The early achievement gap usually refers to to the gap in test scores between low-income children and higher income children. There’s three things to really know about this achievement gap. First, it’s large. It’s quite substantial, even for very young kids. Two, it’s been growing over time. So, historically–it’s at historically high levels, meaning that a few decades ago there wasn’t so much of a test score difference between high income kids and low-income kids and now it’s quite large. And then third it starts very early. So, as early as nine months you can see the differences between children from low-income families and children from higher income families. There are several policy interventions that can be used to help close the achievement gap, or narrow the achievement gap. Head Start is a great example. Research has shown repeatedly that Head Start is effective in promoting young children’s outcomes– cognitive, health, social-emotional outcomes in the long term. They graduate high school more frequently. They attend college more frequently, and they have higher earnings. Other types of early care and education programs do as well. A second policy intervention that can help low-income families and promote economic security and children’s learning is paid parental leave. We lack a national policy on paid parental leave. We have the Family Medical Leave Act, which allows for 12 weeks of unpaid leave. That’s a federal law, but several states have been experimenting with paid parental leave. California, New Jersey and Rhode Island are the only three that have existing programs, but New York recently passed legislation. The District of Columbia is just about to pass legislation. So states are really taking the lead on on that respect and similar pre-kindergarten programs too are mostly on the state level. Georgia has had a successful universal pre-k program for a couple decades now. Oklahoma as well. So it’s not always the usual suspect, but we have several states that are really taking the lead and then other states don’t have any programs. What’s refreshing is that in the 2016 presidential campaign the issues of child care and maternity leave were talked about quite a bit, which is not typical. And for the first time we had a major Republican presidential candidate, who eventually became president, talking about these issues and actually having plans about maternity leave and childcare. Unfortunately, the plans are deeply flawed in terms of policies. First the maternity leave plan only allows for six weeks, which is too short to really allow either for parent-child bonding but also for your mother’s recovery. And it ignores fathers and the important role that other parents play. And the child care plan is really a tax-deduction, so it allows families to deduct childcare expenses from their taxes. This is great for higher income families. This really leaves lower-income families with nothing, because low-income families don’t make enough to have tax liability. And so they just lose out completely.