Shayna Cook

Policy Analyst, Education Policy Program

Shayna Cook is a policy analyst with the Education Policy program at New America. She was a member of the Early & Elementary Education team, and now works on the Learning Technologies project. Cook researches and reports on innovation in family engagement, new technologies, and digital equity issues concerning children from birth through third grade. She also writes about the early childhood workforce and school discipline issues that impact children in the early years and grades. 

Cook has authored the reports "Starting Young: Massachusetts Birth–3rd Grade Policies that Support Children's Literacy Development," "From Crawling to Walking: Ranking States on Birth–3rd Grade Policies That Support Strong Readers," "A False Dichotomy: Elementary School Principals on Academics and Play," "Tradeoffs: Elementary Principals on Hiring and Staffing in the Early Grades," "Multilingual Paraprofessionals: An Untapped Resource for Supporting American Pluralism," "Integrating Technology in Early Literacy: A Snapshot of Community Innovation in Family Engagement," and "Teacher Talent Untapped: Multilingual Paraprofessionals Speak About the Barriers to Entering the Profession."      

Before joining New America, she taught pre-K and 3rd grade in the District of Columbia Public Schools and at a private early learning center in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Cook and her work have been featured in media outlets including Slate, Education Week, and The Washington Monthly. 

She graduated from American University with a master’s degree in education, focusing on policy and leadership. She holds a bachelor’s degree in classics from Howard University.

All Work

EDUCATION POLICY
A Survey of Programs Using Digital-Age Approaches to Family Engagement & Early Learning

We invite family engagement and early learning program leaders to fill out our survey. Results will be published publicly next Spring.


EDUCATION POLICY
Early Learning in the Digital Age

EDUCATION POLICY
Trump's salary donation to STEM is a "political stunt," education experts say

Shayna Cook was quoted in EdScoop about Trump's recent salary donation to the Department of Education.


EDUCATION POLICY
K-12 Teachers Are Disproportionately White and Monolingual. Here’s One Way That Could Change.

Amaya Garcia and Shayna Cook wrote an article for Slate about the disparities in racial and linguistic diversity among the K-12 student popu


Poor Shaming—But This Time in the School Cafeteria

New Mexico's recent legislative action against lunch shaming shows how states can stop schools from shaming students living in poverty.


EDUCATION POLICY
The Ready to Learn Program: A Q-and-A with Shelley Pasnik

Examining a federal program for research-based media that promote early learning, particularly for children in low-income families.


EDUCATION POLICY
Academics vs. Play: The False Dilemma That Some Principals Face

Abbie Lieberman and Shayna Cook wrote a blog post for NAEYC regarding the connection between children’s play and learning.


EDUCATION POLICY
Teacher Talent Untapped

This report highlights the barriers multilingual paraprofessionals face in entering teaching in their own words.


EDUCATION POLICY
Multilingual Paraprofessionals Highlight Barriers to Entering the Teaching Profession

A new paper uses focus group data with multilingual paraprofessionals to explore barriers to entering teaching.


EDUCATION POLICY
Interview: Taking a Look at Pre-K Teachers’ Implicit Biases

Do early educators’ implicit biases impact their behavioral expectations and recommendations for suspension and expulsion?


EDUCATION POLICY
Cyberbullying Prevention: A Case for Starting Early

What parents and educators should recognize is that addressing cyberbullying may require starting with early education.


EDUCATION POLICY
New Guidance on Using ESSA to Support Early Learning

The U.S. Department of Education released new non-regulatory guidance on the Every Student Succeeds Act and early learning.