Transforming Early Childhood Policy in California: Potential for Progress

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With a new governor and new leaders in the statehouse, California is poised to significantly increase access to quality early care and education for all children. In his first budget, Governor Gavin Newsom laid out several strategies for supporting young children, including increasing access to full-day early childhood programs for families, investing in infrastructure, and improving training for early educators. Now the hard work begins. Which policies should be on the legislative agenda this year? How do we ensure high-quality preparation for caregivers and teachers? How do policymakers ensure sustainable and lasting improvements to early education?

Join New America and the Learning Policy Institute for an invitation-only forum on transforming early care and education in California with a focus on quality, especially for children in underserved communities. Discussion will focus on the research base that can inform policy recommendations for improving early learning in California, from birth through age 5, and into elementary school. Ann O’Leary, chief of staff for Governor Gavin Newsom, has been invited to provide remarks that will be followed by a panel discussion with leading researchers and practitioners on early childhood policy and practice.

Opening Remarks:

Ann O’Leary
Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor of California

Linda Darling-Hammond, @LDH_ed
President and CEO, Learning Policy Institute

Lisa Guernsey, @LisaGuernsey
Deputy Director of Education Policy, New America


Deborah Stipek
Judy Koch Professor of Education, Stanford Graduate School of Education

Kim Pattillo Brownson
Vice President of Policy and Strategy, First 5 LA

LaWanda Wesley
Director of Quality Enhancement & Professional Development, Oakland Unified School District

Hanna Melnick
Research Analyst and Policy Advisor, Learning Policy Institute


Patricia Lozano
Executive Director, Early Edge California

Samantha Tran
Senior Managing Director of Education Policy, Children Now


Sarah Jackson
Partner at HiredPen Inc., and with New America’s Early and Elementary Education Policy Program

With thanks to the Heising-Simons Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation for supporting this event, and to the Alliance for Early Success, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Foundation for Child Development, the Joyce Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the New Venture Fund Trust for Learning, the Sandler Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for supporting work on early childhood research and policy that helped to inform this event.