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National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) serves as a national partner to provide expertise and research-to-policy resources for state advocates and policymakers on improving the quality of early care and education programs.  

NIEER conducts academic research to inform policy supporting high-quality, early education for all young children and to promote the physical, cognitive, and social development needed for children to succeed in school and later life. NIEER provides independent, research-based analysis and technical assistance to policymakers, journalists, researchers, and educators. 

Our state allies can call on NIEER to: 

Assist in developing more equitable and aligned early childhood education systems.

To increase access to high-quality early education from birth through early elementary school, multi-sector state leaders need to work together toward common goals. A comprehensive early childhood education system builds from a strong base of common program standards to integrate programs and funding sources and align policy and regulations. NIEER can assist in developing/revising a cross-sector strategy for an early childhood education system (ECES).

Facilitate joint strategy development and cooperation between advocates and state education administrators.

Addressing issues in early education practice, curriculum and assessment, and policy often benefits significantly from research-informed technical assistance as coalitions are built and consensus developed on the details of new initiatives including in early cooperation between advocates and state education agencies. Drawing from our extensive knowledge of ECES across the states, NIEER can assist in supporting partners in the following ways: providing research and analyses to inform decisions, presenting to legislators, reviewing and informing testimony, developing policy proposals, and drafting or reviewing legislation.

Leverage national, state, and local data to provide rapid responses on research, survey results, and policy scans for more effective and equitable early education policy.

NIEER’s multi-disciplinary team produces national, state, and local research and policy analysis of data from many sources and supports new data collections when useful to inform effective policy development in ECES. NIEER can work with state early childhood administrators and advocates to consider a wide range of research and information including needs assessment, analyses of existing policies, cost analysis, and projections of the impacts of new policies and strategies that address issues with a focus on equity at the state and local levels.

Additional Alliance-funded support for state advocacy includes:   

    • Developing practical resources for early childhood education leaders that are responsive to evolving state contexts, to help leaders understand the research on pressing early childhood policy issues, summarizing information and lessons learned from the field to inform state and policy maker’s decisions on topics critical to expanding equitable access to high-quality programs. Some of the topics we have recently addressed include increasing access to high-quality preschool by expanding within a mixed-delivery system, and developing new strategies to recruit a competent and well-compensated workforce.
    • Organizing peer-to-peer learning opportunities, including webinars, for state early childhood administrators and advocates to discuss and facilitate conversations on research, share best practices, and identify pressing needs and innovations in improving access to high-quality early care and education systems for young children.  Some of the topics we have addressed through peer learning communities are developing policies to support young dual language learners, improving cross-sector collaboration to strengthen the ECE system, and policies to promote effective teaching.