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Early childhood learning and development: Key themes and findings

In April 2014, the Bipartisan Policy Center launched an effort to explore promising bipartisan approaches to strengthen early childhood policies at the federal and state levels. In the first phase of this effort, BPC conducted more than 75 interviews with policymakers, agency and business leaders, and early childhood advocates across the political spectrum. The aim of the interviews was to identify areas of potential bipartisan agreement and to better understand longstanding philosophical disagreements over the appropriate role for government in improving children's early years. Next, BPC organized a series of state-based roundtable discussions to uncover additional areas of bipartisan consensus; engage champions from the business, military, and communications sectors; and gather examples of effective local and state early childhood policies to inform federal policy development. Roundtable discussions were held in five cities: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Dallas, Texas; Durham, North Carolina; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Cheyenne, Wyoming. In addition, BPC convened several meetings in Washington, D.C., to gather feedback and share findings with leading experts in early childhood development and political communications. These conversations took place as the 2016 campaign and election brought into sharp relief the struggles of working families. As the new administration and Congress seek opportunities to deliver on policies to support working families, policies focused on early childhood well-being, development, and learning provide a promising area for potential bipartisan cooperation. This summary describes the findings of these outreach efforts. It begins by highlighting some key points and takeaways from the interviews and roundtables. Subsequent sections provide further context for the current policy debate and offer a more detailed account of the different issues and perspectives that are driving that debate, while also highlighting the opportunities and challenges for advancing early childhood policies. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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