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Before Birth & Up Through Third Grade

A Forum on Education Policy Connections

Note: The video above features the panel discussion titled, “Leveraging Public Dollars: How?” from the Before Birth & Up Through Third Grade Forum on March 2. Videos for the other two panel discussions can be found on the right side of this page.

If you had to pick the hardest nuts to crack in early education policy, what would they be?

That was the question that animated discussions near the end of the policy forum held on March 2, 2011. (It is also what animates the open online forum that emerged from the event. More details below.) Everyone who attended -- which included about 70 people from school districts, national advocacy groups, philanthropic foundations and research centers -- was assigned to one of six roundtables. Each table had the same assignment: From a list of subject areas, they were asked to choose two that evoke the most challenging problems among educators and policymakers in the early education space. Here's what they had to choose from:

  1. Governance/Infrastructure
  2. Workforce/Human Capital
  3. Quality: Standards, Curricula and Environment
  4. Data & Assessments
  5. Family Friendly Policies and Engaged Families
  6. Transitions and Pathways

And here’s how the votes came out:

  1. Workforce/Human Capital  - 4 votes
  2. Governance/Infrastructure - 3 votes
  3. Quality - 3 votes
  4. Data & Assessments - 2 votes

Participants saw challenges in several areas, not just one or two. We also asked them to jot down key questions related to each area. Here's a sampling of what they came up with:
    •    How do we create governance structures to support birth-through-age-8 services?
    •    What is the operational cost of blending and braiding funding to sustain programs?
    •    What needs to be done to drive funding to these younger age groups?
    •    What resources are needed to support quality in educational standards and curricula?
    •    How do we make quality systemic?
    •    What are the skills and competencies that the workforce needs at each of these levels (working with infants and toddlers, pre-kindergartners, kindergartners, and children in the first, second and third grades)?
    •    How might we build a system of diverse pathways toward advancement in careers in teaching and leading?
    •    What incentives are out there to recruit and retain specialization in early childhood?
    •    How do we assess and document quality?
No doubt, there's lots of work to do to provide satisfying answers to even one of these questions, let alone all of them. We're looking forward to continued conversation about these issues on the online Early Ed Forum that we launched following this in-person policy forum. We populated the online discussion space with the questions above as a starting point. Do you have ideas, promising practices, lessons learned, challenges to share or other questions related to these issues? Join the discussion online!


8:30 a.m. - Coffee and Registration

9:00 a.m. - Welcome and Goal Setting

Lisa Guernsey
Director, Early Education Initiative
New America Foundation

Adele Robinson
Deputy Executive Director
National Association for the Education of Young Children

9:15 a.m. - Leveraging Public Dollars: How?

Janine Bacquie
Director, Early Childhood
Director, Montgomery County Public Schools

Walter Gilliam
Associate Professor, Child Study Center
Yale University

Shelley Waters Boots
Principal, SWB Strategic Solutions, LLC.

Steven Dow
Executive Director, Community Action Project of Tulsa County

10:30 a.m.- Ensuring Quality: Developing Teachers and Administrators

Carri Stoltz
Early Childhood Coordinator, Alexandria City Public Schools

Bridget Hamre
Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching & Learning
University of Virginia

Linda Espinosa
Author and Professor Emeritus
University of Missouri-Columbia

Bette Hyde
Director, Department of Early Learning
Washington State

with additional remarks by Kelly Pollitt of the National Association of Elementary School Principals

11:45 a.m. - Keynote Luncheon

Roberto Rodriguez (invited)
White House Domestic Policy Council

Steven Hicks
U.S. Department of Education

1:15 p.m. - PreK to 3rd Presentation

Kristie Kauerz
Harvard Graduate School of Education

2:00 p.m.- Roundtable Discussions

Sharon Ritchie
Senior Scientist, FPG Institute
UNC-CH and FirstSchool

Tonja Rucker
Senior Program Associate, National League of Cities

Mimi Howard
Head Start Fellow 2010-11

Chris Maxwell
Director, New Schools Project
Erikson Institute/Chicago Public Schools

Jana Fleming
Director of Herr Research Center for Children and Social Policy
Erikson Institute

2:45 p.m. - Summary of Table Discussions

3:15 p.m.- Unveiling of Online Discussion Space at NewAmerica.net

4:00 p.m. - Break

5:00 p.m. - Book Talk and Wine Reception

David Kirp
Professor of Public Policy, UC-Berkeley
Author, Kids First

6:00 p.m. - Close

Event Time and Location

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 - 8:30am - 6:00pm
New America Foundation
1899 L Street NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

Related Programs

Event Photos

Click here to view these photos.
A range of photos from this event are available on Flickr. Click on the icon at left to view or download the photos.

Video Clips

See video
Video of Panel 2
See video
Video of Luncheon Presentation and Keynote