Initiatives for Children


To address a deepening crisis in the lives of America’s children, the Academy in 1991 organized a steering committee to explore how the Academy could increase the nation’s commitment to and investment in children. The resulting Initiatives for Children (IFC) stimulated research focused on the health, welfare, and educational needs of our children.

Through its own projects and in partnership with a wide variety of public and private organizations, IFC stressed the importance of solid data and sound evidence as the basis for implementing policies affecting children. The IFC aimed to bridge the gap between academia and the world in which children live.

Among the education-oriented projects supported by the IFC were: The Intergenerational Literacy Tutoring Program, directed by Jerome Kagan (Harvard University); The Role of Universities in K-12 Math and Science Education, chaired by Ronald Latanision (MIT); the Center for Evaluation, headed by Frederick Mosteller (Harvard University), which utilized meta-analysis of data and information to evaluate the efficacy of educational polices affecting children; and the School Readiness Project, developed by Martha Minow (Harvard Law School) and Richard Weissbourd (Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government)

Selected Resulting Publications

  • “The Tennessee Study of Class Size in the Early School Grades,” by Frederick Mosteller, The Future of Children, vol. 5, no. 2, 1995. Available from publisher.
  • “Sustained Inquiry in Education: Lessons from Skill Grouping and Class Size,” by Frederick Mosteller, Richard J. Light, and Jason A. Sachs, Harvard Educational Review, vol. 66, no. 4, 1996. Available from publisher.
  • “Smaller Classes Do Make a Difference in the Early Grades,” by Frederick Mosteller, Harvard Education Letter, vol. 13, no. 4, 1997. Available from publisher.
  • “How Does Class Size Relate to Achievement in Schools?” by Frederick Mosteller, in Earning and Learning: How Schools Matter, edited by Susan E. Mayer and Paul E. Peterson, Brookings Institution Press and Russell Sage Foundation, 1999. Available from publisher.
  • “The Case for Smaller Classes and for Evaluating What Works in the Schoolroom,” by Frederick Mosteller, Harvard Magazine, vol. 101, no. 5, May-June 1999. Available from publisher.
  • “A Rare Design: The Role of Field Trials in Evaluating School Practices,” by Bill Nave, Edward J. Miech, and Frederick Mosteller, in Evaluation Models: Viewpoints on Educational and Human Services Evaluation, Second Edition, edited by Daniel L. Stufflebeam, George F. Madaus, and Thomas Kellaghan. Norwell, Mass.: Kluwer Academic Press, 2000. Available from publisher.


Project Director