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Marnie Kaplan

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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Marnie Kaplan
Senior Analyst
Policy and Thought Leadership

Background: Marnie Kaplan is a senior analyst at Bellwether Education Partners on the Policy and Thought Leadership Team. She joined the team in 2015 and focuses on early childhood education.

Prior to joining Bellwether, Marnie worked as a policy analyst at Success Academy Charter Schools, where she analyzed local, state, and federal education policies. Previously she worked as a program manager at the District of Columbia Public Schools, where she tracked and analyzed special education compliance, and as a Stoneleigh Emerging Leaders Fellow at the Education Law Center, where she proposed solutions to reform Pennsylvania’s alternative education system and improve the accountability of cyber charter schools. Marnie began her career as a middle school English and social studies teacher in New York City. She went on to earn her M.P.P. and J.D. from Georgetown University. While in graduate school, Marnie interned at the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the DC Public Schools' Urban Education Leaders Internship Program; taught street law to high school students; worked in a day care center; volunteered with 826DC; and served as a research assistant to the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality. Marnie also holds a master’s in the science of teaching from Pace University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Why I do this work: My career path has been guided by novelist John Edgar Wideman’s words: “So you have to find a subject which is deeply felt, which disturbs you, which won’t let you go, which demands the best of you.” I am deeply committed to a career in education policy because the state of education for low-income and minority children is the subject that “won’t let me go,” the subject that drew me from the classroom to law and policy school, and the subject that continues to guide my professional goals.

Recent Media

Marnie Kaplan
Sara Mead

In 2007, Congress and then-President George W. Bush set out to improve Head Start by passing a law that made significant changes to the program. These changes included a requirement that half of all Head Start teachers hold a bachelor’s degree with training in early childhood education by 2013.

We examined the impact of the 2007 law and the current state of the Head Start workforce with the goal of informing both future efforts to improve the quality of Head Start teaching and broader efforts to strengthen the early childhood workforce. In our new paper, "The Best Teachers for Our Littlest Learners? Lessons from Head Start’s Last Decade," we trace the evolution of Head Start Workforce policies over 50 years and detail how shifts in the broader early childhood landscape, especially state-funded pre-k programs, have influenced these policies.