About the Author
Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D., Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Child Development and Education, Teachers College and College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street, Box 39, 254 Thorndike, New York, New York 10027. Dr. Brooks-Gunn directs the National Center for Children and Families (http://www.policyforchildren.org). She is interested in factors that contribute to both positive and negative outcomes across childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, with a particular focus on key social and biological transitions over the life course.
Richard M. Clifford, Ph.D., has training in educational administration with specializations in political science and research. He has taught and has served as a principal in public schools. For more than 25 years, he has studied public policies and advised government officials and practitioners on policies affecting children and families. His work focuses on two major areas: public financing of programs for young children and the provision of appropriate learning environments for preschool and early school-age children. Dr. Clifford is co-author of a widely used series of instruments for evaluating learning environments for children, including the Family Day Care Rating Scale (FDCRS; Teachers College Press, 1989), co-authored with Thelma Harms, and the Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS; Teachers College Press, 1990) and the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale0-Revised Edition (ECERS-R; Teachers College Press, 1998), both co-authored with Thelma Harms and Debby Cryer. In 1993-1994, Dr. Clifford helped establish and served as the first director of the Division of Child Development in the North Carolina Department of Human Resources and helped with the design and implementation of the state's Smart Start early childhood initiative. He is a past president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Martha J. Cox, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Developmental Science and Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Cox is known for her studies of families and young children and for her methodological contributions to the observational analysis of family interactions. Since the 1980s, she has studied the early years of family development and the processes of reorganization of families over the transition to parenthood and the transition to school with a special emphasis on the role of family relationships, including parent-child and marital relationships in children's successful adaptation to new challenges in the early years.
She is 1 of 10 principal investigators in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care, a study of children from birth through the elementary school years. She is Principal Investigator of the National Science Foundation-funded North Carolina Child Development Research Collaborative (CDRC). A centerpiece of the CDRC activities is a longitudinal, collaborative, multidisciplinary research study focusing on multiple levels of factors associated with successful development of a diverse group of young children. Dr. Cox is also the Co-principal Investigator of the program project Rural Children Living in Poverty, funded primarily by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development but also by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The purpose of this program project is to understand the early school readiness of an understudied but important group of children: impoverished children living in low-resource, rural areas of the country.
Jason T. Downer, Ph.D., is a senior research scientist at the University of Virginia's Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning in Charlottesville. He is a clinical–community psychologist whose work focuses on the identification and understanding of contextual and relational contributors to young at-risk children's early achievement and soci