Closing the Achievement Gap

Expanding Access to Quality Early Education in Grades PK-3, Featuring Gov. Tim Kaine

Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia presented a half-hour speech to over a hundred guests at the New America Foundation on Tuesday, July 25, 2006. Kaine described his views on the importance of early childhood education, which studies show can reduce the number of unprepared students entering kindergarten each year and reduce the number of elementary school children who fail to advance to the next grade at the end of the school year. Kaine noted that, in Virginia, 10,000 children in grades K-3 repeat a grade each year, and the state spends four times as much on remediation for repeaters as it does on early education and preventative services. Kaine’s top goal as Governor is to phase-in universal access to pre-school. Kaine outlined a process that Virginia is pursuing which is consistent with recommendations advanced by the New America Foundation.

After his introductory remarks, Michael Dannenberg, Director of New America's Education Policy Program, moderated a panel discussion that included early education experts Dr. William Gormley of Georgetown University, Dr. Michael Lopez of the National Center for Latino Child and Family Research, and Justin King, Senior Policy Analyst at the New America Foundation. Their discussion covered issues ranging from funding sources to the value of universalizing early education. New America’s Justin King gave an overview of the recently released Issue Brief entitled, “Closing the Achievement Gap Through Expanded Access to Quality Early Education in Grades PK-3.” Dr. Gormley commented on lessons that Virginia and other states might draw from his extensive research of Oklahoma’s universal pre-kindergarten program. Dr. Lopez commented on the recommendations presented in New America’s latest Issue Brief and the challenges facing programs attempting to serve Latino children and their families.


The New America Foundation
1630 Connecticut Ave., NW 7th Floor
Washington, DC, 20009
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  • The Honorable Tim Kaine
    Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Dr. William Gormley
    University Professor and Co-Director, Center for Research on Children in the U.S., Georgetown University
  • Justin King
    Senior Policy Analyst, Education Policy Program, New America Foundation
  • Dr. Michael Lopez
    Executive Director and Co-Founder, National Center for Latino Child and Family Research


  • Michael Dannenberg
    Director, Education Policy Program, New America Foundation