What is the goal of the project? Legacy 2030 captures the voices and experiences of those charged with developing, informing and/or implementing state early education policy — state early childhood specialists in state departments of education or state child-serving agencies; and those who have influenced development of state early education policy, such as long-time national leaders and researchers — pioneers of our field.

Legacy 2030 documents an early education legacy by looking back to understand the history and context of today’s policy initiatives and challenges, and looking ahead to develop strategies for continued progress. The project identifies the pressing policy issues that could make a significant difference in child outcomes and explores solutions from diverse viewpoints among leaders who have shaped the ECE field from the early 1980s to the present.

Why capture the voice of state early childhood specialists? Legacy 2030 seeks to inform policy decisions for children, birth to third grade, over the coming decade (2020–2030). Early childhood specialists have first-hand knowledge of state policies and administrative processes that are working (or not working) to support early learning and development; how context, policies, administrative structures, and communication channels impact the state agency’s work with districts and local communities implementing early childhood programs, and barriers to achieving state goals around transitioning to school.

Why is this project important, now? Too many children still lack access to high-quality early learning experiences, resulting in inequitable opportunities to succeed in school and life. State early childhood specialists are responsible for implementing policies and collaborating with other stakeholders to meet the needs of all young children in their state. Yet no one has adequately documented the voice, experience and perspectives of current and former state early childhood specialists. Sharing their deep understanding of the challenges and constraints of implementing state policy in a compelling and accessible format can lead to change in the design and implementation of policies to improve outcomes for all children.

What is our research approach? CEELO contracted with The Policy Equity Group to conduct focus groups and a national survey of state early childhood specialists. With this background, CEELO, together with our National Advisory Group, produced the following:

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