David Jacobson, PhD, works with states, districts, and communities to improve early education and care for low-income children and their families. He specializes in building effective prenatal through grade 3 (P–3) partnerships with the aim of closing achievement gaps, addressing inequality, and building strong communities.

Jacobson brings extensive experience in early childhood education, school improvement, and strategic planning to his work. In addition to providing technical assistance to states and communities, he studies how communities implement prenatal through grade 3 initiatives. He is currently conducting an applied research project, Place-Based Collaboration on Early Education, which examines communities that are combining prenatal through grade 3 improvement and integrated child and family support services. This project is funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

Jacobson is the author of numerous publications on P–3 systems and state policy. He developed and writes for the P–3 Learning Hub, a blog that analyzes P–3 developments around the country. As a member of the advisory board for Boston College’s InterconnectED initiative, he also supports state efforts to integrate educational, social service, health, and mental health resources for children.

Jacobson received a BA in history and an MA in philosophy from Brown University and a PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago.

"The P-3 movement creates a promising opportunity for schools, districts, and communities to reduce gaps while raising achievement and life chances for all children."


Place-based Collaboration for Early Education: Linking Cradle-to-Career, Wrap-around, and P-3 Approaches
Improving Teaching and Learning in Kindergarten Classrooms, Rhode Island Department of Education
Cambridge, MA Birth through Grade 3 Partnership
New Bedford, MA Birth through Grade 3 Partnership

Speaking Highlights

Presentation, New America Foundation
Washington, D.C.
April 30, 2019
Presentation, the Neurocognitive and Psychosocial Impacts of Violence and Trauma Workshop, National Academies of Sciences
Washington, D.C.
July 31, 2017

Strategy and Implementation in Leading Edge Birth through Grade Three Efforts

Keynote address, Massachusetts Early Education Leadership Conference

Selected Publications

Jacobson, D. (2018, February). A powerful convergence: Community schools and early childhood education. Kappan 99(5), 19–24.

Jacobson, D. (2016, August). Building state P-3 systems: Learning from leading states (policy report). New Brunswick, NJ: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes.

Jacobson, D. (2014, November). The primary years agenda: Strategies to guide district action. Phi Delta Kappan, 96(3), 63–69.

Selected Resources


This study examines First 10 Schools and Communities—coordinated efforts to improve teaching, learning, and care during the first decade of children’s lives.


This brief describes EDC’s deep commitment to ensuring that all young children have the support they need during the critical early childhood window of time.