate for addressing one dimension of
risk to early childhood development in Memphis and Shelby County. What
problem does your intervention address? Why is the current situation troubling?
What difference does the research literature attribute to this intervention? What
would this intervention mean for the future of Memphis and Shelby County?
Collectively, these five policy briefs are your research project for the course. Policy
briefs should be exactly three pages each (double spaced, 12 pt. Times Roman font), and
free of grammatical errors. Additionally, each policy brief must have a bibliography
attached containing 10 or more academic citations in addition to relevant media and other
sources. All papers must follow APA style. Do not use covers or bindings of any kind.
Simply begin with a cover sheet with a specific and clear title, relevant identifying
information for the author and course, and staple papers once in the upper left corner.

Required Readings for the Course
Books:
Clarke E. Cochran, Lawrence C. Mayer, TR Carr, N. Joseph Cayer 2008. American
Public Policy: An Introduction. 9th Edition.
Benjamin I. Page & Lawrence R. Jacobs. 2009. Class War? What Americans Really
Think About Economic Inequality Chicago. University of Chicago.
Catherine F. Smith. 2005. Writing Public Policy A Practical Guide to Communicating
in the Policy-Making Process. New York: Oxford University Press.
Deborah Stone. 2001. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. New
York: WW Norton.
Articles and Research Monographs:
Barton, Paul E., et. al. 2007. “The Family: America’s Smallest School.” Princeton NJ:
Educational Testing Service.
http://www.ets.org/Media/Education_Topics/pdf/5678_PERCReport_School.pdf
Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne and Greg J. Duncan. 1997. “The Effects of Poverty on Children.”
The Future of Children. 7(2) 55-71.
http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.memphis.edu/stable/1602387?cookieSet=1

First Focus. 2009. “Turning Point: The Long Term Effects of Recession-Induced Child
Poverty.” Washington DC: Author.
http://www.firstfocus.net/Download/TurningPoint.pdf/
Pati, Susmita, et. al., 2009. “Early childhood predictors of early school success: A
selective review of the literature.” Child Trends.
http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-
2009_05_26_FR_EarlySchoolSuccess.pdf
Joyce, Cate, et. al., 2009. “The State of Children in Memphis and Shelby County: Data
Book 2009” Memphis: The Urban Child Institute.
http://www.theurbanchildinstitute.org/get_involved.php
Yarrow, Andrew L. 2009. “History of U.S. Children’s Policy, 1900-Present” Washington
DC: First Focus.

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