Since 2018, in partnership with multiple other state agencies, the New Jersey Early Learning Commission has hosted the New Jersey Enterprise Analysis System for Early Learning (NJ-EASEL), the state’s early childhood integrated data systemAn early childhood integrated data system (ECIDS) “collects, integrates, maintains, stores, and reports information from early childhood programs across multiple agencies.”
Source: Institute of Education Sciences. (n.d.).. Functioning as both a warehouse and a series of data-sharing agreements, the system shares demographic, program, workforce, and individual level data on early childhood programs and the children and families they serve. NJ-EASEL integrates data internally across multiple departments (e.g., Department of Education, Department of Children and Families, Department of Human Services, and Department of Health). The system does not yet have a public arm, but it supports the statewide longitudinal data system, NJEEDS.
NJ-EASEL was built after Governor Chris Christie’s Executive Order No. 77 in 2011 established the Early Learning Commission. The system was launched in 2018 and has been funded by federal grants including Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant and Preschool Development Grant Birth Through 5 (PDG B-5).
New Jersey Education to Earnings Data System . (2021). 2021 Year in Review.
LiBetti, A. & Fu, R. (2022). A State Scan of Early Learning Assessments and Data Systems. New America
Early Childhood Policy Matters. (2022). Advancing Early Childhood Integrated Data in New Jersey – Early Childhood Policy Matters
Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:
Learn More about ELS@H Findings
Strong infrastructure and systems – including governance structures and data systems – are key aspects of high-quality early education and care. And research suggests there is a need for more accessible, affordable, and high-quality early education within a mixed-delivery system; strengthening infrastructure and systems is one important way states and cities can take action to address these needs and accomplish these goals.
Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) that connect to the need for more robust infrastructure and systems, including data systems:
- Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
- But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.
- No one early education setting type is inherently of higher quality than another; children develop and learn well in every setting type, and in the study, all setting types showed room to grow in quality.
- We have learned a great deal from this groundbreaking, large-scale study. Nevertheless, there is still much to learn about what children, families, and educators need, and about what “works” – for whom and under what circumstances – across all the diverse settings where young children learn and grow.