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Knowledge Center
Center on the States
Cultivating, supporting, and disseminating innovations

Background Resources

With a federal investment and standards to ensure high quality, communities are able to provide vulnerable children and families with a window of opportunity through Head Start. At the same time, states also play a key role in preparing children for success in school. This role ranges from directly funding additional Head Start/Early Head Start slots and partnering with Head Start on Pre-K services to administering child care, Pre-K, and Home Visiting programs. Like Head Start, state early learning systems and investments have grown substantially in the past few years.

The following websites provide a more detailed look into the role states play in early learning:

National Governors Association - The National Governors Association partners with Governors and their policy advisors to coordinate, align, build, and develop early learning programs and systems in their states.  Visit NGA’s Center for Best Practices here.

National Conference of State Legislatures - The National Conference of State Legislatures assists State lawmakers by tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation, and technical assistance.  Find out about State legislation, budget actions, school readiness assessments, and more here.

Council of Chief State School Officers - The Council of Chief State School Officers works with chief state school officers, state education agencies, and others to support states in integrating early childhood, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education standards, assessment, data, and professional development efforts.  Find out more here.

Alliance for Early Success - The Alliance for Early Success (formerly the Birth to Five Policy Alliance) focuses on advancing state policies that lead to improved health, learning, and economic outcomes for young children, starting at birth and continuing through age eight. Download their Birth Through Age Eight State Policy Framework here.