Laura Bornfreund

Director, Early & Elementary Education and Co-Director, Family-Centered Social Policy

Laura Bornfreund is director of early & elementary education policy with the Education Policy program at New America. She leads a team of writers and analysts working on new ideas for improving children’s birth-through-third grade learning experiences. Bornfreund has authored the reports “An Ocean of Unknowns: Using Student Achievement Data to Evaluate PreK-3rd Grade Teachers," "Getting in Sync: Revamping Licensing and Preparation for Teachers in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and the Early Grades," and was lead author on the reports, “From Crawling to Walking: Ranking States on Birth-3rd Grade Policies that Support Strong Readers” and “Beyond subprime Learning: Accelerating Progress in Early Education.” Before joining New America, she worked with several policy organizations in Washington, D.C., including the Institute for Educational Leadership, The Forum for Education and Democracy, and Common Core (now known as Great Minds).

Previously, Bornfreund worked for the City of Orlando, helping to implement its Parramore Kidz Zone, an initiative modeled on the Harlem Children's Zone. She began her career as a fourth grade teacher in Orlando, Fla. Bornfreund holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Central Florida. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and daughter.

All Work

Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce Will Take a Village

Policy and advocacy organizations have made a public commitment to work collaboratively to improve the early care and education workforce.

Takeaways from New America and CEELO Blog Series on Early Learning and ESSA

Posts focused on how states could incorporate early learning into their ESSA plans

Social And Emotional Skills: Everybody Loves Them, But Still Can't Define Them

Laura Bornfreund was quoted in NPR on the importance of teaching social and emotional skills.

Q&A with Elizabeth Groginsky on DC's New ECE Credentialing Requirements

Lead teachers in licensed child care centers will have to have an associate's degree by 2020

Our Take on New Paper: Rethinking Credential Requirements in Early Education

New Paper on the Need for Specialized Teacher Licenses in the Early Grades

Narrower licenses can allow for more specialization

One Size Doesn't Fit All

In too many cases, the needs of the bureaucracy win out over children’s developmental needs.

Running a Pre-K Program Is Hard. So Why Do Some States Require Almost No Qualifications?

Abbie Lieberman and Laura Bornfreund wrote an article for Slate about state-level standards and requirements for preschool programs.

Faith Group Continues Literacy Push in Henrico Schools

Laura Bornfreund was quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on the effectiveness of direct instruction for young children:

What's the Right Thing to Do for Every Child to Succeed?

ESSA both strengthens and expands opportunities for early learning, birth through third grade

Don’t Use Kindergarten Readiness Assessments for Accountability

While KRAs have several benefits for teaching and learning, the results can also be used inappropriately.

This Trump Budget Cut Stands to Reduce Young Learners’ Odds of Escaping Poverty

Abbie Lieberman and Laura Bornfreund explain how the President's budget proposal could negatively affect school-principal quality.