A new measure, under development, will give policymakers better data about children’s development, well-being, and learning

Publication Date:

July 29, 2020

During times of crisis—such as the current COVID-19 pandemic and related recession—it is critical that state policymakers have high-quality data to help them understand children’s development and better support the creation of policies that mitigate potential injury to children and families. One important measure is the Healthy and Ready to Learn Measure (HRTL), which will provide leaders with information on the health and readiness to learn of young children in their states starting in 2022.

Policymakers and advocates have sought this type of annual, population-level measure for decades, and for good reason: It’s a game-changer. The measure will represent the first time the field will have comprehensive information, gathered consistently over time and across states, on whether preschool children are prepared to enter kindergarten healthy and ready to learn at the state level. HRTL makes it clear that children’s school readiness is a public health issue—similar to obesity, asthma, breastfeeding, and violence—situating it as an issue relevant to communities and not just individual parents.