The Intersection

Starting at Zero: Reimagining Education in America

July 2, 2018


Leaders across the country have been relying on K-12 public education to level the playing field and to ensure that every child in America has an equal opportunity for success. While a free public K-12 education is a cornerstone of our democracy and has helped countless citizens find success in the workforce and life, we know it has not solved social and economic inequalities, and it has not kept pace with other developed countries.

Our long-time focus on “fixing” K-12 schools has critically overlooked the importance of early learning and development before children even enter school. As a growing body of research continues to substantiate, investments made early—beginning with birth and continuing into elementary school—produce returns across the K-12 system and improve a number of life outcomes. Without a high-quality early foundation, education in the United States will continue to lag behind our competitors and inequalities will continue to persist.

Video produced by the Saul Zaentz Foundation and released at the Education Commission of the States National Forum on Education Policy

This video excerpt, from the early learning documentary Starting at Zero: Reimagining Education in America, focuses on where the U.S. currently stands in 0-8 years education. It includes commentary about investing in our future, high-quality early education, brain development, how a successful early childhood education leads to a successful future workforce, equality of opportunities and intergenerational impact.

As The Hunt Institute’s founder and chairman, The Honorable James B. Hunt Jr., former Governor of North Carolina, states in the video “You’ve got to help children get a good start. If they don’t get it zero to three, to four, to five, you will never be the kind of state or be the kind of country you want to be and you need to be.”

The Hunt Institute believes in creating opportunities for leaders to come together to share ideas on how to impact awareness, outreach, and progress on a non-partisan basis for our youngest citizens. If we are to get serious about equity, we need to start with the developing brain and build a system of support for children and families prenatally to age eight. We are grateful to be part of this documentary, along with the many other partners involved, and thank the Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation for their leadership on this issue.


Javaid Siddiqi, Ph.D. 
President & CEO, The Hunt Institute

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