Early Childhood Education

At the Hunt Institute, we believe that ensuring educational equity—in access, quality, and outcomes—is the most important issue facing states today. Despite pockets of innovation, as a nation, we are still failing to offer children and families high-quality public school options. We also believe that strong leadership at the state level is the most effective way to create the change in education that our families and children not only desire but fundamentally deserve.

That is why the Institute works to ensure state policymakers have a keen understanding of the major education issues, an astute political instinct, and a playbook of transformative state- and local-level efforts that are exemplars of what public education can and should look like for every child.

Achievement gaps between students of different socioeconomic status and race are seen at every level of our education system—in test scores, graduation rates, suspension rates, even in the number of words heard in the first critical years of life. These achievement gaps don’t just happen spontaneously. As the science around early brain development continues to substantiate, adverse environments due to factors such as poverty, violence, and maternal depression shape the architecture of developing brains and have lasting impacts on children’s long-term learning, behavior, and mental health. And so, if we are to get serious about equity, we need to start with the developing brain—we need to build a system of support for children from birth to age eight.

Use the map below to access state-specific briefings that include information and research from dozens of sources to help contextualize the efforts that support families and children from birth through grade 3.