In recent years, citizens and lawmakers have become increasingly enthusiastic about the adoption of evidence-based programs and policies. We have evidence of countless interventions that positively impact peoples’ lives. And yet, when expanded, they have not always delivered the dramatic societal impacts predicted. This phenomenon exists in many fields, including early childhood.
Does this mean that we can only expect to achieve positive impact on a small scale? Not at all. Instead, we must acknowledge what is missing: a proper understanding of how, why, and when promising results can be delivered at scale. In June 2021, the University of Chicago’s Griffin Applied Economics Incubator and TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health and the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program will host a special event to help generate that understanding.
The future of effective, evidence-based programs and policies in early childhood—and the success of our collective efforts to generate positive, equitable outcomes for all children—depend on all stakeholders working together to understand and address the challenges of scaling. This convening will be an important step in that direction.