Teachers College Hosts Strategic Conference on Early Care and Education
By Roberta SalvadorOn June 9th and 10th, The National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) will convene a leading-edge group of American policy leaders, including the speakers of each state house in the county and 50 top business executives, to focus on Early Education and Care (ECE). Co-sponsored by the State Legislators Foundation (Centerville, MA), and hosted at Teachers College, the four day event, "Capitalizing on the Investment: Making the Most of Your Early Care and Education Dollars," will arm policy makers with the most recent research and scholarship available. To accomplish this, the nation's leading researchers on children's policies will join NCCF Co-directors Sharon Lynn Kagan and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn as the group engages in serious debate around tough, unresolved policy issues. The meeting is designed to be informal, engaging, and intense; the intended outcome would be larger investments and better options for children and families.
"This conference will link important leaders in state governments with innovative thinkers and researchers in the field," said Brooks-Gunn. "We want to provide legislators with the best information available, and to widen the role of research in support of education policymaking."
Even though state governments across the country are increasing their investment in early childhood programs -- up to more than $2.1 billion in 2004, substantial numbers of children are unserved or underserved in low quality programs. "With ECE increasingly seen as the hub of a wheel connecting educational equity, economic gains, and the nation's future global competitiveness, policy makers want to make their investments count," Kagan noted. "How to do that best, with the highest returns to the children, their families and society needs far more rigorous examination." As Associated Dean for Policy and Research, Kagan also noted that this conference is a "natural for us: we are a strategic intellectual center for policy research, and this conference will bring the conditions of early education and care into sharper focus."
Conference participants will look at various early care and education governing structures, funding mechanisms, teacher accountability and student performance measures. The conference will also examine the programs, incentives, and regulations being adopted across the country to maximize the positive impact these initiatives have on the lives of children and families.Lawmakers will hear from many of the nation's leading scholars, experts and practitioners in the field of early child care and education, including The Honorable James B. Hunt, Jr., former governor of North Carolina and current Director of the James B. Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy. In addition to Governor Hunt, presenters include Dr. Arthur Rolnick of the Federal Reserve Board of Minneapolis, Dr. Catherine Scott-Little of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Dr. Jaqueline Jones, formerly of the Educational Testing System (ETS) and Anne Mitchell of Early Childhood Policy Research. previous page