Building a 21st Century Economy

The Case for Investing in Early Education Reform

The New America Foundation launched its Early Education Expansion and Reform Initiative and released its new report "Building a 21st Century Economy: The Case for Investing in Early Education Reform," by Shelley Waters Boots.

As Congress begins to consider reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act and the education and training demands of the global economy, maximizing the effectiveness of our early childhood education system takes on greater significance. Compelling research confirms that by the third grade, much of the groundwork for a child's future success has already been laid. A number of states go so far as to incorporate third grade reading scores into their formula for predicting the needs for future prison construction. In contrast to the United States, other industrialized and emerging nations invest far more into children's early learning. Panelists presented ideas on the appropriate reforms and needed investments to improve our education system PK-3 and beyond and advance America's economic competitiveness in the years ahead.

This event was the first in a series of briefings covering early education reform, focusing on the critical years of pre-kindergarten through grade three (PK-3).


The New America Foundation
1630 Connecticut Ave., NW 7th Floor
Washington, DC, 20009
See map: Google Maps


  • Shelley Waters Boots
    Director, Early Education Initiative

  • Theola Labbe
    Social Issues Reporter, The Washington Post

  • Kent H. Hughes
    Director, Science, Technology, America and the Global Economy (STAGE) Program

  • Paul Houston
    Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators (AASA)