Our Insights

Statement from Dr. Steve Barnett on the Build Back Better Framework’s Historic Opportunity to Strengthen Early Education and the Nation

The Build Back Better Framework offers a historic evidence-based opportunity to transform early education in the United States before the end of this decade. No proposal, including the national investment in Head Start that began more than 50 years ago, has had more potential to improve the lives of young children.

The Framework’s provisions support child development through two primary pathways. First, it increases access and quality in child care from the earliest years and creates a common, strong foundation for the learning and development of all children with preschool beginning at age 3. As many providers serve the same child with both child care and preschool, concurrently or at different ages, the framework’s child care and preschool provisions are mutually reinforcing. Second, families will receive a large boost in disposable income to support child development as they pay less (or nothing) for child care and preschool while earnings from employment will likely rise. Tax credits and other income supports—especially during early childhood–have been found to improve child development and educational outcomes over the long-term.

This investment in early care and education can transform the lives of millions beginning in early childhood and extending through their adult years, contributing to higher educational attainment, higher workforce productivity, and better health.


The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, conducts and disseminates independent research and analysis to inform early childhood education policy.