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2015 Bronfenbrenner Lecture

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The Obama Evidence-Based Revolution: Will It Last?
September 16, 2015

Ron Haskins
Center on Children and Families; Budgeting for National Priorities;Economic Studies, Brookings Institution



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Revisiting Urie’s role as Head Start turns 50

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Lady Bird Johnson at an early Head Start event

Lady Bird Johnson at an early Head Start event

A recent Cornell Chronicle article on Urie Bronfenbrenner's involvement in the founding of the National Head Start Program begins,

Testifying before Congress in 1964, Cornell developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner urged lawmakers to fight “poverty where it hits first and most damagingly – in early childhood.”Intrigued by his work, Lady Bird Johnson invited Bronfenbrenner to tea at the White House, where he shared his findings on early childhood programs he had observed abroad. In January 1965, as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, Sargent Shriver empaneled 13 experts – including Bronfenbrenner – to develop a federally funded preschool program for the nation’s poorest children.

Urie BronfenbrennerThe article goes on to detail Urie's unique contributions to the formation of the influential program:

Among Head Start’s architects, Bronfenbrenner stood out for his dynamic systems theory of human development – which became synonymous with the field of human ecology and inspired the renaming of Cornell’s College of Human Ecology in 1969. A champion of field-based observations in children’s homes, schools and neighborhoods, Bronfenbrenner upended the conventions of mid-20th century developmental psychology, which had taken a decontextualized, sterilized approach.

For Bronfenbrenner, it wasn’t enough to look narrowly at children. To understand the effect of a mother’s employment on a child’s development, for example, he urged investigators to consider the child’s age, the quality of daycare in the mother’s absence, her attitude toward her work, the family’s race and income level and the father’s employment status and attitude toward his partner’s work and family duties.


50 years later, recalling a founder of Head Start - Cornell Chronicle

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Talks at Twelve: Matthew Hall

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Latino Children and White Out-Migration from New Gateway School Districts
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Matthew Hall
Policy Analysis & Management, Cornell University

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2012 Bronfenbrenner Lecture

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Reducing Poverty-related Disparities: Science and Policy à la Bronfenbrenner
November 2, 2012

Pamela Morris
Department of Applied Psychology, New York University

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2012 John Doris Memorial Lecture

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What the U.S. Can Learn from Britain's War on Poverty
March 26, 2012

Jane Waldfogel
School of Social Work, Columbia University

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Second Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference

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Improving the State of Americans:
Prospects of Translational Research in the Social and Behavioral Sciences
October 22-23, 2009

Download a copy of the conference agenda (PDF)

This conference brought together scholars with expertise in translating basic research to address problems faced by communities and individuals. Speakers presented new research and research methods, focusing on how practical applications of research lead to interventions implemented in real-world home, policy, and community settings, disseminated to a broader community audience, and adopted by institutions and organizations.

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