Related Publications

Improving Early Literacy in PreK–3: Lessons Learned

September 2016
Shari Golan, Lauren Cassidy, Katrina Woodworth

In 2009, The McKnight Foundation adopted a goal to dramatically increase the number of students who reach the critical milestone of third-grade reading proficiency, an indicator predictive of later academic outcomes and high school graduation (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). Research suggests that ensuring third-grade reading proficiency requires starting early—before children even get to kindergarten—and then providing high-quality early elementary instruction to sustain and strengthen those gains (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010; Camilli, Ryan, Vargas, & Barnett, 2010).

The McKnight Foundation understood that improving outcomes for high-needs students1 is complex and multi-faceted work, and would take significant time. The Foundation sought a long-term partnership (up to 10 years) with a set of local schools and districts, all serving high-needs students, to put research into practice by providing high-quality, aligned, and coherent literacy experiences from PreK–3. The Pathway Schools Initiative emerged from this vision. 

In 2011, The McKnight Foundation partnered with a set of districts and schools in the Twin Cities area, all serving high-needs students, on a PreK–3 literacy initiative. The Pathway Schools Initiative aims to dramatically increase the number of students who reach the critical milestone of third-grade reading proficiency, an indicator predictive of later academic outcomes and high school graduation. This report focuses on findings from Phase I of the Pathway Schools Initiative (2011–2015).

Lessons drawn from the Pathway Schools Initiative evaluation have implications for the Foundation and its partners and are informing current Phase II efforts. They also can inform the work of other actors in the field.

Remarks by Secretary Arne Duncan The State of Preschool – NIEER 2013 Yearbook Release Press Call

May 2014
May 12, 2014 Press Call

Prepared remarks by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on a media call regarding the relesae ofthe 2013 State Preschool Yearbook.

Contributions of Modern Measurement Theory to Measuring Executive Function In Early Childhood: An Empirical Demonstration

August 2013

This study demonstrates the merits of evaluating a newly developed battery of executive function tasks, designed for use in early childhood, from the perspective of item response theory (IRT).


Executive Function in Early Childhood: Longitudinal Measurement Invariance and Developmental Change

June 2012

This study tested the longitudinal measurement invariance and developmental changes of a newly developed battery of executive function (EF) tasks for use in early childhood.


Building and Supporting an Aligned System: A Vision for Transforming Education Across the Pre-K-Grade Three Years

July 2011
National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)

This report is from the NAESP Foundation’s Task Force on Early Learning, which was charged with examining strategies for building an aligned system for early learning.

Leadership Matters FY11

June 2010

This report from Pre-K Now examines governors' budget proposals for preschool education programs.

The Measurement of Executive Function at Age 3 Years: Psychometric Properties and Criterion Validity of a New Battery of Tasks

June 2010

In this study, the authors examined the psychometric properties and criterion validity of a newly developed
battery of tasks that were designed to assess executive function (EF) abilities in early childhood.


Estimated State and Local Fiscal Effects of the Nurse Family Partnership Program

August 2009

This recent working paper from Senior Economist Timothy J. Bartik of the Upjohn Institute focuses on the fiscal benefits of the Nurse Family Partnership program.

How Policymakers Should Deal with the Delayed Benefits of Early Childhood Programs

August 2009

Senior Economist Timothy J. Bartik examines the effects on earnings of early childhood programs in this working paper from the Upjohn Institute.

Distributional Effects of Early Childhood Programs and Business Incentives and Their Implications for Policy

August 2009

This working paper from the Upjohn Institute's Timothy J. Bartik looks at the effects of early childhood programs and business incentives on income distribution.

Preschool Adequacy and Efficiency in California: Issues, Policy Options, and Recommendations

May 2009

This analysis integrates the results from a series of studies in California and makes recommendations for preschool policy in the state.

The Fiscal Effects of Investing in High-Quality Preschool Programs

April 2009

This brief from The Brookings Institution estimates the impacts two model preschool programs would have on federal, state and local government budgets, finding that both programs would provide increased revenues over time.