Early Education Initiative

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Archives: Early Education Initiative Policy Papers

Envisioning a Digital Age Architecture for Early Education

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • New America Foundation
March 26, 2014

The young children of today will soon grow into the middle-schoolers of the next decade, the high school graduates of the late 2020s, and the citizens and workforce of the future.

Raising Arizona: Lessons for the Nation from a State’s Experience with Full-Day Kindergarten

  • By CJ Libassi
February 24, 2014
Though recently much attention has been given to the importance of early childhood education, one stubborn shortcoming of education in the early grades remains largely ignored: Unlike every other grade in the K-12 system, some students in the United States still do not have access to free, full-day kindergarten at their local public schools. In fact, just 11 states and the District of Columbia require their public schools to provide free, fullday kindergarten by law. Alternatively, six states have no statute requiring any kindergarten at all.

Subprime Learning

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • Laura Bornfreund,
  • Clare McCann,
  • Conor Williams,
  • New America Foundation
January 21, 2014
Five years ago, the United States was in the thick of the Great Recession, coping with a stock market crash and loss of jobs that would send aftershocks throughout early education. Yet early 2009 was also a time of great hope among advocates for young children. President Barack Obama, newly sworn in, had called attention to early education throughout his campaign, aiming for $10 billion in public investments for children from birth to age five, educational infrastructure grants for states, and improvements in teaching. Many states already had been making investments in public preschool.

An Ocean of Unknowns

  • By
  • Laura Bornfreund,
  • New America Foundation
May 15, 2013

What is the best way to use data to measure teacher impact on student learning? States and school districts are attempting to navigate these uncharted waters. As of 2012, 20 states and DC require evidence of student learning to play a role in evaluating teacher performance. As a result, better information on student learning is in high demand, and no grade level is immune. Historically, most states have required standardized testing only in grades three through eight.

Reforming Head Start

  • By
  • Maggie Severns,
  • New America Foundation
December 11, 2012

As research continues to highlight the benefits of early childhood education, the Obama administration’s reforms to Head Start are shaking up the 45-year-old preschool program for children in poverty. This issue brief explains why some Head Start programs are competing for funding for the first time, how quality teaching is emphasized in future grant awards, and what to watch for in 2013.

Counting Kids and Tracking Funds in Pre-K and Kindergarten

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • Alex Holt,
  • New America Foundation
September 18, 2012

This issue brief, produced by the New America Foundation's Early Education Initiative, addresses the dearth of reliable, complete, and comparable data on pre-K and kindergarten in school districts and local communities.

Starting Early With English Language Learners

  • By
  • Maggie Severns,
  • New America Foundation
April 11, 2012

English Language Learners are a large and growing population in America’s public school system, but schools often fall short in preparing these students for success in college and the workforce. A new policy paper from the Early Education Initiative of the New America Foundation focuses on one state, Illinois, that is taking a different approach: building English Language Learner services that begin as early as pre-K to ensure that all students, regardless of their age, are supported in school.

Watching Teachers Work

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Susan Ochshorn
November 8, 2011

Identifying good teachers is a high priority in education reform, yet the debate rarely focuses on how education might improve if policies were based on teachers’ individual interactions with their students. This report argues for improving early education up through the third grade (PreK-3rd) by actually watching teachers in action using innovative observation tools in combination with evaluation and training programs.  

Getting in Sync

  • By
  • Laura Bornfreund,
  • New America Foundation
March 1, 2011

This report highlights problems nationwide with the licensing and preparation of teachers who work with young children in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first-, second- and third-grade classrooms. The report, "Getting in Sync: Revamping Licensure and Preparation for Teachers in Pre-K, Kindergarten and the Early Grades,"shows that today's system is not set up to ensure teachers in pre-kindergarten through the third grades are well-prepared to work with young children.

12 Ideas for Early Education in the 112th Congress

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • New America Foundation
February 25, 2011

As the 112th Congress gets to work, its members face an important opportunity to make lasting changes to public education. With the pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, also currently known as No Child Left Behind) lawmakers could enact significant improvements to strengthen early learning, as they also could in legislation related to the appropriation of funding at federal agencies.

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