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Equity in Education a Focus of New Researcher at National Center for Children in Poverty

New York City, October 22, 2009 – A behavioral scientist with policy and research experience who specializes in equity in education for young children has joined the staff of the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), part of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Taniesha Woods, PhD, who also has substantial experience relating to how families from diverse socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds can support children’s intellectual development, joins the NCCP team this month to focus on the organization’s early childhood research area.

“This is great news for NCCP,” says Janice Cooper, PhD, interim director of the organization, which concentrates on early childhood, health and mental health and family economic security, with research and policy analysis covering each of the 50 states as well as American territories. “Dr. Woods fills an important niche for us, combining policy expertise with new research in early childhood.”

At NCCP, in addition to equity in early childhood education, Dr. Woods will focus primarily on issues relating to the professional development of early childhood teachers and care givers; mathematics education during the early years, and how families can support young children’s development. She brings recent experience as a senior program officer at the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, where she had since 2007 directed a project focused on improving mathematics education (including teaching as well as learning) during early childhood. Before that post, Dr. Woods was a Society for Research in Child Development Congressional fellow for U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D–Conn.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families.

Dr. Woods directed several research projects in multiple school districts while serving as a project director at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While in North Carolina, she also served as a Spencer Foundation Pre–doctoral Education Science and Policy Fellow at the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Woods received her PhD and MA degrees in developmental psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has authored or co–authored a number of peer–reviewed articles, co–edited the book, Mathematics in Early Childhood: Learning Paths Toward Excellence and Equity (National Academies Press, 2009), and is a member of the American Educational Research Association, the Society for Research in Child Development and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) is the nation’s leading public policy center dedicated to promoting the economic security, health and wellbeing of America’s lowincome families and children. Part of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, NCCP uses research to inform policy and practice with the goal of ensuring positive outcomes for the next generation.