Reimagining Early Care and Education: A New America Vision

On March 30th,  New America examined why reimagining and investing in early care and education must be a national priority now and to explore how to make it a reality for all children.

The need for an early care and education system that works for all children and families has gained tremendous urgency. And yet the crises of 2020 have brought to light just how fragile and inadequate the existing policies and systems are in the U.S. With new federal leadership, the time is ripe for a bold post-pandemic agenda for a strong, functioning early care and education system that prioritizes equity, embraces whole child approaches, and connects smoothly with elementary education and systems that support family wellbeing.

Rapid social and technological changes within professional and civic life require that America’s children become lifelong learners who can think critically and inventively, develop constructive ways to express themselves, engage in meaningful relationships, and make sound decisions by drawing upon a rich knowledge base about how the world works. A seamless continuum of high-quality, easily accessible early care and education in their first decade of life builds the foundation of cognitive, social, and emotional skills on which future learning rests. But in the middle of a devastating pandemic, economic recession, persistent racial injustice, and violent political extremism, high-quality early care and education is especially critical. Without a renewed focus on and investment in children’s growth and development, the negative effects of these crises on children could be long-lasting.  We need bold changes to early care and education policies and practices at all levels. 


John B. King Jr., President & CEO, Education Trust

Cecilia Munoz, Vice President for Public Interest Technology and Local Initiatives, New America

Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America


Lea J.E. Austin, Director, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, UC Berkeley

Laura Bornfreund (moderator), Director, Early & Elementary Education

Danielle Ewen, Principal, EducationCounsel

Helene D. Gayle (moderator), President & CEO, The Chicago Community Trust

Roberta Golinkoff, Unidel H. Rodney Sharp Chair and professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware

Elliot Haspel, Program Officer, Education Policy and Research, Robins Foundation, Virginia

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution

Brandy Lawrence, Senior Director, Birth-3 Policy, Communication and Partnerships at Bank Street College of Education, New York

Meera Mani, Director of Children, Families, and Communities, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, California

Tammy Mann, President & CEO, Campagna Center, Virginia

Edward Manuszak, Superintendent, Dundee Community Schools, Michigan and Co-Chair of AASA Early Learning Cohort

Shantel Meek, Founding Director, Children’s Equity Project, Arizona State University

Amy O’Leary, Director of Early Education for All, Strategies for Children, Massachusetts

Brigid Schulte (moderator), Director, Better Life Lab, New America

Sara Slaughter (closing remarks), Executive Director, W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation

Medha Tare (moderator), Director of Research for Learner Variability, Digital Promise and New America Learning Sciences Exchange Fellow

This event is made possible by the generous support of W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation.