Early education is the subject of unprecedented bipartisan interest from both Capitol Hill and the Obama administration. Advocates herald the lifetime savings of effective pre-k interventions, which have been calculated between $7 and $10 for every dollar invested. But what does quality mean in terms of closing the achievement gap? And what are the implications for policy? The D.C. Partnership for Early Literacy is an Early Reading First project that supports evidence-based, high-quality early literacy instruction in 28 preschool classrooms at 3 public charter schools educating a diverse, primarily low SES population of 3- and 4-year-old children. These data-driven preschools share six quality indicators to create engaging, nurturing early education settings that are dramatically raising the trajectory of learning for children at risk of school failure. Craig Ramey, a nationally recognized early childhood education research expert, and a panel of experienced early education practitioners from two schools participating in the D.C. Partnership for Early Literacy will report on which child outcomes really count toward quality; how to embed professional development into pre-k; what quality pre-k programs can and should measure; and how districts, schools and classrooms can use data to close the achievement gap before children enter kindergarten.
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