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Early Education for All: The Promise of Universal Preschool in NYC & Beyond

A compelling vision of free, high-quality preschool for every child in New York City helped to propel Bill de Blasio into the mayor’s office. Expanding early education so that every four-year-old can have a slot would be no “band-aid solution,” the Mayor asserted, but “a game-changing investment.” Given the findings that quality early education for all reduces inequality, boosts educational achievement, and improves children’s life chances, the investment could be a powerful step towards building upward mobility for the next generation.

This event was hosted by Demos and The American Prospect, discussing the promise of universal preschool and what quality early education would mean for New York and the nation.


  • Demos Senior Fellow Sharon Lerner, contributing editor for The American Prospect's special issue on the early years


  • Nancy Kolben, executive director of the Center for Children's Initiatives, a leading early care and education policy and advocacy organization in New York City and a member of Mayor de Blasio's pre-K planning team
  • Jacqueline Jones, former deputy assistant secretary of Policy and Early Learning at the U.S. Department of Education, former assistant commissioner for the Division of Early Childhood Education in New Jersey
  • W. Steven Barnett, Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research
  • Rich Neimand, President/Creative Director of the Neimand Collaborative