Education Policy Breakfast Series

Join the discussion! #NYUEPBS

The NYU Steinhardt Education Policy Breakfast Series brings together policy leaders, legislators, business people, heads of corporations, foundations and advocacy organizations, university faculty, and school superintendents. For more than a decade, our goal has been to illuminate contemporary educational issues and foster discussion among the many constituencies concerned with education at both the local and national levels. See topics for prior years.

Getting a Good Start: Research, Policy, and Practice in Pre-K Education

For the past 15 years, this series has brought together educators, legislators, researchers, foundation officers, and representatives of corporations, unions, and advocacy organizations for guided discussions about important issues in education. We at NYU Steinhardt are proud to host these conversations and to have your partnership in addressing these issues.

Last year, we examined the hot topic of testing. Over the course of three sessions we discussed the business of testing in America, the benefits and consequences of testing as informed by data, and debated what is best for our city and our nation.

This year, we will address an issue that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has made a priority: early childhood education.

Over the course of the series, we will look at key issues in early childhood education: accessibility, quality, and affordability. What are the merits and weaknesses of providing universal pre-K vs. targeting at-risk students? Is universal actually for "all," when some families cannot or do not participate? What lessons can New York learn from other cities, such as Tulsa and Boston, which have had strong results, or Seattle, which is undertaking a more staged, deliberate approach? In New York, the policy has been determined, but what about assessment of quality? And what can we learn about how other cities – and countries – have funded, implemented, and sustained early childhood education initiatives?

We anticipate an informed, spirited discussion involving policymakers, education leaders, and researchers about this very timely issue.

Please find the dates, subjects, and confirmed speakers for this year's series below.

All sessions are from 8:30-10:30 a.m. in Rosenthal Pavilion, Kimmel Center for University Life, 60 Washington Square South, 10th Floor

We invite you to join the discussion about our breakfasts by using the hashtag #NYUEPBS.

Episode 1: Early Childhood Education and Closing the Achievement Gap (Friday, November 21, 2014)

We begin the series with a broad look at the role early childhood education plays in improving student success.  Will it help close the achievement gap – is it the magic bullet? Or will it exacerbate that gap?  How can universal pre-K be optimized to close the gap? We will explore both local and national perspectives with our distinguished guest speakers.

Guest speakers:

  • Ajay Chaudry, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy, US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Steven Dow, Executive Director, CAP Tulsa


  • Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Courtney Sale Ross University Professor of Globalization and Education, NYU Steinhardt
Episode 2: Early Childhood Education: Improving and Assessing Quality (Friday, March 6, 2015)

Research has demonstrated the benefits of large-scale public pre-K programs for children, including gains in language, reading, and math. However, education leaders need the tools to support the effectiveness in early childhood. What are the models for innovation and excellence?  What initiatives can be implemented to evaluate and ensure quality, including but not limited to professional development?  Our distinguished guest speakers will include a researcher whose work led to the implementation of the early education model in pre-K classrooms across Texas, and the head of New York City's current pre-K expansion.

Guest speakers:


  • Susan B. Neuman, Professor of Early Childhood and Literacy Education, NYU Steinhardt
Episode 3: Affordability and Sustainability in Early Childhood Education: Global Lessons for New York (Friday, May 1, 2015)

As New York prepares to expand pre-K, what can we learn from other cities and countries that have undergone similar efforts?  In particular, what are the different models for funding early childhood education?  How have countries with less wealth succeeded in implementing pre-K?  Our guest speakers will include an economist who focuses on early childhood development and poverty alleviation issues internationally, and a former appointee in the Obama Administration who oversaw pre-K programs in Washington, DC.

Guest Speakers:


  • J. Lawrence Aber, Albert and Blanche Willner Family Professor of Psychology and Public Policy, NYU Steinhardt


About the Speakers

Lawrence Aber

Lawrence Aber is Willner Family Professor in Psychology and Public Policy at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and University Professor, New York University, where he also serves as board chair of its Institute of Human Development and Social Change. Dr. Aber earned his Ph.D. from Yale University and an A.B. from Harvard University. He previously taught at Barnard College, Columbia University, and at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, where he also directed the National Center for Children in Poverty. He is an internationally recognized expert in child development and social policy and has co-edited Neighborhood Poverty: Context and Consequences for Children (1997, Russell Sage Foundation), Assessing the Impact of September 11th 2001 on Children Youth and Parents: Lessons for Applied Developmental Science (2004, Erlbaum) and Child Development and Social Policy: Knowledge for Action (2007, APA Publications). His basic research examines the influence of poverty and violence, at the family and community levels, on the social, emotional, behavioral, cognitive and academic development of children and youth. Dr. Aber also designs and conducts rigorous evaluations of innovative programs and policies for children, youth and families, such as violence prevention, literacy development, welfare reform and comprehensive services initiatives. Dr. Aber testifies frequently before Congress, state legislatures and other deliberative policy forums. The media, public officials, private foundations and leading non-profit organizations also frequently seek his opinion or advice about pressing matters concerning child and family well-being. In 2006, Dr. Aber was appointed by the Mayor of New York City to the Commission for Economic Opportunity, an initiative to help reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity in New York City. In 2007, Dr Aber served as the Nannerl O. Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professor at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2008 and 2009, he served part-time as Visiting Research Professor in Evidence-based Social Interventions in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford. He is also Chair of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa; and served as consultant to the World Bank on its project, “Children and Youth in Crisis”. From 2003-2006, Dr. Aber chaired the Advisory Board, International Research Network on Children and Armed Conflict of the Social Science Research Council, in collaboration with the Special Representative to the Secretary General of the United Nations on Children and Armed Conflict and UNICEF. Currently, he conducts research on the impact of poverty and HIV/AIDS on children’s development in South Africa (in collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council), and on school- and community-based interventions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee).

Caridad Araujo

Maria Caridad Araujo is a social protection economist lead specialist in the Social Protection and Health Division of the Inter-American Development Bank. Her work at the IDB has focused on early childhood development and poverty alleviation issues.

From 2003-2005, she taught in the master of public policy program at Georgetown University. Between 2003-2009, she worked at the World Bank on a variety of operational and research projects in the areas of impact evaluation, measuring poverty and inequality, program targeting, education and social protection, in a number of countries in East Asia, Central Asia and Latin America. Caridad’s work has been published in peer reviewed journals including the Canadian Journal of Development Studies, Economía, the Journal of Public Economics, and Cuadernos de Economía. She is also the author and co-author of book chapters on social protection, poverty, and the political economy of policy-making processes. She is Ecuadorian and she holds a PhD in agricultural economics and natural resources from the University of California, Berkeley.

Miriam Calderon

Miriam Calderon, Senior Partner, School Readiness Consulting, a firm focused exclusively on early childhood education.  She supports local and national clients on a range of policy, strategic planning, and practice-related issues.Miriam Calderon formerly served as Senior Adviser to President Obama on early learning policy at the White House Domestic Policy Council. Prior to joining the Administration, Ms. Calderon served as the Director of Early Childhood Education at DC Public Schools, where she oversaw Head Start and pre-kindergarten programs serving nearly 5,500 children in 84 elementary schools throughout the city. She has also worked as the Associate Director of Education Policy at the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights organization where she focused specifically on early education policy for Hispanic and dual language learner children. Miriam began her career in early education working as a mental health consultant in Head Start programs in Portland, Oregon. She has published several reports on early childhood education and her work is cited in both English and Spanish media.

Ajay Chaudry

Ajay Chaudry was until recently the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the US Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to that appointment in the Obama administration, Dr. Chaudry was a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC. He has led public policy research focused on child poverty, child well-being and development, human service programs in the social safety net, and the early childhood care system for young children. From 2004 to 2006, Dr. Chaudry served as the Deputy Commissioner for Child Care and Head Start at the New York City Administration for Children Services, where he oversaw the city’s early childhood development programs serving 150,000 children in low-income families. He is the author of Putting Children First: How Low-wage Working Mothers Manage Child Care, and many articles related to child poverty, children of immigrant families, and US social policies. Dr. Chaudry graduated with an AB from Columbia University, an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and PhD from Harvard University.

Susan Landry

Dr. Susan Landry, a nationally recognized expert in early childhood education, is the Founder and Director of the Children's Learning Institute. Dr. Landry's research into environmental factors that promote early cognitive growth and development led to her development of the framework for the Center for Improving the Readiness of Children for Learning and Education (CIRCLE), which led to the implementation of the Texas Early Education Model (TEEM) in pre-kindergarten classrooms across Texas.

Dr. Landry conducts numerous research projects and training activities promoting quality learning environments for young children. Her numerous research programs have generated a large research database on early childhood. More than 70 peer-reviewed publications and over a dozen chapters describe the findings of these research studies. She is currently involved in using the knowledge gained from years of studying young children to help promote the national goals of early childhood literacy initiatives.

Susan B. Neuman

Susan B. Neuman is a specialist in early literacy development; whose research and teaching interests include early childhood policy, curriculum, and early reading instruction for children who live in poverty. In her role as the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, Neuman established the Early Reading First program, developed the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program, and was responsible for all activities in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Act. She has written more than 100 articles, and authored and edited eleven books, including the three volume Handbook of Early Literacy Research (Guilford Press), Changing the Odds for Children at Risk (Teachers College Press, 2009), Educating the Other America (Brookes, 2008), Multimedia and Literacy Development (Taylor & Francis, 2008), and Giving Our Childrena Fighting Chance: Poverty Literacy, and the Development of Information Capital. (Teachers College Press, 2012). Her most recent book is All About Words: Increasing Vocabulary in the Common Core Classroom, Pre-k Through Grade 2 (Teachers College Press, 2013). She received her doctorate from University of the Pacific, Stockton, California.

Sophia Pappas

Sophia Pappas began her career as a Teach For America Corps Member placed in a Newark public school pre-k program, and wrote about her experience in the book Good Morning, Children (Gryphon House, 2009). After leaving Newark Public Schools, she directed national growth and development for Teach For America's Early Childhood Education initiative, increasing the number of corps members placed in pre-k and Head Start classrooms by 83 percent and integrating early childhood into Teach For America's regional and national operations. In 2013, she partnered with NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services and SCO Family of Service to launch FirstStepNYC, New York City’s first co-located, state of the art, early education center which provides education services to at-risk children ages six weeks to five years. The center, co-located with PS/IS 41, in Brownsville, Brooklyn, a K-8 school, includes the first-ever, citywide Early Education Leadership Institute to train the next generation of leaders in early childhood education on the most effective ways to prepare our youngest residents for kindergarten and future academic success. A Long Island native, Pappas earned a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and a masters degree in public policy degree from Harvard.

Hirokazu Yoshikawa

Hirokazu Yoshikawa is the Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education at NYU Steinhardt and a University Professor at NYU. He is a community and developmental psychologist who studies the effects of public policies and programs related to immigration, early childhood, and poverty reduction on children’s development. He has also conducted research on culture, sexuality and youth and young adult development in the contexts of HIV/AIDS risk and prevention and gay/straight alliances. He conducts research in the United States and in low- and middle-income countries. He currently serves on the Leadership Council and as the co-chair of the early childhood development and education workgroup of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the research and technical group advising the secretary-general on the post-2015 global development goals. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, and several foundations.

His recent books include Making it Work: Low-Wage Employment, Family Life and Child Development (2006, Russell Sage, with Thomas Weisner and Edward Lowe); Toward Positive Youth Development: Transforming Schools and Community Programs (2008, Oxford University Press, with Marybeth Shinn); Immigrants Raising Citizens: Undocumented Parents and Their Young Children (2011, Russell Sage, sole authored); and Improving the Odds for America's Children: Future Directions in Policy and Practice (2014, Harvard Education Press, with Kathleen McCartney and Laurie Forcier, a volume dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Children's Defense Fund with a foreword by Congressman George Miller and an afterword by Marian Wright Edelman). He has served on the board on Children, Youth and Families of the National Academy of Sciences, the Early Childhood Advisory Committee of the Inter-American Development Bank, and the DHHS Advisory Committee on Head Start Research and Evaluation for the Clinton and Obama administrations. In 2012, he was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate as a member of the National Board for Education Sciences. In 2014, he was elected to the National Academy of Education. He currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Integration of Immigrants into American Society and its Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally. He obtained his PhD in clinical psychology from NYU.