Setting Priorities in 2016

Early and Elementary Years
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It’s an election year and state, local, and federal seats, including the one in the White House, are up for grabs. There are numerous important issues to discuss and education should certainly be one. However, education has yet to enter the conversation in a meaningful way, especially early and elementary education.

In late 2015, New America’s Early and Elementary Education Policy team released the report, From Crawling to Walking: Ranking States on Birth-3rd Grade Policies that Support Strong Readers, measuring states on 65 indicators in seven policy areas. The report found that most states are not taking a comprehensive approach to children’s early literacy learning.

What should From Crawling to Walking’s big takeaways mean for the 2016 elections? What should presidential and other candidates be saying about early childhood? What should be the priorities for our youngest learners? And, what are the opportunities and challenges to realizing those priorities?

Join us for a panel discussion moderated by Alyson Klein of Education Week that will answer some of these questions.

Follow the discussion online by using #EarlyEd2016 and following @NewAmericaEd.


Lisa Guernsey
Deputy Director, Education Policy Program, New America
Director, Learning Technologies Project, New America


Laura Bornfreund
Director, Early and Elementary Education Policy, New America

Marquita Furness Davis
Executive Director, Jefferson County (Alabama) Committee for Economic Opportunity (JCCEO)

Katharine B. Stevens
Research Fellow, Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute 

Albert Wat
Senior Policy Director, Alliance for Early Success


Alyson Klein
Reporter and co-author of the blog Politics K-12, Education Week

Other speakers will include:

Helen Blank, Director of Child Care and Early Learning at the National Women's Law Center; Leanne C. Barrett, Senior Policy Analyst at Rhode Island Kids Count; Conor Williams, Founding Director of the Dual Language Learners National Work Group at New America; and Melissa Tooley, Senior Policy Analyst for the Education Policy Program at New America

Want to explore From Crawling to Walking in advance of the event? Check out our analysis, maps, and rankings on New America's Atlas platform.

This event is made possible by the generous support of the Joyce Foundation.