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Knowledge From the Field

Increasing the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Existing Public Investments in Early Childhood Education

Published: June 2012

Publisher(s): Center for American Progress

Author(s): Cooper, Donna; Kristina Costa

Funder(s): Irving Harris Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation

View Report (64 pages; 809KB; PDF)

Increasing the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Existing Public Investments in Early Childhood Education

Area of Focus: Accountability; Early Learning


The paper identifies barriers to the operation of a well-coordinated system of high-quality early childhood education and proposes ten solutions to maximize the impact of current funding streams.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

=Challenges fall into eight major program areas: standards, assessments, data tracking and reporting, program evaluation, professional development and technical assistance, services to children with special needs, services to dual-language learners, and continuity and progress of the educational experience.

=Recommendations for the federal government include: partnering with states to align standards for all early learning programs; investing with states to build assessment systems; increasing consistency, quality, and access to technical assistance; implementing high-quality professional development; improving data and harmonizing reporting requirements; promoting the replication of successful strategies; building capacity to meet increasing demand for culturally and linguistically appropriate services; closing the gaps in screening; requiring participation as a means of boosting performance in failing elementary schools; and establishing a permanent office and infrastructure for the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education.

Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: Assessment; Data; Early Childhood; Early Learning; Evaluation; Head Start; Professional Development; Screening; Standards

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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