HighScope’s Livestream Conversation With Stacey Abrams


Elevating Early Chilhood Education: The Benefits of Quality Education and How to Make It Accessible to All Children

As HighScope commemorates the 50th anniversary of its longtime commitment to elevating early childhood education, we are creating a vision to build on our legacy to shape the future of early education for many years to come. Toward that goal, our work will involve connecting with fearless policy leaders like Stacey Abrams, who, during her tenure in the Georgia legislature, reached across the aisle to avoid proposed budget cuts to the state’s universal pre-K program.

This virtual conversation from May 13, 2020 explores: 

  • The importance of high-quality early childhood education to economic prosperity in the United States and what policymakers can do to create a cohesive education system for all young children.
  • How citizens can engage with local and federal policymakers to address the issue of inadequate compensation for early childhood professionals.
  • How to provide equitable access to education for young children from underserved, low-income, and ethnic minority families and communities.



About Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams is a New York Times bestselling author, nonprofit CEO, and political leader. Abrams is a powerful and passionate speaker heralded for her candid insights on politics, leadership, entrepreneurship, social justice, and for being a true force for change. After serving for eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as Minority Leader, in 2018, Abrams became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, with more votes than any other Democrat in the state’s history. 

Dedicated to civic engagement, Abrams has founded multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues at both the state and national levels.

About Iheoma U. Iruka

Iheoma U. Iruka, PhD, is the Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of the Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation (CEERE) at the HighScope Educational Research Foundation. In this role, Dr. Iruka leads research strategy to drive innovation in the field of early childhood education. Dr. Iruka’s research is centered on determining how early experiences impact poor and ethnic minority children’s learning and development, and the role of the family and of education environments and systems. As director of the CEERE, Dr. Iruka focuses on research that advances the knowledge base on key factors that address opportunity gaps and examines HighScope’s curriculum, assessments, and implementations to improve outcomes for children, families, and communities.

Dr. Iruka earned a PhD in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami. She is a current member of several national boards and committees, including Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and National Black Child Development Institute (NCBDI).

About Chastity Pratt

Chastity Pratt is a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard where she is studying education funding inequities in America. A native Detroiter, she has covered education issues for nearly 20 years in newsrooms across the country. Chastity is best known for her award-winning coverage of Detroit schools in the Detroit Free Press. She previously was an education reporter at Newsday on Long Island, New York, and at The Oregonian newspaper in Portland. Her work also has appeared in USA Today, Essence, and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Journal. She currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but has plans to move back to Detroit this summer. Chastity has two children, a son who is a freshman at Harvard and a daughter who has been accepted into Harvard’s 2020 high school summer program.