Policy & Research


Below you’ll find links and brief descriptions to several key national and international reports that underscore the importance of investing in early education.

High-Quality Child Care: A Two-Generation Solution for a Productive American Workforce Read the latest report from Ready Nation on working families and the importance of high-quality early education programs for a productive future workforce.

The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects  A Pre-Kindergarten Task Force of interdisciplinary scientists reviewed the evidence on the impact of state-funded pre-kindergarten programs.

Nurse-Family Partnership: Parental Education and Early Health Result in Better Child Outcomes Read the latest summary of Professor Heckman’s research on the Memphis Nurse-Family Partnership Program. This research puts a widely-known voluntary home visiting program through its most rigorous analysis to date and finds important short- and long-term impacts for mothers and their children.

Fadeout Toolkit The research summaries, videos and statements in this toolkit will aid in explaining why fadeout doesn’t exist, and instead is a “fade up” of cognitive and socio-emotional skills that persist throughout life.

Uses and Misuses of Kindergarten Readiness Assessments There has been an increase in the use of kindergarten readiness assessments (KRAs) that measure where children are developmentally as they transition into kindergarten. These KRAs are generally designed to rely on data reported by classroom teachers and collect a broad range of information about a child’s abilities. Kindergarten readiness assessments have been a valuable tool for leaders and practitioners to identify gaps in children’s knowledge and skills and to enhance teaching and learning. Data from KRAs has also been used to measure kindergarten readiness of children statewide, to inform policy decisions about early learning resources and systems. This report is meant to help state and local education policymakers and leaders understand how to use KRA results appropriately—and how to avoid stretching them too far.

Why Reading Matters and What to do About it: A CEO Action Plan to Support Improved U.S. Literacy Rates U.S. companies are experiencing a very real “skills gap” — one that will become even more acute as the economy continues to grow, strengthen and add jobs over the next 15 years. A focus on improving third grade reading proficiency offers a uniquely powerful lever to address many aspects of the skills gap over the long term.

Moving from Evidence to Implementation of Early Childhood Programs: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief — The focus of the workshop was bringing science to practice at scale in order to bridge research to practice in local communities. The brief includes topics and discussions from the workshop.

The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program –Professor Heckman and his colleagues at the University of Chicago and University of Southern California Schaeffer Center released new research that presented a 13% ROI on early childhood programs, a substantial increase from the 7 – 10% of previously calculated data.

Transforming the Workforce for Children from Birth Through Age 8— The major focus of this report is on those professionals who are responsible for regular, daily care and education of young children from birth through age 8, working in settings such as homes, childcare centers, preschools, educational programs, and elementary schools.

Cost, Quality and Availability of Child Care Across the United States — The Care report examines the cost, quality and availability of child care in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, finding that no state does well in all three categories.

Kindergarten Entry Assessments- Use and Relationship with Children’s Early Learning –this report discusses findings from a study that examined: how many public schools used kindergarten entry assessments (KEAs) and for what purposes; what types of public schools used KEAs; and whether the use of KEAs was correlated with children’s early learning assessment scores in reading and math in spring of the kindergarten year.

Starting Early: Education from Prekindergarten to Third Grade –this brief from The Future of Children discusses the evidence for prekindergarten’s effectiveness, its role in setting the foundation for later academic learning, and its integration with K–3 education.

The Building Blocks of High-Quality Early Education Programs–this brief from The Learning Policy Institute identifies elements of high-quality early childhood education programs as indicated by research and professional standards.

The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Project Phase 3 Summary—a summary from UVA CASTL on the voluntary statewide rollout of Virginia’s Kindergarten Readiness Project in the fall of 2015.

The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Project—this report was commissioned by E3 to implement and evaluate a comprehensive readiness assessment to create a “snapshot” of Virginia’s children’s readiness skills at kindergarten entry.

Does pre-K work?  The research on ten early childhood programs—and what it tells us—a report from the American Enterprise Institute that looks at research on early childhood programs and examines what has the biggest impact on young children.

Virginia Early Childhood Development Fact Sheet—a one pager from the Administration for Children and Families The Administration on Children and Families that quantifies federal investments and “state highlights” in early learning in Virginia during the Obama Administration.

State Pre-K Funding: 2014-2015—a report from the Education Commission of the States that analyzes 2014-15 state appropriations for preschool across the country.

Improving the Odds: Seven Principles for Investing in Early Care and Educationa guide from FSG that highlights seven principles to help funders understand and anticipate the challenges and opportunities of supporting early care and education.

From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts: A Science-Based Approach to Building a More Promising Future for Young Children and Families —a report from the Center on the Developing Child Leveraging that leverages the latest science and research to generate and test new ideas to unlocking dramatic improvements to make communities a better place for children.

Building the Brain’s “Air Traffic Control” System: How Early Experiences Shape the Development of Executive Function—this joint Working Paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs explains how these lifelong skills develop, what can disrupt their development, and how supporting them pays off in school and life.

Early Warning!  Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters—a special report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that details the importance of third grade reading and explains that children who read at grade level by the end of third grade are more successful in school, work, and in life.

Double Jeopardy How Third-Grade Reading And Poverty Influence High School Graduation—a study from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that finds that that students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave without a diploma than proficient readers.


Below, you’ll find national links to key leaders in the early education advocacy, policy, and research arenas.

Child Trends—an independent, non-partisan research center dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families.

Harvard University’s Center on The Developing Child—combines cutting-edge, scientific knowledge on early child development to impact public decision-making that impacts the lives of young children.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills—the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education.

Ready Nation—a business partnership for early childhood and economic success aimed at amplifying the voice of business leaders in support of early childhood policies that strengthen our economy and workforce.

Voices for Virginia’s Children—building a powerful voice for children and inspiring Virginians to act on their behalf.

Zero to Three—advancing the healthy development of babies and very young children. Tips and information to help parents educate themselves and participate in dialogues through electronic discussion groups on specific topics.

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