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Early Care and Education

State governments across the country are increasing their investment in early childhood programs - up to more than $2.1 billion in 2004 - but substantial numbers of children are unserved or underserved in low-quality programs.

In June, the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) at Teachers College will convene leading American policymakers, including the Speakers of each state and 50 top business executives, to focus on early education and care (ECE) in a four-day event titled "Capitalizing on the Investment: Making the Most of Your Early Care and Education Dollars." Co-sponsored by the State Legislators Foundation, the event is designed to be informal, engaging, and intense, with the goal of achieving 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 co-chair Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. "We want to provide legislators with the best information available and to widen the role of research in support of education policymaking."

Co-chair Sharon Lynn Kagan, TC's Associate Dean for Policy Research, noted that "with ECE increasingly seen as the hub of a wheel connecting educational equity, economic gains and the nation's future global competitiveness, policymakers want to make their investments count."

The event will look at early care and education governing structures, funding mechanisms, teacher accountability, student performance measures, programs, incentives and regulations intended to maximize the positive impact these initiatives have on the lives of children and families.

Presenters include James B. Hunt, Jr., Director of the James B. Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy; Arthur Rolnick of the Federal Reserve Board of Minneapolis; Dr. Catherine Scott-Little of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Jaqueline Jones, formerly of the Educational Testing System; and Anne Mitchell of Early Childhood Policy Research.

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