Education and early childhood programs offer lasting value to children and are essential for both family economic stability and the American economy, but millions of families struggle to navigate the systems and access quality services for their children.
Through direct partnerships with childcare providers, public schools, and policy leaders, we aim to produce new research that will critically inform the debate and unlock large-scale policy action. Taking a market-oriented lens, our work includes the American Childcare Survey, a partnership with New Haven Public Schools, and ongoing research examining the long-run outcomes of preschool and other education policies. A central aspect of Tobin’s work in this area is to focus on the under-examined, broader effects of early care and education, including:
- parental and family economic success
- labor force participation and the U.S. economy
- the early care labor market
- long-term outcomes for children beyond educational results
Such work may have extensive implications for government investment in these programs. Select highlights of our work include:
The American Childcare Survey
The Tobin Center is part of a multidisciplinary team that has built the largest-ever survey of the American preschool and childcare workforce. Credited by national childcare leaders with helping to sustain US childcare supply during the pandemic, we informed the way childcare is safely delivered for millions of children at the height of COVID-19. Now in collaboration with the White House, CDC, and HHS, the survey is being deployed to answer critical policy questions, such as how to best attract and retain childcare workers.
Partnership with New Haven Public Schools
Locally in New Haven, we’ve embedded young scholars in the public school system. This year their work has resulted in improving the school lottery system, making school bus routes more efficient for children and families, and launching a state-of-the-art interactive web resource for parents navigating school selection. Their work is made possible through close collaboration with New Haven Public Schools and robust community feedback leveraging independent surveys such as the New Haven Public Schools Pre-K Application Survey.