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Research Archive

January 18, 2024

Evidence Mounts That Pre-K Harms Kids

You know you’re making progress in an education policy debate when education professors and journalists start printing what used to be a conservative counter-argument as an unfortunate and perplexing fact. Last week, Education Week published an article titled: “Preschool Studies Show Lagging Result. Why?” The lede notes that although studies from the 1960s and 1970s showed strong positive…

December 12, 2023

Virginia’s Gov. Youngkin Offers A Republican Path On Pre-K

The public wins when Democrats and Republicans are both offering principled solutions to pressing challenges. That’s too rarely been the case when it comes to early childhood education. For a public seeking more accessible, appealing, and affordable options, the political response has disappointed. Democrats have offered expensive, heavily regulated plans to jam more four- and five-year-olds into…

August 17, 2023

The ‘Utah Family Miracle’ and Why It Matters

Utah ranks at the top of many rankings of state performance across America. But perhaps the Beehive State is best known for its top rankings on the economic front. The “Utah economic miracle” — marked by exceptional economic growth, a favorable business climate and high rates of economic mobility — has garnered attention across the…

August 14, 2023

The Narcissism of Small Diffidences

Catherine, a mother living in the New York City suburbs, has a son who flunked out of college. Her story is one of the cautionary tales offered up in Jennifer Breheny Wallace’s Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic—And What We Can Do About It. Catherine left the workforce to raise her two children. The…

August 12, 2023

Why Ending Child Services Is the New Defund the Police

Can you imagine if the New York Police Department invited Defund the Police activists to train their officers? That’s what the New York State Family Court and the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) are doing. In a June webinar for almost 400 ACS workers, parents, child attorneys and family court judges, advocates who want to…

August 1, 2023

Can AI Make People Want to Have Children?

Self-help gurus love to tell people to visualize their goals. Tony Robbins says, “Starting your day without visualizing your goal is like starting your day without breakfast.” In this space, it’s not just about figuring out where you’re going, but actually picturing your future self — how that person will feel, what that person might…

July 17, 2023

The Problem with Lived Experience

“The shift among nonprofits and funders towards valuing lived experience has been a journey,” Anna Verghese, executive director of the Audacious Group, told the Chronicle of Philanthropy earlier this spring. Verghese, whose group includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, MacKenzie Scott, and the Skoll Foundation, says this shift has been “the result of generations…

July 15, 2023

Yonkers’ Only Charter School Illustrates Just How Broken the System Is

To what lengths will teachers’ unions and their allies go to destroy charter schools? Eduardo LaGuerre and Sobeida Cruz are in the process of finding out. The couple raised their three children in Yonkers. It wasn’t the best public school district, but they hired tutors to fill in the gaps. Two decades ago — when…

July 3, 2023

Child Welfare’s Ideological Enforcer

University of Houston professor Alan Dettlaff is the founder of upEND, a movement dedicated to abolishing child protective services and foster care because of their alleged systemic racism. Dettlaff is active on social media, where he spends his time attacking rigorous academic research, encouraging social media mobs to insult others in the field, and even demanding…

November 3, 2022

Child Poverty: Trends and Outlook

Spotlight hosted an engaging and substantive discussion on recent trends in childhood poverty. The event, held with the support of the Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, was moderated by Aparna Mathur, Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center. The panelists were Dana Thomson of Child Trends, Samuel…